NEWS 09 July 06

Dear Church Planters,     
It is summer in Europe – and time for a well-earned break.  However, as well as fitting in some vacation, hundreds of church planters across Europe have put aside some of their holiday time to participate in a Church Planters X-Change. 
Last week almost 140 attended an X-Change in Finland.  In just over a week from now – church planters from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany will be heading to Friedensau, Germany.  (I have seen the plans that David, Rudy and Frank have put together – and that X-Change will be good.)  This will be followed by one for Denmark, Sweden and Norway at Tyrifjord.  (Thomas, Harald and Martin are also bringing together a very good X-Change.)  Then participants will come from Poland, Hungary, Albania and Serbia for the Central Europe X-Change to be held in Hungary in August.    
You will enjoy this NEWS – and be encouraged.  You are doing what God wants you to do – reaching lost people for Him. 
Christian regards
Peter Roennfeldt 
PS:  Martin Vukmanic will not actually attend the X-Change that he, Harald and Thomas are organising for Tyrifjord.  He and Dreen have gotten married – and they have not responded positively to the suggestion that they honeymoon at Tyrifjord!  Congratulations Martin & Dreen. We wish you every happiness. 
In this NEWS …
An evening baptism was followed the next Tuesday (a week ago) with a baptism of six young adults in the sea.  “God is goooood!” writes Korinta planter Juris Rekis.  Valdis Zilgalvis, the Baltic Union Conference president – who participated in baptising Martin and Liva, his son & daughter – said, “This baptism was the most exciting thing in my life!”    
Then to add to the excitement, two days after the joy of this baptism, Juris Rekis and Regina Nestecka were united in marriage.  All at the Korinta church plant were involved in the celebrations and rejoiced with their leaders on their wedding day.  Juris, Regina and Aira Arina have been key leaders in fostering and building up Korinta.    
Korinta church started two years ago – after Juris, Regina and Aira attended their first Church Planters X-Change in Sweden.  This church plant is led by young people – with no paid pastor.  Korinta has been officially organised with almost 50 baptised members – and earlier this year planned and held the first Baltic X-Change attended by 110 people who committed themselves to planting another 15 churches in the Baltic countries.  
Korinta church planter, Juris Rekis, spent a weekend in London with Hope Community Church.  “We had a great time and talked about planting new churches for their local church – Croydon,” reports Juris.  “We even went out into the community to hand out ‘flyers’ and to talk with the people for several hours.” 
Responding to their unease over the sense that they were on a plateau, the core group of the Åpen Dør church plant (Porsgrunn, Norway) brought Ommund Rolfsen, the leader of Natural Church Development (NCD) in Norway.  Ommund conducted an NCD assessment and had been coaching Åpen Dør.  “The score was very good, giving us a lot of encouragement, but it also challenged us in the area of spirituality and small groups,” reports planter Arne-Kristian Andersen. “From April and forward we have been working steadily on these two minimum factors.”     
Arne-Kristian has also modelled greater involvement with unchurched people.  “I have now found where I belong in the community,” reports Arne-Kristian.  “Two months ago I started in an orchestra. I came back yesterday from the American Embassy where we played for the ambassador and the Norwegian Prime minister, which of course says something about the quality of the music. On the way back, over half of the people in the bus were drunk & happy, but then of course they open up with their feelings and express their thankfulness that I can join them as a saxophonist & pastor. I am looking forward to meet my new friends when summer holiday is over.” 
138 people participated in a 3-day Church Planters X-Change at Toivonlinna, Finland (30 June – 4 July).  Kalervo Aromaki, the Finnish Union Ministerial Secretary, described the conference as encouraging and inspiration.  Atte Helminen, a church planter and now leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Finland – with his team of leaders – planned and coordinated the X-Change.     Special guests included Olga and Martin Vesley – church planters from the Czech Republic.  They shared the inspiring story of their church plant in Zabreh.  The music group RACHEL – who are involved in the Zabreh plant – provided worship music and leadership for the X-Change.    
“The majority of the participants in our Church Planters X-Change this year have not attended this type of training before,” explains Atte Helminen.  “We really appreciate those who are already planting new churches – but, this opens up new possibilities to extend our planting movement.”  On the last day, leaders Atte Helminen and Orvo Miettinen surveyed the potential for new plants – and outlined a support/coaching system for each group in planning and launching.  “We have the potential for more that 10 new plants,” Orvo observed. 
Seventy leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from eight of the 16 Unions and attached fields in the Trans-European Division spent three days (27-29 June) absorbing the principles of coaching their church planters and teams.  “These leaders are serious about providing appropriate support systems and coaching for their church planters and pastors,” comments Peter Roennfeldt – Church Planting Coordinator and Ministerial Association Secretary for the Trans-European Division.  “Fourteen Union and Conference presidents participated.”    
‘Empowering Church Planters through Coaching’ was the second of six modules of skills-development to which church leaders have committed themselves. Commenting on the conference held at the Wycliffe Centre, High Wycombe, Pastor Bjorn Ottesen (President of the Netherlands Union) said that the Swedish team was “very happy about the instruction given and the positive atmosphere.”  Atte Helminen (President of the Finland Union) commented on “the great teaching and coaching,”    
Each participating Union Conference can send a team of 8-10 leaders for each of the six modules of training.  “These are leaders who have the influence to develop strategies – and foster and support church planting movements,” says Peter Roennfeldt – Church Planting Coordinator for the Trans-European Division.  “We have Union and Conference Presidents, Union Church Planting Directors – and other very committed leaders involved.  At least four people in each team must attend the six equipping modules.”     
The first module was “Building Church Planting Movements.”  Coming modules include “Identifying and Recruiting Church Planters” and “Planting Healthy Churches.”           
The key teacher and facilitator is Ian Hamilton from Church Resource Ministries and Peter Roennfeldt.  Pastor David Cox, Church Planting Director for the British Union, hosted the second module which was attended by leaders and teams from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland, France, Hungary, Israel, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.  Last November church leaders in the Trans-European Division voted that Adventism in Europe would be a CHURCH PLANTING MOVEMENT.