Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day twelve 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.
12 February 2016
Steve Dennis, Church Planter
I had been away from Edlesborough – a lot. Now a preaching commitment made a year earlier would take me away again. The fact that it was only a few miles away made it even worse. As I sat in the prayer room with a handful of others before the service, I thought to myself, “What am I doing here?” Don’t get me wrong. I love to preach. I was just tired. Trying to make conversation, a man asked me about how the work of Grace Baptist Partnership was going . That perked me up a bit. But when he told me he was a trustee for a building in Leagrave, Bedfordshire which could potentially be made available for a church plant, I soon realised I was exactly where I was meant to be that morning.
The church at Edlesborough was growing. With numbers increasing and finance coming in we were in a much more comfortable position than we had been before. Comfort being fraught with danger, we longed to be uncomfortable again. People were coming to the church from other areas. Though this was a great encouragement in some ways, we were convicted that the long-term development of the work in Edlesborough would require involvement from local people. We didn’t want increased numbers to give us a false sense that we were reaching our village with the gospel.
Earlier in the year, we had called Steve Dennis to serve alongside me in leading the church. He was settling in well and being used among us in a quite remarkable way. The problem was he was only going to be with us three years. As the months passed, we desired greater clarity about where Steve would go and what he would do next. We also had begun praying about who would come to us after Steve left. We had more questions than answers until that day in the prayer room.
A church plant would help us stave off the encroachment of comfort. A church plant in Leagrave would be nearer some of the people coming to us from outside the village. Some of them actually lived in Leagrave! A church plant in Leagrave led by Steve Dennis would give us clarity about where he would go and what he would do next. The church leaders and afterwards the church members responded with enthusiastic support for these recommendations.
Arrangements were made for use of the building. Work days were held to do cleaning and freshening up inside and out. Invitation cards were distributed to the 1,000 houses in the immediate area. The first service was held on the second Sunday evening of the year with 20 people present. Meetings have continued – Sunday and Wednesday evenings – and though these are still early days, we are encouraged.
Please pray for this church-planting initiative to bear gospel fruit in the months and years to come. Pray for Steve as he provides leadership to the effort and for the other leaders at Edlesborough as we support him. Pray that many will hear the gospel through a mission weekend being planned for Leagrave this summer.
Has comfort begun to give way to complacency in your congregation? Prayerfully consider what you should do about it. Feel free to call on us if you think we can help.
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership