Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day thirteen 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.
13 February 2016
Maidstone has about 120,000 people. The inhabitants of Maidstone are totally depraved. Sin has permeated and contaminated every part of every person in the town. No, they are not utterly depraved. They could be worse. In fact, they would be worse were it not for Divine restraint. But though the degree of their depravity is not utter, the extent of it is total nonetheless. They are without hope unless God intervenes.
Nineveh had about 120,000 people. The inhabitants of Nineveh were totally depraved. Sin had permeated and contaminated every part of every person in that city. No, even they were not utterly depraved. They could have been worse. In fact, they would have been worse were it not for Divine restraint. But though the degree of their depravity was not utter, the extent of it was total nonetheless. They were without hope unless God intervened. He did.
The formerly disobedient prophet Jonah came declaring the justice and mercy of God. “Nineveh will be destroyed.” That is God’s justice. “Forty days.” That is God’s mercy. The Ninevites repented. God relented. We remember – and rejoice – to this day. Oh that God would raise up a preacher of justice and mercy for Maidstone.
Consider another town of comparable size – Ipswich. How many Grace Baptist churches are there in that town? I can think of Cauldwell Hall Road, Shepherd Drive, Whitton and Zoar without even breaking a sweat. That doesn’t even take into account Bethesda and other more or less likeminded churches in the town. And, to my delight, other areas for church planting – such as Ravenswood – have been or are being explored. That, my friends, is wonderful. May the message of God’s justice and mercy in Christ continue to be proclaimed with power in Ipswich.
But what of Maidstone? How many Grace Baptist churches are located there? How many other more or less likeminded churches can you identify in Kent’s county town? Certainly, by anyone’s estimation, Maidstone is a place of demonstrable gospel opportunity. Now is this to imply there are no places in Maidstone where the gospel is preached? No, not at all. Is this meant to say there are no Christians in the town? Absolutely, not. I know some myself. It is to say that we as Grace Baptists must add our witness to the town as a matter of urgency.
There are encouraging signs. Prayer meetings have been held in four Kent churches to pray specifically for the planting of a new church in Maidstone. People commended by their churches have moved or are making plans to move to the town in the near future. A group of people have worked through ‘Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.’ A ‘Christianity Explored’ group has been held in a local community centre. Money earmarked for the new work has been donated by a partner church. Potential evangelists and other workers have been identified. We still, though, wait on the Lord for the one of his choosing to lead this work.
Would you pray that God in His goodness would raise up a leader for this work in Maidstone? Would you pray that he would come preaching the justice and mercy of God? Would you pray that many would repent and believe the gospel? Would you pray that a new church would be formed in Maidstone for the glory of God?
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership