This has been an encouraging season for us, and we believe it is in part because God is using the prayers of our partners.
There have been three areas we have and will consistently ask prayer for: Leadership, Gospel Transformation, and Increasing Prayer for this mission.
1. Leadership – Leadership takes time, and comes in all forms. So continual prayer for this is important to us. I began in December meeting weekly with two men who are assisting me in the leadership of these early stages of leadership. Please pray that God would make us effective leaders and lead us in the right direction.
Also, Mary and I plan on attending a church planting conference with two couples from Providence Church in Orlando January 26-29. This will be an important time of training, planning, and praying.
We are praying for wisdom and leaders to start our third community group. We are looking for a facilitator and a host home.
2. Gospel Transformation – The Gospel continues to be central during our community groups. We are working to have the Gospel as the central strand of DNA in all our community group meetings.
We are encouraged by a new family attending one of our groups which is the direct result of serving with the Gospel. They are not church attenders, and are honest about their reservations about the Gospel. We encourage their honesty, and invite their questions and objections. They have grown more curious about faith in Christ over the past month, and good friendships are continuing to be formed between them and others in our group. This too, we believe, is a result of your prayers.
In December, the two community groups delivered nearly 200 New Testaments door-to-door in the neighborhoods where our small group meetings are hosted. We had many good conversations and met many neighbors. Afterwards our groups met together in the park to picnic and play kickball and ultimate frisbee. One family we met in the neighborhood earlier joined us in the park.
Also last month, each community group hosted Christmas parties and invited friends in our neighborhoods who do not attend church. Between the two homes, we had 10 guests that evening. This was a great time for visitors to meet members of our small groups and visit in the homes that host our Bible discussions. Over the past 6 weeks, the two community groups have had 19 guests.
3. Increasing Prayer – I am convinced we need to pray more. I need to pray more. Your partnership to pray specifically for God’s work within this planting endeavor is very important to us. If you have opportunity, feel free to recruit more friends to commit to pray. Share this with your churches, Sunday School classes, or Bible study groups. Mention it during you family worship times, as my family does for other pastors and missionaries.
We are also looking for a time to have our community groups meet together monthly to pray. Please pray for our leadership as we plan important dates like this on the calendar.
Other updates for your prayer consideration:
- Church Partnerships: We remain committed to partnering with churches both locally and abroad. Pray they these partnership materialize, and that doors will open to work with other local gospel-centered churches.
- Financial Gifts: Recently a gift was sent in as a result of this newsletter. We thank God for His provision. 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).
- Community Groups: The newest small group meeting in our home continues to do well. This gives us two gospel-centered small groups meeting in homes on Sunday evening. We praise God for this.
- 1st International Mission Trip Already Planned: The mission trip to the Dominican Republic planned April 5-12, 2010 has not generated much interest so far. Please pray that a team will be formed if it is God’s will.
- Gospeling: Otherwise known as evangelism, please pray we become more faithful to living and speaking the Gospel to our community. We are planning future events to intentionally engage our culture with the message of Christ.
Thanks for your willingness to join with us in prayer. I thank God we have you standing with us.
For Christ and His Church,
Shawn & Mary
If you live in the area and you are interested in participating in the planting of 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.
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.