Published Tuesday, August 10, 2004 by BJ.
Can't believe how the year is flying by and with it the time to do what should be among the first things on our list: giving our prayer partners the ammo they need! So anyways, working on the better late than never principle...
- July attendances at the cessionlcommunity's Sunday gatherings averaged 70 - maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal - but when you start with a group of 20-30 it feels pretty good! We've seen a wide range of people connect with us over recent months - our core group would now stand at 60+
- We've seen people make some important deeper connections with the community - over 60% of people are now involved in ministry - just on 60% are in small groups and a number of people have regularised their giving - in July our giving went up by 40%!
- A number of new leaders are stepping up as we gain the numerical momentum to expand the ministries we can offer
- We've been encouraged by our own forays into personal evangelism, particularly with family. My brother and his wife came to cession recently and seemed impressed - a small door opening? My mother's recent surgery has provided much time for discussion about the deeper things of life - and some fairly direct challenges to her about some next steps. My sister and her husband have also attended church and responded positively to our invitation to attend our upcoming series: "love, actually".
- Kristen's leadership of the Kids For Christ ministry within our parent church, East City Wesleyan, has been amazing! This month we've seen 2 new boys come and bring with them their families! One little boy's mother commented, "He seems very happy here. We have tried several different churches and he won't go to Children's church anywhere else!" She was quite appreciative of the fact that we had a programme that fit his needs.
- We have survived finanically so far (!) - Kristen has been working 2 days per week as a nanny and now has her teaching certificate which should open some doors. Brett has continued with contract work when it has been available. We have seen much generousity - mysterious cheques in the mail, a new printer that someone bought for us + God's provision through unexpected tax returns. And then there is the faithfulness of our financial partners in the US.
- We'd love for you to undergird our faithful team in prayer as they seek to encourage the cessioncommunity to reach beyond themselves. New Zealand is a tough nut to crack as a very secular nation...however the gospel does actually have the power to save and I suspect much of the first century world was unfamiliar with the message of Jesus!
- Our next series: "love, actually" starts this weekend - we are promoting this an invite opportunity as we deal with issues around love, marriage, conflict and communication. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would empower the community to make the invite and draw people to this opportunity
- There are a number of people who have been coming for a while who have yet to make a commitment to Christ - would you pray particularly for those people?
- We have a leaders retreat this weekend for our core leaders and a bunch of new talent. Please pray that this would be a rich time at all levels: Vision, Prayer, Planning, Learning, Friendship...
- KFC is having a number of outreach events over the next 3 months - please pray for these - "The F.R.O.G. Party" (Fully Rely On God) in September; "The Light Party" in October (a Halloween alternative) and our Christmas programme will be publicised as a chance for the neighbourhood children to experience drama, singing, dance etc...and then invite their parents! Practices begin in October.
- Brett is currently working (as Worship pastor) with a series in our parent church "Cracking the Jesus Code" - a number of new people came to week 1 - please pray that they would return and that others would be drawn to hear more about who Jesus was and is!
- Our finances are somewhat precarious! Particularly, with the summer months coming and little contract work available for Brett. We'd value your prayers not only that God would provide for us but also that He would lead us as to what opportunities to take up and what not to...especially in 2005 - Brett dreams of being full-time in ministry and would love for you to intercede earnestly on this point!
Thanks so much for your support and faithfulness. We are so grateful for what God is doing through your contribution to our ministry here. We know that without God's intervention we cannot do what we are doing and value so much your part in seeking Him on our behalf. Bless you all.
Brett and Kristen