In 2002 I (Simon Leigh-Jones) was seated in a $16-million-dollar custom made church building surrounded by two thousand worshipers yet something vital, something quintessential seemed absent. In 2004 I was seated in a converted United Reformed Church, surrounded by three hundred worshipers, and it, that quintessential something, was undeniably present. What was it, what was this ‘something’ absent in what could be considered a church leader’s oasis, and yet so very present in this old building on Station Road, Sidcup? Apostolic impetus: the overarching sense pervading the worship and fellowship of this gathered group that we were caught up in so much more than this local congregation. I was alive, I knew I was in the midst of a people who understood that God’s kingdom was advancing mysteriously and that the local church was God’s hub for this advance.
In 2013, a French couple (Olivier & Elodie Sarkis) moved to Bedford to learn from church life in England, take part in FP training and be a part of the Training for Supernatural Ministry school. After a year, their friends (Matt & Maëllou Trefcon) moved to Bedford for a year to do something similar. In 2015, after much planning and consideration, they all moved back to France to plant a church in a town called Montélimar. At the start of 2016 they launched their church plant, and we recently caught up with Matt to find out how things are going across the water.
They started by meeting as the four of them and their young children in Matt & Maëllou’s living room, praying about the church plant and the people that would join them. After a few months, they were a group of 45-50 people gathering in a humble home, with kids’ work running in various rooms in the house. Not only are they growing in numbers, but they are growing spiritually together and developing new leaders amongst their community.
In 2014, Jo and Matt Simmonds relocated from Brighton in the UK to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, leaving behind family, work and church in order to pioneer a new church plant – Liberty Church Amsterdam. Accompanying Matt and Jo on this adventure were four young daughters. In this hangout, we talk to Matt and Jo about their journey and what it means to be a pioneering family.
Watch the video below, or listen to the podcast or read the notes on the Broadcast Network website.
“We go to win for the lamb the reward of his sacrifice” is what the Moravian missionaries were said to have shouted back to their weeping loved ones as they sailed away to sell themselves into slavery in a foreign land. Who does this? People who’ve been transformed by the powerful gospel of Jesus and who’ve realized the nonnegotiable requirement of obeying the Great Commission. But they were by no means the first to do this.
Jesus, freshly back from the dead, tells his disciples to go and fill the world with his teaching and to make other disciple-making disciples. What do the disciples do? They go and plant churches in city after city and partner together in meaningful ways to see the gospel spread into areas where there were not yet churches. Did they obey Jesus or disobey him? They absolutely obeyed Jesus! To make disciples, to fill the world with Jesus’ teaching, you need churches. Churches have to be planted. This is at the very heart of the mission.
What do mustard seeds, the plot of ‘Lord of the Rings’, and vigorous Q+A have in common? A day of teaching on hermeneutics with Andrew Wilson.
On Friday 9 September the New Ground Academy welcomed a fresh intake of 100 students into the London base, accompanied by about 55 second year students.
Academy is New Ground’s leadership development program for both church leaders and shapers alike, with the aim of equipping and encouraging its students to lead, shape, plant and grow churches. Alongside the London base, New Ground is running the Academy in Edinburgh, The Hague and Paris, as well as looking to launch in both Guernsey and Romania in the New Year. The training runs on a Friday and Saturday once a month over the course of two years. I couldn’t wait to sign up for the Academy and I’m now thrilled that two days of teaching, worshipping, networking and coffee drinking fill my diary each month.
Heather and I have just returned from a holiday on the Isle of Skye, a beautiful, remote, rugged island where history and nature come to life. Walking is strenuous over boggy sheep tracks attempting to ascend mountain tops. It felt at times a lot like Lord of the Rings, and yes complete with Gollum who followed, snivelling and grasping for “ the precious” ??
It may surprise you to know the word precious appears in our bibles in 2 Peter 1:1: “a faith as precious as ours”! The Greek word precious isotimos was typically used to describe jewels. Peter wants believers to understand that faith is both a gift and a treasure, that what is ultimately precious to God is “our faith” and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).
Over the past 4 years one of the main ways Relational Mission churches have supported our Pathways from Poverty initiative is through special appeals at Christmas time.
My name is Toby, and I lead Kings Church in Norwich in the UK. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit Meru in Kenya to see some of the projects supported by Pathways from Poverty and to hear how the money you have generously donated in previous years is empowering people to escape from poverty.
In the latest in our series of Q&As with theologian, leader and author Andrew Wilson, we ask him if the Bible is infallible…
Q: So Andrew, is the Bible infallible?
AJW: In a word: yes.
Q: There are no mistakes or contradictions in it, then?
AJW: Well: what do you mean by a mistake? Or a contradiction?
I’m asking because in this series of Q&As we’ve been having, I’ve probably said “yes and no” more than once. Technically, “yes and no”, in response to a question, could be called a contradiction. But you know that what it means isn’t incoherent: it means “yes in this sense, and no in that sense.” Proverbs 26:4-5, to take a biblical example, tells you that you shouldn’t answer a fool according to his folly, and then immediately afterwards tells you that you should. Is that a contradiction? I would say no, because the meaning is coherent, even if the statements oppose each other.
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In his welcome message, PJ says:
One of our flagship passages in Advance is Philippians 1 where Paul speaks about partnership between churches for gospel advance. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…” Notably, he stresses that he is praying with joy for his gospel partners. One of the primary purposes of this publication and our more regular ‘prayer mailer’, is to put us all in the picture with what God is doing in different regions, churches and individuals lives, around the world, with a hope that this will encourage us to pray more prayers for each other, and with more joy. Whether we are praying heart-break prayers for brothers and sisters in crisis around the world, or passionate prayers for salvations and success, it helps so much to put names and faces to each situation.