NEWS 08 Aug 06

Hello friends, 
The Alpha Centre (in Záb?eh, Czech Republic) was established in 2003 – with English language classes, family exercise clubs, etc. Over 200 community people register and attend classes each week and a new church, Nova Sance (New Chance), has been planted. However, a new process involving postmoderns (especially 18-25 year olds) has been initiated. It involves unchurched (including many atheists) singing and dancing to gospel songs. A week ago, I was at their first concert in Ostrava. The music director, lead musician, drummer and about 4 others are Adventist Christians – but most have no church background at all.     
     The emphasis is upon participation – although the three groups that I saw, heard and ‘felt’ in action were very professional. It is high energy praise to God. “By their involvement in singing gospel songs, they come to experience the reality of who Jesus is,” explains Olga Veselá a government school teacher and committed church planter. Olga was recently given a poem by one of the singers. It was a prayer. “I didn’t know you were a believer!” Olga commented. “I didn’t know I was either,” the Gen Y replied. “But I have been thinking about the words that we have been singing, and I am coming to know Him!”    
     This is church planting! You will be challenged, encouraged and inspired by the stories and planting ideas in this NEWS. I invite you to share insights and idea from your church plant. They will encourage others.  Do something today to cultivate a culture of encouragement, 

Peter Roennfeldt  

In this NEWS …
·        Summer Camp Attracts Unchurched in Hungary!
·        4U2 Leads Unchurched Youth to Jesus
·        Café Port – building friendships for new church plant!
·        JIGSAW – Coming Together!
·        Dream Comes True!
·        Inviting Neighbors!
·        Visions for Landsdale
·        FaceOut Is On the Move!
·        Church Planting Support in Europe!
·        Adventist Identity in Postmodern Europe
·        Is she a ‘Person of Peace’?
·        Resources for Church Planters 
Summer Camp Attracts Unchurched in Hungary! A special Bible camp for friends attracted 140 people – with 93 friends not from the church, reports Laszlo Szabo. “At the end of the camp 18 people decided to be baptized,” Laszlo says. “We experienced so many blessings – we are rejoicing!” (Also, at this time, about 230 people are attending the annual Hungarian Mission Camp being held this year at Gödöllö.)
4U2 Leads Unchurched Youth to Jesus: Vitek and his wife, Lenka, became aware that their small town church had the reputation of a cult – and nobody in the town knew them. The members took radical steps to become part of the community and to give a positive witness to Jesus. The top floor of the church building was redeveloped as a community centre (4U2) and the focus shifted from “getting baptisms” to “making disciples.” 4U2 sponsored sports events with an emphasis upon being with people, rather than winning. The results
        80 town kids belong to the youth club 4U2
        Young people have left going to the pubs and now go to the church 4U2 club instead.
        10 town youth were baptized two weeks ago.
        After singing, ‘Jesus is my King!’
–      one youth commented, “I didn’t know that before1”
        One tough youth said, “This kind of Jesus that I am learning about here, I can accept Him!” 
Café Port – building friendships for new church plant! The Znojmo (Czech Republic, close to the Austrian border) church planting team has established a café (Café Port) in their town centre. It is open 6 days each week, and although small (30 seats downstairs & 14 upstairs) they have over 200 customers each day. They employ a professional cook and waiters. However, all core team members, including the youth and kids (doing ‘temp work’), serve in the café each week – intentionally building friendships. They say it has been a great asset in building trusting relationships. “I didn’t have any friends,” commented one team member. “I work and travel a lot. Now I am building friendships and talking about spiritual things.” 
JIGSAW – Coming Together! A new church plant called JIGSAW (in Fremantle, Western Australia) is focusing upon families with young children. “We had five kids from two families in the community come last week, kids we knew from the holiday program,” writes planter Brad Flynn. “Please pray that they get connected!”  
Dream Comes True! Youth clubs visit Romanian children’s homes! In the last week of June a team of 15 unchurched youth and 4 adults from the Steigen Ungdomsvisjon (youth clubs) and the Bodøs Kirkekjelleren Unplugged (youth group) went to Romania to assist in a children’s home. Some years ago Jan Erik & Gunnhild Hansen began clubs (horse-riding, mechanics, photography, crafts, cooking, etc) on their farm for rural youth in the small Steigen community (north Norway). In time this extended to the development of a youth club in Bodø (250 km away, and coordinated by Tone & Glenn Tore) where some of these young people moved to continue education. In Romania the team visited villages to give clothing to families, visited children’s hospitals, gave food to street-kids, and worked in a children’s home (for which they had raised funds). “All the young people in our group have unforgettable memories,” writes Jan Erik. “None of them are Christians. Isn't this a way to learn about Gods love?” 
Inviting Neighbors! “I was praying that God would put me in contact with unchurched people,” says writes Phil Brown (church planting coordinator) who with his wife Kate have just moved to Western Australia.  “The next day Kate happened to be talking to our next door neighbors… Kate mentioned that we have meeting for Bible study in a Life group every two weeks at our home. She invited them to come for a meal and meet other people with kids at Carmel College (where there children also go for school) and they were delighted with the idea. When you pray, the Holy Spirit begins to open up the doors. It is so exciting.”

