Steve Nicholson taught us about pioneers and homesteaders in Church planting years ago. Pioneersare with you from the start. They are the trailblazers who don’t mindthe rawness, the lack of great kids work, the one guitar and thesuccession of different small venues as the plant has its oftenfaltering start.Ranchers join later. They are not risk takers so come on board when it looks like it’s going to work. When I planted The Bridge Churchwe had a couple visit on the first ever Sunday who actually joined 18months later and are now a fabulous asset to the Church. This week wehave had two calls from families who won’t be joining us at the startof the plant – for great reasons they can’t just do it. They both soundlike ranchers – so I am praying they come and build something good withus a year or so down the line. So I’d better get out there and findsome raw edged pioneers to saddle up and come and join the adventure!If you are the praying type – which most readers of a church plantingblog must be, do pray for some more pioneers to join us this summer forthe adventure of a lifetime in King’s Lynn and the nations!
Just got back from a long weekend ministry trip to Latvia with Mike Betts, Maurice Nightingale and others.Â Â We were visiting the Newfrontiers Church in the small town of Smiltene.We had a really fruitful time. Mike & Maurice did some leader’straining, followed by some great prophetic ministry which I was able tobe involved with.
Onthe Sunday, Mike Betts led a healing meeting, where we prayed for over20 people. One of the best things for me was meeting Stuart & BeckyHodgson again from Wilster in Germany and Stuart & Guna Shieldsfrom the UK (and Latvia). David & Ilze Jones who lead the church inSmiltene organised the weekend brilliantly.
We stayed in fabulous hotel and ate some great cheap food, including at the Lido in Riga.
Forme personally it was a great chance to get to know Mike Betts andMaurice Nightingale from the East of England region and to learn fromthe way they worked teaching, encouraging and ministering. It was greatto spend time with David & Ilze, Stuart & Becky and Stuart& Guna as well as the rest of the team from the UK – Enrico andRob. I was able to make a positive difference in encouragement,prophecy and leading someone back to the Lord – May there be longlasting fruit. For King’s Lynn the trip will help in terms of knowingmore about the Baltic people groups – many of whom we hope to reach!Who knows someone may come and join us to help.
We spent yesterday with Kings Churchin Great Yarmouth. We’ve been going around different Churches to preachand share what we are doing in King’s Lynn, which has generated someinterest from people who could move and join the initial team.We had a great day in Yarmouth. The worship rocked and there was lotsof contributions from the people. I preached on "What’s on you?" -using the story of Saul to make the point that we need dynamicencounters with the Holy Spirit and daily choices to keep walking inthe Spirit. To make sure that what is on us is of God and notourselves, or the enemy. Fifteen or so people responded for prayerministry. King’s Church is a church of 110 adults, with a fantasticbuilding which is used greatly for the community. They estimate some250 people coming through the building each week. They are yet anotherexample of the great use buildings can be in recahing out to thecommunity. The excellent reception/coffee bar area meant that folkstuck around for an hour after the meeting chatting in comfortablechairs and around tables. Lunch with Andy Moss, the lead elder, hiswife Helen and family and friends was great too
Welcometo all the new readers that have come via the Newfrontiers ConnectMagazine and Econnect email! Our next event is on Saturday 31st March9.30-11.30am at Reffley Community Centrein King’s Lynn. After the obligatory coffee and donuts, we will beworshipping, sharing vision and updating on news and praying for allthat God is doing as we plant! Then we will grabbing a pub lunch,leaving the afternoon free for those that need to house hunt. Pleasecome if you can whether you are seriously considering moving, want tosupport or are a well wisher. We would love to see you. This Sunday wewill be with the Great Yarmouth Newfrontiers Church topreach and share about the plant. Stop Press – Ian McCormack has agreedto speak at an evangelistic event on Thurs 6th Dec in King’s Lynn
Just got back from the Newfrontiers Prayer and Fasting in Derby. 600 orso leaders all gathered together for two days of mighty prayer and nofood.
The emphasis this time was calling on God for his mighty move in ournation. We currently have 191 Churches in the UK and need to surge past200.We prayed for the 20 plants that could become Churches this year.What was exciting for me was that were spread out to all four cornersof our nations. 15 years ago we were a Southern movement and it wasgreat to see plants in Scotland, Wales and the South West as well asthe North and the Midlands on the list. Time didn’t allow for prayerfor the 2008 plants like us!
We also prayed with expectancy for a mighty move of God to bringrevival. Terry talked about us being ankle deep (alluding to Ezekiel47) – we want to be swimming in the river of God.
During the breaks I got the opportunity to preach in Rushden in May at our new plant there called New Life Church and also chatted to the Dereham and Attleborough guys about how we could bless them in March when we visit.
The next edition of econnect will feature the recent King’s Lynn day – I’m praying some of the readers may be stirred to join us in the adventure
Here are the big things we are praying for…
Coming into King’s Lynn on an evangelistic ticket
Churchplants in the book of Acts were founded by apostles with evangelisticbreakthrough. So when we move we will be looking to host someevangelistic events right from the start. We are hoping Ian McCormack will be able to do one of them.
I am praying for first fruits of salvation as we launch!
At the moment we are gathering a team to move to King’s Lynn from other Newfrontiers Churches.
I would like to see 30 gathered by the autumn.
We especially need…!
I spent yesterday with Maurice Nightingale of Aylsham Community Church – what a day seeing what God is doing through Newfrontiers in North Norfolk.
There were four elements of the day for me
1) Meeting some of the guys doing the stuff
2) Getting to grips with community involvement by using buildings effectively
3) Learning better ways of setting up the legal side of Churches to be able to do good community work.
4) Passing on some of what we have learnt about making Sunday visitors stick.
Effective buildings Until recently I haven’t beenthat enthusiastic about buildings, but seeing what can be done with abuilding is changing my mind! Aylsham have a converted bus depot that has a 400 seater venue, advice shop, offices and a coffee bar area outfront. What they do in the community with it is amazing.
We visited Sheringham and the New Wine Church to have lunch in theiramazing community facility – "Yesu". They don’t meet there on Sundays,but what they have achieved in serving the community is incredible. We visited another potential building – 450m2 in the middle of anindustrial estate. The vision there would be to have a Sunday venue, agood quality meeting room for hire and coffee bar come cafe. That couldget most of the men who work on the industrial estate through the doorof the Church every month! Warehouses seem pretty cheap in Norfolk too!
Legal Stuff I found my eyes being opened to creative ways to use church buildings that help pay forthem and help you eventually reach segments of the community that wouldn’t darken the doors normally. Inspiring stuff. Chatting to thevarious guys I realised that doing the right legal work now – in other words spending a bit of money now rather than doing the cheap and easy trust deed route will allow the Church plant to apply and get fundingfor community projects later on much easier.
Making Visitors StickMaurice asked me to talk about what we have learnt about growing Sunday attendance to 100 through welcome and making sure Sundays visitorsstick. I felt like I learned about new ways of getting people to a place where they might visit on a Sunday, but then was able to share about making sure they stick when they do. That’s about creating a welcoming culture where members talk to visitors rather than huddle in cliques, good signs, good website, friendly people on the door and an invite or three back for lunch!
Food, Glorious Food Then rounding of the day in typical Norfolk Newfrontiers fashion meant an outstanding slow roasted lamb shank at The Black Boys Hotel in Aylsham. Well worth a visit for outstanding food, good beer and no smoke!!!
I get scared of fads – where the body of Christ jumps on the latestpaperback as the answer to whatever problems the Church is facing, orwill be the thing that brings "the" revival. People are begin to talkabout Mark Driscoll’s writings in those ways. I hope people don’t treatthem like a fad, because they are genuinely challenging and will beongoingly helpful. Please read his honest and inspiring assessment of 10 years of Mars Hill.
The rise in popularity of Mark Driscoll and his book "Confessions of a Reformission Rev"has been meteoric. And justifiably so! The guys have Mars Hill Churchin Seattle have done an outstanding work so far, growing a Church thatis theologically conservative, but culturally liberal. Confessions of a Reformission Rev is a great book – and is shaping and challenging our thinking as we plant the Gateway Church.
Here’s a snippet… "We need both portraits, the humble, incarnatedChrist and the triumphant, exalted Christ, to truly understand JesusChrist. As we get to know the humble, incarnated Christ, we learn howto be missional and lovingly relate to people in their culture. As weget to know the glorified, exalted Christ, we learn to be confident andbold because we proclaim his victory over Satan, sin, death and hell."
"I learned that in a small church, ministry is generally something thepastor does for his people and that people chip in if and when theyfeel like it. I feared that if this mindset remained in my church, itwould either fail to grow or grow and bury me in work for lazy andungrateful church people.
As our church continued to meet, it became clear that three types of people were showing up…"
Mark’s book details how they grew Mars Hill from 0-45,45-75,75-150,150-350, 350-1000, 1000-4000 and then onwards. He isrefreshingly honest, shocking, challenging and fun to read all at once.Well worth a buy and read.
Also worth a look is
"The Radical Reformission – reaching out without selling out"
For me one of the major blessings of being part of the Newfrontiers family is apostolic & prophetic input! Yesterday I went to Luton for a coaching session with Tony Thompson www.hopechurch.co.uk.Over the course of an afternoon, I had all my questions answered, somediagnosis of where I am at and what I need to do next as well as someawesome prayer ministry! I’d asked Tony about a recent Keith Hazel www.myspace.com/prophetkeithprophecy given at Newfrontiers senior leaders meeting. I’d askedbecause I was hearing of incredible manifestations of God’s glory thatwere part of what I heard was promised in the prophetic word. Tony gaveme his synopsis and weighing of the prophecy. His read was that therewere 3 aspects 1) The next 5 years are important – there willexponential growth, particularly in salvations 2) We will needprophetic strategy to allow for the exponential increase. eg. Joseph’s7 years of storage ready for 7 years of famine. Plan for it to keep it!3) There would be unprecendented manifestations of God’s presence -Hear God, See God and the cloud of His presence would draw people in.We need to be careful of sensationalism, but a clear weighing of thatwould be looking for signs the prophetic word is right – in otherwords, looking for manifestations of God’s presence (like the reportsof Gold dust, aromatic oil on hands), then seek God for propheticstrategy and prepare for exponential growth. I’m so hungry for all ofthat! I knew that Tony has had an impartation and so was delighted heprayed for, so I could soak in God’s presence. I was so dry! Theintriguing thing is that we have already had some prophetic words thatwill help us prepare for growth as we go to plant in King’s Lynn! 3different people have prophecied to be patient and not hasty in layingfoundations, because it will be a big church (>500 – Julian AdamsAndy Martin recently prophecied about four key foundation doctrinesthat we would need to lay in King’s Lynn – grace, spiritual authority,one new man in Christ and kingdom. Nigel from Woodside in Bedfordprophecied "Are we prepared to be overwhelmed? There are lots and lotsof lost to the Church christians in King’s Lynn. Don’t fish with a rodand line, do it with a net. Use a big event to gather – confoundconventional planting wisdom" For the asute reader one of the questionsI asked Tony was how to balance gathering big with building bigfoundations slowly!
We have just got back from our first King’s Lynn Day. 25 peoplegathered in a community hall to hear about the plant. Some came tosupport and encourage, but excitingly most that were there are thinkingabout moving. After the obligatory coffee and donuts, we worshipped Godbefore I told my story of the call to King’s Lynn. Dan Morgan, who usedto be a history teacher in Lynn, gave a fascinating potted history ofthe area. My wife Jan then did a powerpoint presentation of the area -embarassingly two of the firms we cited as major industry are nolonger. Campbells announced the closing of their soup factory the daybefore and Berol moved a few years ago! Jan and I then shared ourvision for the plant and some of the prophecies we have had spoken overus so far. The awesomeness of God speaking to ordinary people like uswhat He is going to do gives me goosebumps. When I have moments ofdoubt about the sanity of leaving an established church to start again,the prophecies stir faith again! (Prophecies to be blogged soon). Wethen spent some time in prayer for the area. After lunch, we senteveryone off on a Car Treasure Hunt around King’s Lynn. The routepassed through all the different areas of King’s Lynn, so people couldget a feel for the place, whilst answering questions. Each car hadpeople from a mixture of churches so people could get to know oneanother. That was fun and enabled people to get a real feel for theplace – the sunny weather helped. We finished the day with worship andprayer. What an awesome day and what a great opportunity to get to knowsome of the folk beginning to consider joining us on the King’s LynnChurch planting adventure.