To those of you who take the time to read this and pray, please know we thank God for your interests and prayers.
Mary and I are confident we are not alone in this mission to plant Providence Church. This has been and will be conveyed to all who are laboring with us in these early efforts of starting Providence. We are glad to be partners with you on this mission.
If this is your first time reading about and/or praying for our church planting effort, please browse around this website to read more about our work (Newsletters & Providence Core Values). It is our desire to communicate all we can about what God is doing in this endeavor to plant the Gospel and eventually Providence Church in eastern Lee County, Florida.
Earlier, we requested prayer in three specific areas: 1. Leadership; 2. Gospel Transformation; 3. Abounding Prayer in me, and for this mission. Here is an update after just one month:
1. It appears God is raising up and sending potential leaders. To what extent is still unknown, but we have had some mature and godly believers join us recently. Additionally, we continue to see further excitement and determination to live as missionaries from those already involved. This is essential. I am hopeful God is answering this prayer.
2. The Gospel is being planted. Though it has been months since we have celebrated someone coming to faith in Christ through our efforts, we are hopeful God is using His Gospel in our midst. I have witnessed Gospel growth in some attending our meeting, including myself, as we seek to apply the Gospel to all areas of living. Some in the group continue/or are more actively sharing the gospel too.
3. Prayer for this mission appears to be increasing. I have been encouraged by the interests and affirmations of prayer from more people. Please know that we gain encouragement from hearing the regular reminders that you are praying for this mission. Also, I believe my own dependence on God through prayer has increased since making this prayer request a priority.
Please continue to emphasize these requests in your prayers to the Father.
Quick updates that have been encouraging in the planting of Providence:
- Church Partnerships: We have a great partnership with our “sending” church, Grace Baptist. I thank God for them. I am steadily working in full cooperation with the pastors at Grace, and the team-mentality is amazing. Two other churches have been encouraging and helpful while prayerfully considering a more formal partnership. This is encouraging since we think it is healthy to have as many participating churches as possible in planting Providence.
- Financial Gifts: We praise God that our family is fully supported through April ’10. Providence will seek to raise support in the days ahead. However, without being aggressive thus far to raise this support, God has sent generous gifts. As the ground work for this new church is slowly coming together, we have been encouraged by God’s provision through the generous giving of others. If you wish to financially support the planting of Providence Church, please send your gifts marked “for Providence Church” to Grace Baptist Church, 204 SW 11th Place, Cape Coral, FL 33991 (a receipt will be sent to you for tax-deductible purposes).
- 2nd Community Group’s Growth: September 30th, we launched a second small group from our original group that meets in our home. On November 1st, the leadership of the 1st group was passed on successfully to Jamie Bowlin. That group has continued to average around 20. Our newest small group has had up to 17 in attendance (6 families). We praise God for this.
- 1st International Mission Trip Already Planned: In conjunction with Grace Baptist, I am planning and leading a mission trip to the Dominican Republic April 5-12, 2010. We will be working with both Dominican and Haitian church plants in partnership with the International Mission Board. I pray this will become a part of the DNA of Providence.
We invite you to continue praying for leadership, gospel transformation, and for increased prayer support. Additionally, please pray for a new host home and leader to start a third community group and for the preparation for the D. R. Trip.
If you live in the area and you are interested in participating in planting Providence, pray about teaming with us. You’re invited to attend any one of our meetings. Comment to this post and I will email you soon.
Sometime after the new year, we will be attempting to start a monthly worship service and more community groups. We have our sights set on potentially May 2010 for a weekly worship gathering. Thanks for standing with us.
For Christ and His Church,
Shawn & Mary