Visions for Landsdale: A core team of 9 adults and 6 children (led by Steve Goods and Calvin Sheldrick) are visiting the unchurched parents of kids at Landsdale Gardens Christian School (Western Australia) to identify interests and needs. At this stage they are processing the idea of a café church in the area – and the need (expressed by unchurched parents) for a Christian secondary school. They are getting involved in the Residence Association and mothers groups! They ask us to pray for the community to be receptive to the Holy Spirit – and to help them “to be bold and courageous in taking opportunities as they arise!” 

FaceOut Is On the Move! FaceOut (a church plant in Denmark that has emerged from a group meeting to pray together, and then doing something for the friends of their kids!) has grown to a worshipping sharing group of 70-80 – and still growing! “We just returned (40 people) from a summer-camp in Sweden,” writes Jan Storgaard. At the camp they celebrated a wedding – and a baptism of 4 people. The camp (with canoeing, climbing, hiking, etc) was a great opportunity for parents, teens and children to “break down barriers and build trust, faith and friendships.” 
Church Planting Support in Europe! 200 planters and friends from the Netherlands met at Friedensau (Germany) at the end of July for inspiration, encouragement and equipping. Rudy Dingjan (church planting coordinator for the Netherlands) is now joined by Cherrel Francisca who will coordinate church planting among Antillean people. “There is no doubt that the church planting has brought new life to the Dutch church,” writes Reinder Bruinsma, leader of the Adventist church in the Netherlands.  
Adventist Identity in Postmodern Europe: Over 150 people gathered in Ostrava (Czech Republic) to share church planting stories, dialogue about Adventist identity in their postmodernist culture, receive training and review planting project plans. The participants formed teams of 10-12 people which became ‘local churches’ for the duration of the conference and while biblical themes, motifs and concepts for Church were explored – the teams focused upon their relevance to their Postmodern, post-Christian communities. They chose names (Open Doors, The God Pub, Mosaic, Hope, New Chance, Oasis, Friends, Beehive, Cocktail, Watermelon, etc), discussed applications from the early church and discovered way to be the Church. Whether old or younger in years, all teams concluded that teaching has no relevance if not seen in relationships with Jesus, family and community. Faithfulness to biblical themes is seen in healthy relationships. 
Is she a ‘Person of Peace’? “About a month ago I had a young woman come to me at church as say that she would like to have some Bible studies,” writes John McLean. “I said that would be fine. She asked me if she could invite some of her friends. I said that would be great. The following Friday night she cooked a meal and had two of her friends come and join us. The next week Julia had three more friends.” Some have a Christian connection – but some are totally unchurched. “It is an exciting mix,” says John – and even when he was away for a week’s holiday, they still met and had another university friend join them! Julia says, “I am not really interested in getting my friends to come to church I just want them to get to know Jesus.” (She feels that the church is unfriendly and critical and that her friends could not cope with it!) John says, “I don't know what we have here – a Cell Group, Liquid Church, or the start of another church! All I do know is it is exciting!”  
Resources for Church Planters –
·        The Gospel of John – Visual Bible is excellent for small groups. (Available from Christian bookstores.)
·        New Churches for New People – an updated (2006) church planting manual for new groups or for those equipping planters.
·        New Revelation Seminars – available now! Many have requested seminars that open up the story of the last book of the Bible – the revelation of Jesus Christ. This resource is for those who want to be spiritual Revolutionaries.
·        Agape Meals Ideas! One of the most powerful ways to share the gospel with unchurched friends is to involve them in an Agape Meal – sharing the Lord’s Supper and anointing.
Peter Roennfeldt