Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day fourteen 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.
14 February 2016
North Watford, Hertfordshire
Daniel Shwe, Pastor
I had been there before. In the early days I used to preach there every week. I had distributed tracts on St. Alban’s Road. I had knocked on doors on Cecil, Judge and Regent Streets. I had visited a church planter and his wife just after they learned she had breast cancer. I had preached in special evangelistic meetings. I had chaired members meetings. I had been there before. But this time was different. You see, I was going to North Watford to lead the friends there through the process of forming a new church.
The first item on the agenda was the confession of faith. A draft copy was submitted to those in attendance. A couple of items were raised for discussion. The confession was then approved unanimously. I couldn’t help but think about a man who used to attend the services at North Watford. He – I’m not joking! – took such exception to the doctrines taught in the chapel that he’s since published at least two books espousing his own views. He could never have agreed this confession of orthodox Christian belief!
Having adopted a confession – what the church professes to believe – the next order of business was to adopt a covenant – how the church promises to behave toward one another. As we read the covenant aloud our hearts were moved by the Scripture-saturated sentiments summed up in those sentences. Again, I couldn’t help but think about three women who had withdrawn from the work last year. Though they might have given approving nods to the covenant their behaviour would have certainly have fallen far short of the standards it set forth.
Why did such ‘negative’ thoughts come to my mind on such a positive occasion? Because part of forming a church is identifying those that believe what Christians believe and those who behave how Christians behave. They are then recognised as a church. The others are then regarded as those who are without. The process of doing this at North Watford was slow – more than seven years – and at times arduous. But by God’s grace they
have reached this significant milestone in their life together.
Immediately after being formed as a church, the members recognised Daniel Shwe as a pastor and Stuart Lee as a deacon. They desire to have a plurality of pastors and deacons in future. At least one additional man desires training for ministry. So there is this possibility to explore in months to come.
Please pray for the church leaders as they continue to feed and lead the congregation. Pray for their ongoing efforts to evangelise non-Christians and disciple new Christians. Ask the Lord to give them wisdom as to how to best utilise the two buildings they have use of for His glory. Think with them about how they can provide for the long-term housing needs of their pastor. Plead with the Lord to bring those (mentioned earlier) who have gone astray back to His people at North Watford.
A Thanksgiving Service for the formation of the church and the appointment of leaders will be held on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 3:00pm. Why not put the date in your diary and make plans to join us?
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership