The Evangelical Movement of Wales is committed to helping and encouraging you and your church to reach out. Many have fears about the physical demands on small churches, young churches or ageing congregations. Others are concerned about finance. Some worry about follow up… what happens if?
But the opportunities are great and the gospel is greater than every challenge. Each church involved so far in missions supported by the EMW have written in our prayer letter or this magazine in response to the missions. This feedback has been so encouraging for them and for us. On a recent visit to one of these churches we were delighted to hear of a family member who became a Christian after the mission – following the prayers of another family member for twenty-five years! God is so good.
We really do mean it – we want to help and by God’s grace we can help, whether you want to reach out in Welsh, English or both languages. We can help churches overcome concerns, like those expressed above. Christians and churches across Wales are willing to help other Christians and church plants, developing situations and established churches.
How can the EMW help?
These are the things we’d seek to do if you and your church were to contact us:
- Help you plan to do what you believe is right for your church and community
- Agree the best time of year and length of mission – some missions have been over a weekend, others have been for a whole week – the time scale is up to you and your church
- Encourage prayer support across Wales that the Lord will come by His Holy Spirit to richly bless you and your church in this endeavour and in any further work in the church
- Help you write and produce high quality evangelistic printed materials which explain the gospel to your community in the way your church believes is best
- Find financial support for the mission
- Find a team from other churches across Wales who will help with distribution
- Help you seek out preachers who have a God-given burden and gifts for such missions
- Provide a team to help during the time of the mission
- Meet following the mission to pray and seek God’s wisdom on the way forward
The EMW exist to support churches – especially in this aspect of your work.
I share responsibility for this area of the work, with Andy Christofides, on the EMW’s Management Board. Malcolm and Shirley Towers help with the support and administration of these missions. And many come from small and large churches across the country as volunteers during the missions. Our services and support are never a financial burden to churches. Please pray that we will be able to help other churches in significant ways as we go forward. Please contact us if you and your church are interested in our help.
David Norbury is the General Secretary of The Evangelical Movement of Wales
If you would like to find out more about how the EMW can help you and your church run a mission please contact the EMW office on 01656 655885 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A case study: Swansea
During the first week of November later this year Roger Carswell, Paul Hinton and Andy Christofides will be involved in a mission in Swansea. This mission will be run between five evangelical churches in the area. After some initial doubts whether such a wide area could hold a mission over one week, and many emails, the first meeting was held back in November. The ministers of these five churches began hammering out an outline, which hopefully satisfied the needs of each church. We all left that meeting with the belief that such a large venture was truly possible. Details are now being arranged as representatives from each fellowship meet together to plan.
We hope to produce a colourful evangelistic newspaper with each church invited to produce their own pages. There are certainly enough testimonies among the Lord’s people of His saving grace and evidences of His hand in our lives. There will also be shared centre pages from the evangelists and special guests.
The five churches will come together to pray as the mission draws near, to seek God’s blessing and perhaps Roger Carswell could find time to address us at one of these prayer meetings.
Roger has produced a short DVD message to all five churches encouraging members from each fellowship to begin praying for friends (and enemies!). We are to pray that the Lord may already be at work in their lives, that they may be interested enough to come and hear a clear gospel message, by men who display the clear calling of an evangelist on their lives. We hope also to invite a few believers from across the UK to take part as special guests – people with interesting life stories that Roger and his team regularly use in their ministry.
We are aware, of course, that a mission cannot replace the clear need for each one of us to be ‘Christ’s ambassadors’ (2 Cor. 5:20) wherever the Lord has placed us. The apostle Peter, who once failed so disastrously in witness, encourages each one of us to be ready. ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have’ (1 Pet. 3:15).
Outside of the denominations in Wales, there have been several attempts by evangelical churches to cooperate together. Perhaps the desire is to reach out to new areas or maybe to establish conferences or specific ministries. These may demand energies, resources and skills that cannot be found in a single church fellowship.
We must admit that some have known more success than others in cooperation. Some remain highly suspicious of such mutual assistance, due to various reasons. Yet much spiritual work goes undone and churches struggle on when a more charitable judgement might benefit everyone and build the kingdom of God.
In the AECW, the cluster model has been adopted across Wales where four to eight churches agree to cooperate in a single area, with each church remaining free to decide its own level of cooperation.
The EMW is at the moment encouraging less permanent levels of cooperation between wider groups of churches to perform particular missions in an area. The pastors are usually the first people approached and, depending on their view of church government, they sometimes take these suggestions on to the church. Where agreements can be reached, it is normally because friendships already existed between the pastors. This demonstrates the value of pastors’ fraternals and ministers’ conferences where understanding, friendships and trust develop.
However, it is important that such arrangements do not remain in the hands of the pastors alone. I am sure many church members would be delighted to be approached to help on the administrative side of such a venture. In a new setting untapped skills often emerge between people.
Also in preparing for a time of mission one church may suggest to the others different ways of training – instruction and skills which can be used way beyond the actual time of the mission.
If we have been negligent of this biblical responsibility we pray that the thought of this mission will stir us up, by Christ’s love to share the good news with many.
Graham John is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Swansea.