Yesterday, hundreds of leaders and teams from churches across the wider Newfrontiers family gathered together in London for a day of prayer for the UK – lifting up their voices to cry out to God to move in this nation.
The day was characterised by a deep sense of relationship; as friendships were renewed, connections were rekindled, and a collective rise of faith was reawakened for what God longs do to in our nation and the part that our movement has to play in speaking life, hope, justice and mercy into our culture. As we shared communion together in the morning session, it emphasised especially strongly that we are united as one not by our own wisdom, strength or efforts, but by Jesus and his finished work on the cross. Resting in that truth and receiving again from him with a posture of humility, generosity, and open-handedness will increasingly enable us to deepen our work together as Newfrontiers spheres and teams – leading to a greater unity than anything we have known before. We are a family together on a mission, and opportunities like this to stand together and pray for one another emphasise how that togetherness will continue to characterise us moving forward.
Here’s a glimpse of Relational Mission in action: a report written by Karen Opitz, a South African lady who is part of our Frankfurt church plant who travelled to Spain to support our Malaga church plant!
Tim Chambers (Lead Pastor of Christ’s Church, Joplin, MO) and I [Ian Ashby] recently visited Nepal, where Christianity has been spreading rapidly. The number of Christians in this Hindu-majority nation has tripled in the last decade. It was this growth that led the government to implement an anti-conversion law recently.
It is not illegal to be a Christian in Nepal or for churches to gather for worship, but it is illegal to try and convert someone. Tim and I had no intention of putting the law to the test! Our purpose in visiting this beautiful country was not to convert but to learn. In his excellent book, Global Humility, Andy McCullough writes, “We need the humility to learn from all our brothers and sisters. It is arrogant to assume the Western world is only ever meant to be the teacher rather than also the student.” This was the attitude we took with us to Nepal.
Serious youth violence is increasing, mental health issues are growing and sexual liberty is leaving more and more young people damaged – often dealing with the consequences online with exposure to the wider world.
Chicago has recently entered into what is considered a “typical” winter here, with all the frigid temps, snow, and ice that come along with it. While the time of year can be challenging for many, we’ve had many reasons to celebrate with our own season of change at Trinity Church. We’ve recently embraced both a new name and a new location, which are pretty big-ticket items!
Our previous name, Destination, has served us well for the past nine years, but we believe we’ve outgrown it. Over a two-year period, we talked and prayed about a new name that could help us better reach and relate to people in our context. Considering who we are, as well as Chicago’s religious influences, we strove for a name with a “new traditional” feel. We officially became Trinity Church at the end of October and hope the new name will project a sense of being established and rooted, as well as draw in more generations and walks of life.
In November, six interns from Radiant Church (Visalia) had the privilege of connecting and working with our church family in India for twelve days. The team consisted of Heidi Heredia, Melissa Miller, Timothy Hastings, Lupe Lopez, Heidi Steinman, and Noelle Brisco. The trip was one of joy, brilliant colors, and constant fellowship. Though they were all first-time visitors to this country, it felt more like a reunion than a typical mission trip.
I think the Book of Acts is one of the most inspiring stories ever written. It begins with a group of scared, nervous, and uneducated believers gathered together behind locked doors in fear of their newfound circumstances. It ends with dozens of established churches and the formation of a new faith movement called Christianity that has since impacted the world over.
As we read this book, there are many pivotal moments, but one that stands out to me is Acts 8. Stephen has just been stoned to death, and as a result of this persecution, the early believers were “scattered throughout the region.” This must have been incredibly difficult for the young church in Jerusalem, as friends and family members left their homes and communities. But as the story unfolds, we see this was actually a masterstroke move by the Holy Spirit.
For the past few years thousands of young people across Newfrontiers join together in a showground in Norfolk to worship and hear from God. This event usually takes place in late July to early August time.
Newday is one of the largest Christian events for young people that takes place in the UK every year. Young people aged right through their teenage years and on into their early 20s join together from churches up and down the UK and Europe to learn about and worship God, camp out together and soak in the summer festival feeling, leaving Newday further along in their relationship with Jesus.
This year’s Churches That Change Communities conference was a great success with keynote speakers including Bishop Philip North and Martin Charlesworth. You can listen to all the audio here. We’ve featured below the two keynote talks from the day which we’d recommend you watch or listen to.