Treasure in jars of clay—reflections on Phil and Monika’s story

2015 Phil  Monika Clark

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Paul

I listened again to Phil and Monika Clark’s story of pioneering movements in New Zealand. It’s a story I never tire of hearing. Wherever we train ordinary people with simple, but powerful methods of connecting, sharing, training new disciples and forming new churches—we see God at work. 

In New Zealand, as in Australia, Britain and Europe, we’re still a long way from multiplying movements of disciples and churches. But we are seeing fruit, where previously there was none.

The biggest barrier to the spread of the gospel, resulting in new disciples and multiplying streams of churches, is our unwillingness to share the gospel up front and early and teach new disciples how to obey Christ.

We have this treasure in jars of clay (2 Cor 4:7).

Theirs is the story of gospel advance as Phil is facing a life and death struggle with cancer. God is glorified that despite the predictions of imminent death, Phil lives. Even more, God is glorified that whether Phil lives or dies, Phil and Monika live in Christ. Listen to their story. One day, if not already, we will face the ultimate test of our faith. Listen to a couple who have looked death in the face and are no longer afraid. They have fought and won. Their faithfulness has prepared the way for movements of disciples and churches across New Zealand.

Multiplying movements are not the result of crunching numbers, of strategy and tools. They require flesh and blood. Brokenness and faithfulness. Power in weakness. Treasure in clay pots. We cannot go further or higher than our Saviour, he leads the way. He suffered, so will we. He triumphed and in him, so do we.

114-Pioneering Movements in New Zealand: Phil and Monika Clark

Phil & Monika Clark

Phil and Monika Clark talk with Steve Addison about their story of pioneering movements in New Zealand.

Phil and Monika serve with Church Army New Zealand.

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What’s Russell doing Mondays?

 2016 Russell  Dapo

Last time we checked in Russell Godward was out searching for houses of peace in Gisambi, Kenya. Now he’s out in Essex looking for people of peace with Dapo.

Here’s the latest from his newsletter:

I’m discipling a young friend, Dapo, in the photo above. Each week we head out into the same part of town to connect with people. We headed down to the Barber’s shop to meet a young guy we had been discipling. We meet him on his break each week and share with him at the cafe. We’ve done this every week now for a couple of months, but today he doesn’t show and we can’t get hold of him on his mobile. We’re disappointed and a little concerned. It’s getting dark and cold, so we head around the area to prayer walk before heading home.

As we head back to the car a guy calls across to us. A young friend of Dapo’s. Like many 19 year old lads with some street cred, he’s full of chat and bravado. We greet and talk a little and then it’s time to leave. Before we leave Dapo turns to the guy and does what we’ve trained him to do – he asks if we can pray for him. At that moment the guy changes, the bravado falls away and he visibly warms to the idea of prayer. I ask him if we can pray for anything specific? He looks me in the eye and says “Yes, 2 years ago this week my older brother at age 21 committed suicide in prison. I miss him and just want to know he’s okay”. So there on the High Street, as the cold and dark press in on us, we pray for him and his family in Jesus’ name.

He looks up and there are tears rolling down his face. We share some comforting words with him and ask after his mum and the family. He needs to leave, but before he does Dapo asks him if we can meet again to share some more? He says yes and we plan a time to meet in the next couple of days. Then he gives us the biggest ‘man hug’ ever and we head home, encouraged.

Two days later we are waiting in the cafe. He arrives on time, we greet and catch up briefly over a mug of tea. We begin to share more with him; we ask if he feels near or far from God and he talks a little about this. Dapo shares his story, how he came near to God. I share the 3 Circles on a notepad, a simple ‘gospel’ conversation we use regularly.

I then ask him 3 questions;

  • Where are you? He describes his life as being ‘broken’.
  • Where would you like to be? He’d like to live in God’s plan for his life.
  • Is there anything stopping you turning and believing today? He says ‘no’.

So there in that cafe an amazing miracle happens. We pray together as a young 19 year old guy turns his life over to following Jesus, and we make plans to start meeting to disciple him!

Discipling people like this will be hard work, fraught with difficulty and challenges. Broken people are not put back together overnight, but why would you want to do anything else?

This is what we do on Monday’s now!

We are seeking and learning to live like this every day, sent to connect and share with the ‘unreached’ people of our town and area.
We are offering to serve the church of Thurrock in order to equip and train local believers and churches to share in this way.
We are travelling and training churches and groups across the UK with the MOVE team.

