Providence Church: Planting Update 6

On June 27, 2010 I gave a report to my church in Cape Coral, on the progress and exciting events ahead for Providence Church. As you read, please keep us in prayer:

Providence Church Report to Grace Baptist:             June 27, 2010

Over the past year as I have tried to report on the progress of our church planting efforts, whether it be through random conversations, prayer updates on my blog, or reporting on Sunday nights each month at Grace, I have tried to request prayer in three crucial areas.

I have asked for prayer that the core members starting Providence would be marked by gospel growth, and that we would see God shape others by the gospel. We have prayed that God would do this by growing our Sunday night groups, and helping start others.

God has done just that. We believe we have two healthy groups meeting, with members of those groups growing in the gospel. Almost weekly we hear of testimonies of the grace of God in the gospel working in people who attend our groups.

We have prayed for God to give us boldness and a burden to tell those we live around about the gospel. As a testimony of how God has done this, one of our teenagers approaches me every week to ask me if I have told someone about the gospel this each week. He then proceeds to tell me his efforts and desires for God to help him do the same.

We have prayed for God to save people with the gospel of Jesus Christ as He empowers us to share it. Just this week a man whom God has brought to us troubled with unemployment and a lifelong alcohol problem told us he now “has the Lord.” God has given us a desire to walk alongside others and to serve them with the gospel.

I have also asked for prayer that the core members of Providence would be marked by fervent prayer; that we would not attempt anything as a church without depending on Christ in prayer. TwoFour, our bi-monthly prayer service, has been a significant time for us to gather together before God and pray. We are praying for members, for strangers, for leaders, for churches, and for the future of Providence.

Finally, I have been asking for prayer in the area of leadership, because I am aware that leadership is a crucial necessity Continue reading

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Providence Church: Planting Update 5

After One Year,
The Planting Continues

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) Continue reading

TwoFour Meeting 4.14.2010

TwoFour Meeting
Wednesday night at 7:00pm Providence Church will meet for its first meeting in April 2010. We meet at the Buckingham Community Center off of Buckingham Road every 2nd and 4th Wednesday. We are beginning a series entitled “What is a Healthy Church?” The first topic: “A Christian and the Local Church: What Matters?” Hope you can come join us and bring a friend. Please be praying in advance as we seek to meet with God in prayer and the Word.

Providence Church: Planting Update 4

Its been ten months since we hit the ground running in partnership with Grace Baptist Church to plant a new church in SW Florida. We have much to praise God for, and much to submit to Him in prayer. Mary and I will make sure to post an update on the family sometime soon. In the meantime, here’s an update on the church planting efforts and requests for prayer:

1. Leadership – There are now four of us men meeting weekly to plan and pray concerning the forming of Providence. These three men and their wives also joined Mary and me at the Global Church Advancement Conference in late January. Thank you for praying. In our last update before the conference, we had two couples attending with us. But God surprised us, and sent a third couple. I wrote a review of this conference here. (We enjoyed ourselves and had some team bonding at the conference too! Right: Kelly getting “framed” by Crissy at Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ. Left: Me trying to fit in at the Apple Store.)

During the month of February, we have been meeting to continue what we learned together at GCA, discussing Vision, Focus, Philosophy, Purpose, Values, Styles, Models and Launching Plans relating to the formation of Providence Church. Please pray for these men, (Jamie, Frank, & Kelly) and for the eleven families currently involved as we depend on God in starting PC.

Also, we now have two potential new community group leaders. Please pray God provides two new host homes to start groups. Our current two groups are going well. Two new groups would double our gospel-centered home groups!

2. Gospel – The central purpose of our community groups is to continually impress the gospel upon our hearts and for us to Continue reading

Providence Church: East Lee Planting Update 3

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. Continue reading

Providence Church: East Lee Planting Update 2

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:

Continue reading

Providence Church: East Lee Planting Update 1

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), a longtime missionary to China, once said, “There are no shortcuts to planting the church. And suffering, self-sacrifice, and a servant spirit will be prerequisite to faithfulness and success in any setting.” The very term “planting” used by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:6 (referring to gospel ministry resulting in the start of new churches) implies the need for time and seasons.

Steady, faithful, persevering and prayerful planting describes the work of ministry we have been involved in these past 6 months. The Apostle Paul and Hudson’s words were just some words that have brought encouragement to us.

If I have learned anything planting Everglades Baptist, it’s that church planting is more often like cooking with an oven than a microwave. Some church planters see results fast, most do not. Please pray often for this work. Kingdom work is definitely dependent on the King. But King Jesus Himself prayed for (John 17) and requested prayer for the work of the Kingdom (Luke 10:2). We are needing people who will partner with us to pray daily for this work. I share the following as a request for prayer and an update for those who have already been praying:

Continue reading