We’ve just got back from a superb Lead Elders and Wives Conference. 210 lead elders and their wives were gathered in Milton Keynes for a weekend of worship, envisioning, exhortation and ministry. Catching up with old friends and making new ones is always an important part of these gatherings and this time was no exception.
We were introduced to a new (for me) worship leader Matt Giles. He led us into the presence of God magnificiently and taught us an amazing hymn about grace he had written. Worth checking out on myspace.com. We bought his album and downloaded the songsheet as soon as we got online at home.
The main thing for me was the launch of “Towards 400” – prophetic vision for the next phase of Newfrontiers church planting in the UK. For years we have lived with the prophetic provocation to believe God for 1000 churches in the UK. It has taken a long time to get to 200 churches and so 1000 is what feels like a very long term aim.
Earlier this year, God spoke to Martin Charleworth through a vision of the Himalayas in the background and a smaller mountain in the foreground which would still be a considerable challenge to climb, requiring new paths to be forged, rivers to be crossed and rock faces to be climbed. He felt it would be a step towards conquering the Himalayas. The Himalayas represent a thousand churches and the smaller foreground mountain 400. “Towards 400” is a reachable goal that will require much faith and action. I am excited about the part we can play in climbing.
David Stroud shared the fruit of much prayer, research and deliberation when he outlined the areas of the UK that will see strategic planting initiatives.
There will be a base camp in Autumn 09 to get potential church planters rubbing up against seasoned planters.
Every planter will have a coach, working alongside apostolic teams, to give encouragement, support and advice.
There is also a brand new website http://www.ukchurchplanting.org/ packed with case studies, information about current and future plants and information about the base camp in Autumn 2009. This blog and forum is working alongside the main church planting site to help online encouragement and support of planting the next 200 in the UK.