Partnership Update – August 2013
Dear Partner in the Gospel
I trust you will take the time to read this email carefully. There are a number of things I need to report to you. I would much prefer to sit down over a hot drink and discuss these things with you face to face as this medium seems so impersonal at times. Regrettably, that’s not possible. This is the best any of us can do with our present limitations. Please read and above all please pray.
This is humanly speaking where it all begins. If there are no leaders, who will strengthen existing churches and plant new ones? If there are no leaders, who will reach nations by naming the Name of Christ where it has not been named? Our efforts to train new leaders and encourage those already serving in leadership continue. Please pray with us concerning the following matters.
After a brief hiatus, the Bury group will begin meeting again Saturday, 7th of September. Over the next few months, I look forward to dealing with some of the principles and practicalities of church planting in a way in which will foster greater interest and involvement in this critical area of church life. If you know of men who would benefit from these meetings, please have them get in touch.
Please pray for David Kelland as he continues to provide training and encouragement to the men meeting in Chelmondiston. Actually, they don’t all meet in Chelmo. One North Korean believer presently living in Abu Dhabi joins each session by Skype. Read that last sentence again. It never ceases to amaze me! Please pray for each of these men to find places of fruitful ministry in their local churches and beyond.
Our training cycle in Gloucestershire (the first year in Gloucester and the second year in Westerleigh) has come to an end. We thank God for the churches that hosted our training days, the men who assisted with teaching and each man who participated in the meetings. May the Lord use these efforts for His glory! There are other areas in the West and South West of England that cry out for training of this sort. Please help us in prayer as we consider how to respond to appeals for help in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
After our summer break, our Wood Green group will resume meeting on Saturday, 14th of September. We will be adopting a new format for our training days in Wood Green. Each month we will have two sessions taken by a guest lecturer and one session dealing with personal and pastoral issues taken by me. In September, David Green will join us for two sessions on Old Testament Backgrounds. I will address practical matters relating to a minister’s standard of living and giving. Please ask the Lord to help us as we seek to help those who are serving the churches.
Hopefully these brief lines about the progress of the gospel in various places will encourage you to continue to pray with and for those involved in this challenging work.
Recently the trustees of the Chapel at Angel authorised the church to explore the possibility of converting part of the building into a flat which would accommodate a worker for the church. They are presently seeking pre-planning advice from Islington Council and hope with trustee approval to make a formal planning application in the near future. This would be a significant undertaking for the friends at Angel but could potentially be a real blessing to the work. Please make this a matter of prayer asking the Lord for His guidance and provision.
Those who have been praying for the work in Charlwood will rejoice to learn that a local man contacted through door to door evangelism came along to the Sunday meeting for the first time this week. He hopes to return to the Bible study this Thursday night. This has encouraged the men who have been labouring there faithfully with little visible fruit. How thankful we are for the precious promise contained in Galatians 6:9!
I met recently with the leader of Berachah Free Church to discuss the evangelism project in which we were involved earlier in the year. They are encouraged that two new people (one giving evidence of conversion) have begun attending their weekly Bible study. Please pray for the church as they consider the Lord’s will for their future.
The friends at Chatteris greatly appreciate your prayers for Jackie Read. She has undergone the operation for ovarian cancer and now awaits further treatment. May God in His great mercy heal her! The church is also looking forward to relocating their Sunday meetings to the King Edward Centre in Chatteris beginning Sunday, 6th of October. Please pray for evangelism in the area leading up to and following on from the move.
We praise the Lord for sustaining the witness in Chelmondiston. When difficulties arose in the fellowship last year the easiest thing to do would have been to walk away and find a place of service elsewhere. The Lord gave the Kellands the grace to remain and the power to continue their ministry in the village. It is such a blessing to hear of recent encouragements in the work. May the Lord continue to strengthen and sustain this work for His glory.
Has it really been a year since Bernard Roberts was inducted to the pastorate at Chingford? We thank the Lord for leading the Roberts through a year of both blessing and challenge. It’s encouraging to hear of a new unity in the fellowship which we trust will result in further spiritual and numerical growth in the congregation. Please pray for them.
When my pastorate at Wood Green ends soon, Frances and I and the younger children will need to move from our flat. The Lord has given us a desire to move to an area where we could support the work of one of the church plants whilst continuing our wider role with Grace Baptist Partnership. Our desire coupled with the needs of the church plant at Edlesborough have led us to look for housing in that area. Please pray that the Lord will continue to give us clear guidance as well as complete provision for all our needs.
