Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day five of our 29 Days of Prayer and Giving for Grace Baptist Partnership. Each day we will focus our attention on a particular church planting, church replanting or church revitalisation project in which we have an interest. We trust you will remember these situations in prayer and that you will take advantage of the opportunity to support the spread of the gospel by means of a donation to Grace Baptist Partnership this month. It will also help us if you will share these requests with your friends by forwarding these emails to them.
5 February 2016
David Kelland, Pastor
What do you do when six of your eight church members leave? I suppose it depends on why they left. If they left because you were guilty of doctrinal or moral infidelity, you should repent and step down from church office. If they left because of unresolved personal differences, you should seek reconciliation without delay. But what if you sought such reconciliation and your efforts were effectively rebuffed? What do you then? For David Kelland and his wife these are not hypothetical questions but the exact situation they faced in Chelmondiston little more than three years ago.
When the members of Chelmondiston Baptist Church moved to have David Kelland’s services as their pastor terminated, a number of us with an interest in the work came alongside the church to help them resolve their differences. It soon became evident, however, that the majority of the members were looking for a resignation from David rather than a resolution of difficulties. Despite the best efforts of many, the desired resolution of the situation never took place. Surprisingly, though, in the end it wasn’t the pastor and his wife who left; it was the other members. All of them.
What next? Well you either have to devise an exit strategy (which would most certainly result in the closure of the chapel) or an evangelism strategy. By God’s grace – and not a little grit and determination – David opted for the latter. Battling through disappointment and fending off bitterness, he entrusted his soul to the Lord in doing good. There is now evidence that the Lord is honouring these efforts for His glory.
Recently the new church members agreed unanimously to change their name to Peninsula Baptist Church. This reflects their view that their immediate field of service embraces the whole of the Shotley Peninsula. In addition to Sunday meetings in the Chapel at 10:30am and 6:00pm, there is a Tuesday morning Bible study in nearby Shotley and a Wednesday evening Bible study at Chelmondiston. Nine people participate in Bible study during the week and up to 11 people attend the services on Sunday. Last year they were pleased to have an addition by baptism even as they were saddened by the death of one of the new members of the church.
Please pray that the fellowship will continue to enjoy unity of heart and mind as they serve the Lord together. Pray for local people to be converted through the evangelistic efforts of David and others. Ask the Lord to provide for the financial needs of the church. Given the unique situation of the church, external funding (from the Particular Baptist Fund and others) has been maintained at a higher amount and for a longer period than normal. May God in his rich mercy abundantly supply all that His people on Shotley Peninsula lack.
If you are interested in helping the friends at Chelmondiston financially or otherwise, do be in touch.