World Watch List 2021

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Open Doors has been releasing it’s World Watch List since 1992, informing the Church what we should know about the countries with the highest levels of persecution, and how we can pray for the believers in those nations. Check it out, but more importantly, consider praying for a country on the list.

What’s Your Ecclesiology?

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Because we might be talking with someone about Church Planting doesn’t necessarily mean we are talking about the same thing. The methodology, end goal and the understanding of what is, or isn’t, taking place may all be very different. What’s important is to establish a biblical ecclesiology, a biblical understanding of what we are talking about when we talk about the big “C” Church and little “c” church.

The way we talk about Church Planting at Connect is by using the W.I.L.D. framework. In Modules 7 & 9, there are over 40 tutorials that help us establish a biblical ecclesiology in a way that practically helps us work with the Master Builder to disciple people individually and corporately to establish healthy churches.

Whether you have completed Modules 7 & 9 or attended some of our recent workshops where we have discussed the W.I.L.D. framework, I think you’ll find this article by Mack Stiles, a church planter in Iraq, helpful as he highlights our need for a biblical understanding of what we mean by church planting.

Let’s Gospel Each Other

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So how was 2020 for you? For some of us it was ghastly. Restricted, isolated, and out of routine. For others, life was less interrupted and actually allowed for some time to rest and reflect. As we all come to the end of 2020 and look to the New Year, the next couple of weeks gives all of us a chance to rest and reflect. As we have applied ourselves to learning, equipping, and thinking about how God is fitting us into His purposes to take the gospel to the lost, we mustn’t forget that the gospel is for Christians too. For you and me, now!... read more

If your Pastor announced that he was going to start a 10-week series on “The Gospel”, how would you react? Does it sound a bit like “Christianity 101”, something that you’ve moved on from? Or would your reaction be, “I can’t afford to miss one of those sermons”?

Why is it important for us to always be hearing the gospel? Paul tells us in Romans 1:16, “It’s the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes … “. We know it is the power of God to save those outside the Kingdom who are perishing, but literally Paul says that it is the power of God to everyone who keeps on believing. That’s right, believing is in the present tense, an ongoing activity of believing not just at the moment of conversion, but throughout the whole of our life, the gospel saves us. Paul makes this clear in 1 Cor 15.1, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand and by which you are being saved…”.

I am weak, frail and I am inconsistent. Like you, I have times of suffering and affliction, I am sometimes discouraged and lose my joy. I get entangled in the temptations of this world causing me to lack in my love for Christ. I need to “keep on” believing and the gospel is the power of God giving me all I need to transform my heart, mind and will. Everything I need is in the message of the gospel. Nothing else in Scripture, except Jesus Christ himself, is described as the “power of God”. The gospel is the ultimate working of the power of Almighty God. Think about all the incredible acts of God recorded in the Bible. Creation, the parting of the Red Sea, the plagues in Egypt, the flood, the conquests of Canaan, none of these are ever described as the “power of God”, but the gospel is. How powerful then must the gospel be to be merit such a title?

So, as we rest and reflect over the next couple of weeks, let’s “gospel” our Christian friends and each other regularly. We need it. To us who are being saved it is the power of God. We need to hear the gospel and believe it every day.

Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. Keep your eyes on WhatsApp and your inbox for information about our Summer Workshop and Webinar coming up in 2021.

Praying God’s Word for the Unreached

By Evangelism, Gospel, Great Commission, Missions, Uncategorized

Have you ever wanted to use God’s Word to pray for some of the neediest people in the world who have no access to His Word or the knowledge of His Son, Jesus? Here are a few verses that will help you do that. Couple these verses with a tool like the “Unreached of The Day” App, or The Joshua Project. Just fill in the name of the people group you are praying for.

Psalm 86:9 “Lord I pray that all the _____________ people you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; I pray the _____________ people will bring glory to your name.”

Psalm 113:4 “Lord, may you be exalted over all the _____________ people, your glory over the heavens.”

Isaiah 42:8 “You are the Lord and this your name! I pray your glory will not be given to another. I pray the _____________ people will not give your praise to idols.”

Psalm 96:3 “Lord send workers to declare your glory among the _____________ people, your marvelous deeds among all the _____________ people.”

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” Matt 6:10

Day 4: N = Narrative

By Church Planting, Culture, Discipleship, Evangelism, Gospel, Great Commission, Meta-Narrative, Missions, Uncategorized, WILD

If you have had the opportunity to be part of a friends journey of faith, you would recognise that it takes some wisdom to help anyone to do this well. In the Bible, wisdom is strongly correlated with order, and an orderly approach to how we use God’s Word is crucial to effective Church Planting & Discipleship.

Think about your own experience, either discipling others or being discipled yourself. Think how well prepared you or a fellow disciple would be if there had already been exposure and some understanding to God’s Word as His complete Narrative, or Story.... read more

What if we had a clear understanding of how and why God created the universe, the world and man and woman? Imagine if you had been able to stand alongside your friend and observe together how God related, from the beginning, to his created human beings that He had made.

If together, or as a group, you’d learned together how Adam and Eve listened to Satan and then saw God’s interaction with them and His response. And what if you’d been able to teach or learn together how through history, you saw the highlights of God’s record of the way he has relationship with human beings.

And then, if your friend or friends hadn’t yet decided to follow Jesus, you’d been able to introduce them to the promised Messiah, the Rescuer. And most importantly, if you’d taught and learned together how all the threads of who God is, what He’s shown us about Himself, how that comes together in His Son, and how we understand that most clearly in His death, burial, and resurrection.

Even if you have not been able to guide an individual, or a group, through God’s Story, I’m sure you can appreciate what a great foundation of Truth you would be working with as you try to help and encourage others.

If the path to faith for anyone we are sharing Truth with involves getting to know God, themselves, their enemy Satan and eventually Jesus the Saviour, through God’s Narrative, then there will be many important areas of Truth we will be able to help them with.

It’s going to be great to discuss these ideas further during our upcoming webinar and workshop.

Webinar Countdown – Day 1

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P = Propagate

One way to think about how individuals or groups of believers are using God’s Word, is how well they are learning to pass Truth on to others. Genesis tells us that when God first created the vegetation that covers the planet, He said that each species would reproduce the same kind of plants and trees. Plants will produce seed, they will be fruitful, they will spread out, and they will reproduce. It is a force built into their DNA by their Creator. I’m sure you have seen a tropical rainforest and you have seen just how powerfully things want to reproduce and grow, or to propagate.... read more

Isaiah likens the rain God sends to water food crops, with Him sending out His Word to feed people spiritually. God says that His Word always produces fruit. It accomplishes everything He wants it to (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Paul reminds the believers in Rome, God’s plan is that if lost people are going to hear the Good News, it will be through His people taking it to them. But they need to be sent, to know they are sent (Romans 10:14-15). God’s people, going out with purpose, to share Truth – ordinary, weak people, but with a wonderful treasure to share (2 Corinthians 4:7).

This spreading out, this multiplying of seed, is something built into the DNA of the Church in the same way that God built fruitfulness into the plants and trees of creation. So, we should hope to see groups of believers like a garden or orchard that is nurtured and watered, well protected from disease and also enjoying the freedom that comes with being shaped and pruned by God’s Word. A healthy tree produces fruit. It seeds and reproduces itself. We should expect to see people who naturally reproduce and know how to spread out.

Church Planting Webinar

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Church planting is a popular term in missions but it isn’t always clear how to go about it or what we should be shooting for. Do we need goals or principles to work from, and if so, what should they be? 

We have our very first webinar on Church Planting coming up and it’s only 2 weeks away. As we approach our Spring Connect Workshop in October, this webinar will help us as we start to consider church planting and the W.I.L.D. framework (Word, Identity, Life, Discipleship) introduced in Module 7. We’ll discuss the four W.I.L.D. areas and how they relate to any situation in which God’s Word is being shared and discipleship is taking place. 

One God – One Story

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The theme for our Connect Open Weekend in December is “One God – One Story”. We’re thrilled to have Samuel Green, author of “Where to Start With Islam” as our keynote speaker. This is both timely and topical as there is evidence that today there are many Muslims converting to Christ in many different countries. In this article from Good Soil, we see how helpful it is to look for “door-openers” that can spark meaningful relationships and lead us to use God’s meta-narrative story to handle divisive gospel truths in the right timing and with the right tone.

Discipleship. It’s not a program.

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When I read this blog post by Church Planter, Micah Dodson, it made me think about a recent conversation I had about discipleship with Connect participant, Simon G. Simon shared some of his observations after reading the excellent book The Vine Project by Tony Payne and Colin Marshall. One of the observations Simon shared was that discipleship in The Vine Project is presented as a relational venture not a program. Micah agrees.