We must continue to start new churches all over the country, with bands of believers reaching out to local communities. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us; mission has to be lived out on the ground and must be ‘owned’ by individuals. I was struck recently by what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1 v 5 “We lived among you for your sake”.
We also need our apostolic ministry and our mission to have an international aspect to it.I am sure many of us will have known significant leaders who have left large established churches to go with their families to work in a church plant with a relatively small number of believers, both within the UK and to other countries. This needs to happen again and again.
To build mission-focused communities we must make space for the gift of the evangelist to shape our church life. Lex Loizides has helped me so much on this. On a recent visit he made to King’s, we had planned a gospel healing meeting: I suggested 45 minutes worship and then about 30 minutes preach and response. Lex laughed at me and said graciously, “Let’s do it this way - 20 minutes worship, testimony, words of knowledge, pray for the sick, preach the gospel, make an appeal, pray for the sick again.” With all my desire to see gospel breakthrough, I had planned a meeting for believers!!!
The Frontedge weekend is an excellent example of intentional equipping of churches to be more mission focused and effective. We ran another such event in May 2009, with evangelists placed in 35 local churches, preaching the gospel and praying for the sick. Over 7,000 people attended the Sunday guest services, including at least 470 guests. 138 people responded to the gospel appeals – not including known re-commitments. Such events see the lost saved, the sick healed, the church encouraged and the tone set for the future!