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Real Lives November 2010

1 July 2010 | by Graham John

Real Lives November 2010

In the 1st week of November Roger Carswell, Paul Hinton & Jeremy Hudson will be involved in a mission in Swansea.  The interesting fact here is that the mission will be run between FIVE evangelical churches in the area.  They are Ebenezer Swansea, Bethel Clydach, Noddfa Pontardulais, Llanelli Evangelical Church, & Ammanford Evangelical Church.  After some initial doubts whether such a wide area could hold a mission over one week, and many e-mails the 1st meeting was held at the home of Dave Norbury on Nov 17th.  Surrounded by pots of paint and workmen the ministers of these five churches began hammering out an outline, which hopefully satisfied the needs of each church.  We all left with the belief that such a large venture was truly possible.  Details are now being arranged as ministers & representatives from each fellowship meet together.

We hope to produce a colourful evangelistic newspaper with each church invited to produce their own centre pages, with articles from the evangelists providing the 1st & last pages.  There are certainly enough testimonies among the Lord’s people of His saving grace & evidences of His hand in our lives.

We hope that the five churches will be ready to come together to pray as the mission draws near, to seek God’s blessing & perhaps Roger Carswell could find time to address us.

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 – people with interesting life stories that Roger & 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 “ambassadors for Christ[1] 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”.[2]

“Working Together”

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 & 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 & churches struggle on when a more charitable judgment might benefit everyone & build the kingdom of God.

In the AECW the cluster model has been adopted across Wales where between 4 to 8 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, & 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 & ministers’ conferences where understanding, friendships & 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 & 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.

Rev. Graham John, Ebenezer, Swansea

[1] 2 Cor 5:20

[2]  1 Peter 3:15 NIV