Ask me sometime to tell you the Grays story. It’s a remarkable account of testing become testimony. The Massop’s ministry in the local community is bearing fruit for which we thank God. I joined the friends there recently to help with a thorny pastoral issue. I was impressed once more that the Lord is at work and is using the church plant on Salisbury Road to meet a real need in a number of lives. Please continue to pray for them.
We thank the Lord that the Felix Hollingtons are settling well in the village and that there are indications that the Lord is continuing to work His purposes out in North Kent. Please continue to pray for the church as they renew consideration of what to do regarding their ageing building.
A good number of folk came along to the recent workday at Halstead. Much was accomplished and the fellowship enjoyed by those present was encouraging. Since that time the fellowship has shifted their Sunday meeting to the morning and has been blessed by a number of visitors coming along to the meetings. May they continue to come and indeed settle with our friends seeking to plant a Biblical church in Halstead.
We continue to support the work at Needingworth through our prayers and personal involvement. Robert Read, in particular, continues to preach there each Sunday evening and to lead a Bible study each Tuesday evening. Join us in prayer that the Lord will soon provide this church with a pastor.
The Lord’s goodness toward the Shwes over the past year is well known. God has remarkably sustained them and used all that they have gone through to strengthen the church in North Watford for His glory. Please pray with them for a special evangelistic service and meal planned for Sunday, 1st of September.
Please pray for the friends at Caversham Free Church in Reading in their continued desire and efforts to replant a church in nearby Sonning Common. May the Lord graciously provide a worker for this task.
The friends at Southall are pleased that they have been able to employ one of their leaders as an evangelist to the neighbourhood. Sonny Simak will serve in Southall three days a week. Additionally, for the next six months he will serve two days a week with the friends from Maidenbower Baptist Church in their evangelism in Crawley and Charlwood.
We hope that many of you will plan to attend the induction of Ryan King to the pastorate of the church in Wood Green on Saturday, 12th of October at 3:00pm. The men in our Wood Green training group will have two sessions in the morning with Gary Brady focusing on the blessings and challenges of a long tenure in a single church and will then join us for the afternoon meeting in which I will preach. Do let us know if you can come.
Please pray for a special weekend of evangelism this Saturday and Sunday at Workington. I would especially value your prayers as I preach there on Sunday. May the Lord in His goodness provide a pastor for this church.
Indeed our desire is that the name and renown of our Lord spread throughout the earth. Please rejoice with us in these opportunities and pray with us concerning these needs.
In addition to our continued involvement in the training initiative in Wetzlar where I’ll be the next three days, the Lord has opened an interesting door of opportunity for potential leadership training and church planting in Austria as well. Please pray for an ongoing project to identify areas of gospel need and opportunity in German – speaking Europe.
We continue to be encouraged by positive developments in Scotland. We rejoice that the church in Perth has been able to call a pastor. We give thanks to God for the fact the church plant in Edinburgh hopes to constitute as a church in September. Many encouragements. Yet, there are challenges as well. Please pray for the sustained progress of the gospel in Scotland.
Week of Prayer and Giving
We were so encouraged to know that numbers of churches and many individual Christians were praying for Grace Baptist Partnership during our recent week of prayer. A number of you have sent along special financial gifts for the work as well. I assure you at this time of growth and development they are both needed and appreciated. Thank you.
All friends of Grace Baptist Partnership are encouraged to attend our annual conference 29th – 31st of August at Grace Baptist Church, Angel, Islington, EC1R 1XD. The theme is ‘Left in Crete: Ministry on a Leaderless and Lawless Island’. Jeremy Walker will lead us step by step through Paul’s letter to Titus. Jeff Noblit will speak on eldership, small group discipleship and church discipline. I will speak on preaching and leadership. The opening session is Thursday from 6:30 – 9:00pm. There are three sessions on Friday from 10:30am – 1:00pm, 2:30 – 5:00pm and 6:30 – 9:00pm. The closing session is Saturday from 10:30am – 1:00pm. There is no charge for the conference but those wishing to contribute toward the conference expenses will be given an opportunity to do so.
A Final Request for Prayer
Many of you have heard that our eldest son, Regan, has been in hospital since last Friday night. For several days he had battled a severe stomach infection. When he began to have chest pains on Friday night, he was taken by ambulance to hospital. Increased troponin levels indicated that the infection had spread to his heart – Myocarditis. His troponin levels have been reducing but he has been kept in hospital for observation, treatment and rest. Hopefully, he can come home either Wednesday or Thursday. He is looking forward to resuming his work at Soho and Covent Garden where he is assisting for six months alongside his ongoing work at Angel. Please pray for him.
Warmly in Christ