Michelle and I send out a regular newsletter to our friends and supporters.
Here's the one I wrote for December.
The standard rule of writing a good newsletter is, “What couldn’t you wait to get home and tell someone about?” That’s what you should write about.
Michelle didn’t wait to get home. She sent a text message and then she rang. Jennifer had decided to give her life to Jesus. We met her just a two months ago through our English Conversation Club in Box Hill. She recently arrived from mainland China. She’s still learning English and Michelle has begun learning Chinese.
Communication was a challenge until they discovered they both knew some Japanese! The excitement didn’t end there. This week Jenni led her husband to Christ. On the same day Jenni led her sister-in-law to Christ. They'll all be baptised next Monday in a backyard pool. The Box Hill outreach has been a highlight of 2010 for us. We’re learning to do what our workers in far away places do every day.
We connect with people. Our connection point is through English conversation classes. As we connect we’re looking for people who want to know more about Jesus. Our job is not to convert but to invite and see who responds.??We’re especially looking for “persons of peace” (Luke 10). Those, like Jenni, who welcome the messenger and the message and are the bridge for the gospel to touch their network of family and friends.
We share the gospel. The longer we wait, the harder it is. Early on we give people an opportunity to find out more about Jesus. Right now I’m meeting every week with a young man from Vietnam who taught himself to speak perfect BBC English listening to the radio back home. He has grown up in a Communist country and is an atheist. But he wants to learn more about Jesus. This would never have happened without an invitation, the first time I met him.
We make disciples. Jesus commanded us to make disciples by teaching them to obey what he has commanded (Matthew 28:20). As people come to faith we meet with them one-on-one and in small groups to study the scriptures and learn to obey Jesus in every area of life.??Knowledge alone is not enough, we gather people into face to face groups around God’s word to learn and obey one step at a time.
We form churches. As people learn to follow Jesus we help them reach out into their relational world and form simple churches with other believers. We don’t take them out of their world to form church. We bring church to them and make them responsible to reach others and grow together. Finally, we are trusting God to multiply the ministry. When we consistently see four generations of new believers and new churches we’re in the midst of a “church planting movement.”
That’s why Jenni, not Michelle, led her husband and her sister-in-law to Christ. She is learning from the start that God can work through the newest believer. We’re still a long way from four generations of new believers and new churches. But we’re not alone.
All around Australia we are equipping others step out of the confines of the four walls of a church building and begin connecting with people who need Jesus. In Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle we’re hearing reports of students, immigrants, and Aussie battlers coming to faith.
Thanks for sharing the vision with us.
In Christ Steve and Michelle