Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day twenty 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.
24 February 2016
Derek Sewell, Pastor
A work needed to be done. But surely there was someone else better suited to do it. The Lord would have to help me if I was going to be of any use at Thamesmead. He did. But he used people. Let me introduce you to some of them.
He used Nigel Hoad, Director of Home Mission for the Association of Grace Baptist Churches (South East), to help me develop a locum-pastor model which places me in a revitalisation or replanting situation for one year.I look after the ministry for three months and continue to give leadership to the work for an additional nine months. This model has been employed at Grays, Chingford, Halling, Edlesborough and now Ryarsh. Thamesmead, though, was the first. I thank God for Nigel’s heart for the churches and his willingness to roll up his sleeves and work. The church at Thamesmead – among others – owes much to this brother.
He used David Chapman, at that time Association Secretary for the AGBC(SE), to remind of the importance of employing both Biblical principles as well as best practice in the work of church revitalisation. He continues to remind me of this as the present chairman of trustees for Grace Baptist Partnership.
He used Derek French, a former pastor at Thamesmead, to encourage me through regular emails and phone calls. Things didn’t always go to plan at Thamesmead. There were misunderstandings. There were disappointments. But Derek would prove to be a reliable counsellor and a faithful encourager.
He used Geoff Low, a former missionary to Peru who was living in the church manse with his family during those days, to help me appreciate the complexities of life and ministry in Thamesmead. What a blessing it was when Geoff and his family decided to remain in the area long term.
He used Chola Mukanga, one of the first to be baptised during my time with the church, to help me understand the ‘African’ mindset of many of the church members a bit better. Chola and I became fast friends. Today he is an elder at Thamesmead and the treasurer of Grace Baptist Partnership.
He used Wale Akinrogunde, one of the last to be baptised during my time with the church, to help me realise the work was not ending but just beginning. Wale is now studying part-time at London Theological Seminary and hopes to serve as a pastor.
He used Derek Sewell, who accepted the pastorate of the church as my year of service came to end, to confirm that the Lord does answer the prayers of his people for pastors to feed and lead them.
Would you pray for the ongoing work at Thamesmead? Would you ask the Lord to guide the pastor and elders as they seek to lead the church? Would you ask for wisdom as they seek to minister to other churches in their area in need of revitalisation? Would you pause to thank God for those the Lord has used to help you in your service for him?
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership