Friday, 16 October 2015

Planning a Plant

If you're interested in learning a little more about the background to the planting of Welshpool Community Church, here is an article I wrote a few months ago.  It was written for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) who have been giving us encouragement and guidance.  At the end of the article, you'll find some points for prayer.

Ruth and I decided to live in Welshpool when we got married more than 15 years ago. We now have four children and we have always felt convicted that God wants us to be based here. For that reason we’ve sought to be active members of a local church but we’ve been unable to find one that is traditionally reformed in its theology, but contemporary in its practice.

We eventually recognised God was calling us and another couple (Brandon and Charlotte Oram) to plant a church in Welshpool. We had our first house-group meeting in April with a wonderful, homely atmosphere and we hope to start public meetings in December.

Below are some of the principals we’ve been learning along this journey as we prepare to establish a new church.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the unknown, but commit to what is known

In seeking to plant a church, there are so many questions that it can feel a little overwhelming: Where do we meet? How will we recognise membership? How will we recognise leaders?
God has given us plenty of advice and wisdom in the Bible. We might not find specific answers there, but we will find guidance on how to move towards those answers.
For example, we know that we should try to do things in an orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:40), so we realised that it would be wise to plant a church under the oversight of another church. We approached Newtown Evangelical Church (NEC), which is 12 miles away from Welshpool and a church we have had fellowship with over the years. They were very positive about supporting a church plant.
We are now members there, and so to start with we’ve been meeting as a NEC house-group in Welshpool. As a consequence this has created initial accountability (to the elders), given us access to gifts, knowledge and a prayer support network (among the church membership), and provided us with a doctrinal basis.

Seek help from a variety of people, but don’t forget who your Rescuer is

Tim Gill, an elder at NEC and member of the FIEC Pastors’ Network, contacted Andy Paterson (FIEC Mission Director) who visited us in Welshpool. We went for a walk around the town as we discussed possibilities and resources.
This was encouraging but daunting at the same time! As the possibility of a church plant became more likely, I realised I was looking for a person to sort everything out – an individual to provide all the time, money and answers.
I remember the moment I suddenly realised that this person was Jesus. He is the Rescuer who I need to rely on. While it is incredibly helpful to have access to people with resources and advice, the most helpful person to approach is the Lord.
He is the one who ultimately provides all good things, and we express our recognition of that in prayer. Individual and corporate commitment to prayer is foundational to a church plant. When we meet on Sunday afternoons, we deliberately set aside plenty of time for corporate prayer and have established time for prayer together during the week.

Avoid seeking glory for yourself, but deliberately seek glory for God

A church plant makes you stand out, and standing out is something we tend to shy away from as Christians. There is a Spirit-placed instinct to avoid self-glory, and that can cause you to move out of the spotlight.
the church plant team

At the same time, we want local people to know that a new church is being formed, so that God can be glorified when they hear the gospel. We want our network of Christian friends to know how to pray for us, so that God can be glorified as He answers prayer. That means we have had to deliberately put ourselves in the spotlight.
In practical terms, this has meant sharing our plans and needs with the members at NEC; sharing information with friends over social media; establishing a Facebook group and a blog; and being open with friends and contacts in Welshpool.
As we seek to establish this new church we would value your prayers.
  • We’re planning to begin public church services in a local hall in December. Please pray that God will confirm and bless this.
  • I have resigned from my high-pressure job, and taken other work that is lower paid, but much less stressful. Brandon is self-employed, and the amount of work he gets fluctuates. Please pray that the Lord will provide all we need to be obedient to His will.
  • Currently, when we all meet together, there are 7 adults and 12 children. This is a great blessing, but also a great responsibility, so please pray that God will continue to help us in this.

No comments:

Post a Comment