We now exist to multiply new disciples & churches – everywhere!

If you want your Mondays to be different maybe we could come and train with you, your church or a group of churches in your town?

Russell has become our first British born MOVE UK team member. Send me an email if you’d like connect with him and find out more.

On the way to Exponential Orlando

2015 12 07 Steve Addison Troy Cooper NewThing

Heading out for Orlando and Exponential 2016. Troy Cooper and I are running workshops with Ron Surgeon, Steve Wright and Ray Vaughn.

If you’re going drop by and say hi. Look for me at the IVP stand where my books will be at 40% discount.

Jesus at 30,000 Feet

A320neo Air New Zealand 

I always look forward to an update from Grant McAllister. Here’s his latest…

I got comfortable and settled in to switch off and watch a movie before the busy two weeks ahead and noticed an older Asian man sitting next to me.

Part way though the flight (at and my movie!) the gentleman next to me tapped me on the shoulder. I took the headphones off, said hello and settled in for a chat with my plane buddy. He asked me where I was from and what kind of work I did. I told him I lived in Hong Kong as was involved in church work.

“So you are a Christian then?” Salim asked.

“Yes,” I replied. He then told me he is Muslim and from Sri Lanka.

“Do you know what the Koran says about Jesus?” I asked.

“I know Jesus did many miracles and healed many people,” Salim answered. “Muhammad did a lot of teaching but he didn’t do any miracles like Jesus did.”

I talked about how in the Koran it says Jesus was sinless, born of a virgin and did miracles. I went on and asked, “If, in the Koran, it says Jesus was sinless, born of a virgin and did miracles and if Muhammad only offered teaching, who do you think is the best person to follow?”

He paused and reflected. The Spirit stirred him, then a slow realisation showed on his face and he acknowledged that Jesus must be greater. “Indeed Jesus is greater than Muhammad,” I explained. “Jesus can forgive our sins because he is alive! And we can know Him personally.”

“Salim,” I asked, “would you like to know Jesus and ask Him to forgive your sins?”

“Yes!” he replied with great enthusiasm.

So, there, at 30,000 feet we prayed and Salim from Sri Lanka asked Jesus to forgive his sins and said he wanted to follow Him. Salim’s son-in-law in Sri Lanka is a Christian and when he returns to Sri Lanka he is looking forward to talking with him.

Please pray that the seed that has been planted in Salim’s heart will grow and that he will become a strong follower of Christ.

I can now reveal that Grant McAllister is “Barney”. Now that he’s in a more secure location you can even subscribe to his updates.

Yes, I chose the image of an Air New Zealand plane because “Barney” is a Kiwi.

113-Pioneering Movements in Cities — David Broodryk

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David Broodryk talks to Steve Addison about the place of groups, gatherings and teams in pioneering movements in urban environments.

Visit Accelerate to learn more and connect with David.

UPDATE: Changed the episode to 113.

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Help me doctor, I’ve got a book inside me!

Leunig Writers

I’m doing some writing this week, so the blog may get neglected.

Fools for Christ vs the Gospel of human flourishing

 Andrew Walker 

God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.

I want Christianity to influence culture as much as anyone. I want families intact. I love that the explosion of Christianity led to a revolution in human dignity; in hospitals and university. I want a renaissance of high culture that produces aesthetic wonders emanating from Christianity.

But if influence reduces merely to terms of human flourishing and the Common Good, we are not preaching the gospel. A flourishing culture that likes the trappings and benefits of Christianity, but not its kernel, isn’t biblical Christianity. A true gospel will be met with resistance because it overturns the accepted patterns of the world. New Testament Christianity assumes that a follower of Christ is well acquainted with scorn (2 Tim. 3:12).

Andrew Walker

112-Churches pioneering movements in Tulsa – Troy Cooper

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Troy Cooper reports in on churches multiplying disciples and churches in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Want to learn more?

UPDATE

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What’s driving the persecution of Christians in Pakistan?

 Pakistan suicide bomb blast aftermath lahore

You may have already forgotten about the 70 dead in Lahore, Pakistan last week. The press has moved on. The story never got the same coverage as Paris or Brussels. 

Christianity Today reports on the background in Pakistan.

UPDATE: The Spectator: The Lahore attacks are just the latest atrocity in a war on Christians