Saturday, 18 September 2010

Church Planting

I spent this weekend at a little conference centre and hotel somewhere in Berkshire (when I say somewhere, I really mean it. It was so remote I couldn't get a phone signal in my hotel room and am only sending this post thanks to the hotel's wifi).

The weekend conference was all about church planting, a subject that has been on my heart for a long while but it has also been something that I haven't really had the confidence to really think about let alone do.

So, having studied theology (and comprehensively failed to finished my MA), I realise that the gospel mission is still on my heart and, who knows, maybe God will forgive my tardiness and use me.

It was a great opportunity to meet people who have been planting churches for a while and who are working with others who are currently planting churches. I learned a lot. So much, in fact, I'm a quite likely to forget it all before I leave here later today so wanted to make a few notes here for future reference and as a note for others who are also interested in church planting.

Mother Church
It is important for each new church plant to have a mother church to support and nurture it. That said, the mother church takes no active part in the decisions of the church plant.

A church plant must have a mother church for the following reasons:
  1. Co-operation v competition - the mother church should work co-operatively with the church plant and not in competition.
  2. Support with people resources - when needed, the mother church can offer support when there are not enough people to help with ministry.
  3. Shared activities and outreach endeavours
  4. Financial accountability
  5. Healthier DNA for the church plant - church plants are the result of a break away, will carry those tensions with them
  6. Quick recovery for mother church
  7. Positive future fr additional church plants
Basic Strategy to Prepare Your Church for Church Planting
  1. Emphasis on church health
  2. Preach sermons on church planting
  3. Make evangelism the first business of the church
  4. Create a sense of urgency for reaching those who don't know Christ. Share relevant demographics to emphasise need.
  5. Expose leaders to church planting (have boarding read, "Rekindling A Lost Passion".
  6. Spend a significant time with key leaders who have broad influence. Attend a Seeds or Metro Impact event
Steps to Planting a Church
  • Find a target eg young families, single moms, former adventists, refugees, needy, immigrants, blue collar workers etc.
  • Location - a great place to start is your neighbourhood particularly for the unchurched who are unlikely to travel long distances for church
  • Know the demographics - check resources such as local authority borough profile or ONS website.
Set up a Core Group to work on Church Plant Strategy
There are 4 qualities for core group members. They are:
  1. Shared passion/vision
  2. Individuals who put mission first
  3. Individuals who are a magnet to others
  4. Individuals who match the demographic to be reached - the most important quality of all 4 qualities. If you don't match your target group, you won't reach them and you'll struggle to be effective.
Church Plant Should have an Incubation Period
  1. The incubation period should last for 6-9 months.
  2. Meet in someone's home once a week. Note, there should be no Sabbath meeting UNTIL the incubation is completed
  3. Create a community by getting to know one another
  4. Pray and fast together
  5. Study the book of Acts and read Rekindling A Lost Passion
  6. Write out:
  • core values - for example, excellence, unconditional acceptance, belonging before believing etc
  • strategic evangelistic plan (based on your target demographic) - during the incubation period plan an evangelistic meeting that will take place within the first year of the plant. What are the methods that will be most effective in the community you are targeting. Plan for it. How? When? Who?
  • ministry assignments - Evangelistic, administration, worship, children, social etc. Be sure to create a clear job description for all assignments.
The church plant must have a coach and they should have the following qualities:
  • Proven soul-winner
  • Excellent listener
  • Empowering (will not take over church plant)
  • Familiar with technique of coaching and self-discovery
  • Willing to commit (but is a voluntary role)
Useful Church Planting Resources

Friday, 10 September 2010

Pauline Laville Bindra, 8th Dan, BD, MA

Today we buried a friend and classmate, Pauline Laville Bindra, 8th Dan, BD, MA.

She was a beautiful woman, a great inspiration, a inspiring classmate, a wonderful example, a great mother, and loving wife and a world-class karate expert who gave it all up to serve her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Pauline was given beautiful resting place in the grounds of her family home where she will remain close to her husband and her children.

Pauline, I never told you just how much you meant to me when you were here with us so I am writing this tribute to you to say thank you for being all that you were.

Today I had a vision of heaven. I had a vision of seeing you in the earth made new when Christ will return and raise you with an incorruptible body. Until then my friend, rest in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Je Suis en France

Peche Plate - a variety of French Peach

A Room with a view

Berney in Normandie

Centre Pompidou

I love France. I wish that I came here more frequently. Unfortunately, however, work commitments, life and a lack of finances don't allow me to travel nearly as frequently as I would like. They certainly don't allow me the time to to a thirty-day African adventure.

Here are just a few snaps of my last opportunity this summer to have a bit of rest before the onslaught of a busy autumn at work.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

From Glamour Modelling to Ministry

A few years ago I read of a church somewhere in America that did outreach work among sex workers. My heart did a little leap to know that there are some people who think everyone is important no matter what someone might choose for their lives. They are thought of as important enough to spend time with, ministering to their needs.

I still pray that I might have the opportunity to reach the hearts of those working in the sex industry and, you never know, one day that prayer might just be answered. Right now, however, my heart taken another leap to read the story of one women who has left glamour modelling behind because she was no longer happy with taking her clothes off for other people and because Christianity was had become a growing part of her life.

Teresa Carey came from a non-Christian family and got into glamour modelling when she was 17. Then, in 1999 she had a spiritual experience which would eventually lead her to turning her back on her career. In 2003 she had another experience and this time she decided to share it with other people. She continued modelling by day and, by night, she wrote verses and poems.

Now she has left glamour modelling altogether and has published her verses and poems in the book, Rhapsody! In the name of Jesus. She has also written, God's Plan For My Life - What is It?

I wish Teresa all the best. I know that there will be many other people like her. Unlike us, God isn't limited to the kind of people who have never made regretable choices for their lives.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ministry Sister Daily

Today I came across the It seems like an interesting app. It allows a mash-up of tweets that I like to read as well as tweets covering particular topics. So, have set up and my own daily newspaper and it will automatically publish every day and show in the side bar of this blog.

I don't know how long I might use it for or how useful if really is but here goes.

Have a read.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Does God Have a Role to Play in Football?

I don't know that God does or doesn't have a role to play in football. That's not the point. The point is, that on prime time TV that question was asked. The result is a series of shorts including this one by the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Good Bye Pauline

It has been a fortnight of bad and sad news and I hope that it all comes to an end soon.

This evening I learned of the death of one of my classmates, Pauline Bindra.

Pauline was a wonderful woman with a clear missionary vision. She had a wonderful sense of humour, a cheeky grin, a heart for helping others and an intense love for her husband and family.

I met Pauline at Newbold College in 2005 when I was studying theology but it wasn't until the following year, when sitting next to her in class that I really got to know her. I learned that she first enrolled at Newbold back in the 1960s when food was grown in the school's own farms and when there were very strict rules about relationships between men and women and when everyone had to be in their dorms at an hour that would not be tolerated in the modern world.

Back then Pauline didn't have the stomach for it and, from what she said to me, toleration for that kind of rule keeping never changed. She was a free spirit but she also loved God dearly.

Sadly, after she graduated, our lives drifted apart and she continued her business, supported her family and worked on her ministry.

In the last few months, she cropped into my mind on more than one occasion. In fact, she was frequently on my mind.

I guess that, with a more acute sense of God, I might have understood that he was prompting me to pray for her or even to contact her.

I understand that Pauline had been ill and that, while having surgery she suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage.

Pauline's memory will remain with me and the impact that her life has had on mine, will continue to influence me.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Pauline and to get to know her.

I pray that one day we will meet again.