02.28.14

On and on the chain goes

Posted in Ancona, church, ministry, Newsletters at 12:36 pm

I don’t know if the Holy Spirit was thinking of church planting in Ancona, Italy when he guided Paul to write the following words to Timothy, who was in many ways his replacement: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

Seems like a standard verse talking about passing on the message of the Gospel. But look closely and you’ll see that Paul set up a kind of chain. “…the things that you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses…,” is the first link in the chain (Paul). “…entrust to reliable people…,” shows the second and third links (Timothy entrusting the message to reliable people). The chain doesn’t stop there: “who will also be qualified to teach others.”

And on and on the chain goes, starting with Jesus, going to His disciples, and then to their disciples until it ends up with a missionary team working in Ancona, Italy (kind of humbling when you look at it like that). And we don’t want the chain to end with us, or with this first generation of believers. We want our believers to “be qualified to teach others.”

Starting this week, we are moving into that last link of the chain. Up until now, the majority of the ministry has been done by the missionaries. Which is completely normal in the beginning. But if this church plant is to last beyond this first generation of believers, then our church needs to be released to do ministry without us. We want the church to see that we came to be catalysts. We really believe that we’re all called to be pastors (1 Peter 2:9) and that you don’t need formal education to minister.

In the weeks leading up until Easter, we have asked the church members to lead a very simple Bible study in their homes. We meet together as a church, and then sometime during the week they study the same passage with someone else. It’s a big step. We’ve been praying for God to put people in our lives that need to know what His word says. Coworkers, family, friends, neighbors, classmates … anyone we come in contact with who doesn’t know what God’s word says … they’re all fair game.

So far, about half of the church members have a group getting together. Others have been turned down by people they have asked. Others are still gathering up the courage.

Please pray! We are praying that this step in ministry launches us to the next phase in the church plant.