This week marks one year since our family joined Grace Baptist Church. It has been wonderful chapter to our lives. We are excited about what God is doing at Grace Baptist and our efforts to plant Providence Church. Thanks to all of you who are partners of our through your prayer support, as well as through your financial gifts. Our family and those who are involved in our church planting efforts in East Lee are encouraged by your support. We have much to rejoice about. God continues to show us his kindness and mercy. God has given us great families and friends whom we have joined together in planting Providence. We are hopeful God has great plans for Providence Church in year two. (Right: Caleb, Cassidy, and Caris Bergen)
Our community groups continue meeting in homes on Sunday nights to discuss the sermon from that morning at Grace Baptist. We currently have two groups, one meeting in Lehigh Acres, and one meeting in Fort Myers Shores. The groups average 22 members each, and about 14 in attendance each Sunday night, besides the last Sunday of each month, when we attend a Sunday Evening Communion Service at Grace Baptist. We continue to pray and plan for the start of a third group very soon. These groups are foundational for Providence Church. They provide opportunities to hear and discuss God’s Word, go deeper in relationship with other believers, and grow deeper in the gospel. Each group includes children, teenagers, college students, singles, and families w/o children, all benefiting from one another. Please pray as we seek to start a 3rd group. (Left: One of our groups meeting Sunday night)
On March 26th, we had a cookout to fellowship and celebrate what God has been doing through our efforts. It was also an opportunity promote our first corporate gathering called TwoFour. TwoFour started March 31st, and is a midweek service meeting the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month (hence the name). During this meeting we sing, read Scripture, pray over matters involving the new church, and teach. I am currently teaching a series called, “What Is A Healthy Church.“
We believe this meeting will help us in preparing to introduce regular Sunday morning worship services. I do the teaching, but we have several people involved who lead our singing, praying, reading Scripture, refreshments, and setup/take down. This provides a great training ground for preparing leaders who will help in having Sunday morning service. (Right: Our very first TwoFour meeting)
Gospel Growth: We want God to make us a church filled with people who take the posture of a missionary. Our chief aim is to glorify God. And nothing glorifies Him like people being transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. Pray the gospel continues to grow us in this mindset of serving our neighbors, coworkers, and community with the gospel.
2. Pray God will let us see many saved by the gospel who will then become disciple-making disciples themselves.
Leadership: Leaders are very important to a new church. God places a high standard on leadership in the Bible. Yet, leadership is not limit to church administration. We hope for God to grow leaders in the home, in the community, and in the workplace through Providence Church. (Left: We are currently working on a logo and website to be ready soon.)
1. Pray God grows me to become more the leader I must be. I have much to learn and I am keenly aware of my need for growth.
2. Pray God continues to prepare those already at Providence who are stepping up with a willingness for God to use them for His glory.
Fervent Prayer: God has purposed to accomplish much of His will through the prayers of His people. We have a great privilege given by God to be intimately involved in missio Dei (the mission of God). Our dependence on God to do His work is demonstrated when we pray. But prayerlessness is a symptom of faithlessness. We desire for God to make Providence a prayer-filled church.
1. Pray that God would teach us and grow us as a prayerful people in our private lives, in our homes, and when we gather as the body of Christ.
2. Pray we will always depend on God through prayer before we attempt anything as the church.
I wish I could record and post the prayers that have been spoken in our TwoFour meetings. Some of our older children, especially, have prayed in ways that must have come straight from the Fathers heart. We are encouraged and hopeful that God will continue His mission through Grace Baptist Church and the efforts to plant Providence Church. But we do not expect to do it without the partnership of faithful Gospel-people and Gospel-churches interceding for us. We are thankful for each of you who take the time to read this and pray. We are grateful to partner with you in Kingdom work. God bless you.
For Christ and His Church,
Shawn & Mary
If you live in the area and you are interested in participating in planting Providence Church, pray about teaming with us. You’re invited to attend any one of our meetings. We are also interested in partnering with you and your church for the sake of the gospel. 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 in eastern Lee County, Florida.