Extracts from recent prayer letters and newsletters of people and projects supported by the trust.
We are planning to allow one third of the church family to attend a service in our building from 27 September each week, on a rotating basis. But we do not have the space to offer socially distanced children’s clubs or youth work. Please pray for wisdom and creativity for looking after whole families, and continuing to teach and pastor the young people.
Please also pray that, in one sense at least, things will not return to ‘normal’. Pray that many will have been spiritually sobered and humbled over the last six months, and want to know our Lord.Jesus.
Ministry in central London
Davie Seckington, assistant minister at Trinity, gives an update on this recent church plant in the centre of London.
...we're into our third sermon series of our online services. We had an Easter series in Luke, a series in Hebrews 11, and now we're looking at the life of Jesus in Matthew. [I have] preached on all three topics (click on the pictures below if you want to check them out), but thankfully we look to be reopening on the 13th September after a dummy run on the 6th. This is hugely exciting and we'd appreciate your prayer for this - Phil's quite involved with the planning...
In the meantime, we've run two evening courses over Zoom (God's Big Picture and Dealing with Difficult Problems) which have been popular and have even had new people join our online services who are looking to join us after lockdown - praise God!
Walk-up evangelism: London and Kenya
I have also been involved in walk-up evangelism – street evangelism where we meet strangers, chat with them about Jesus, and give out gospel tracts. I found this particularly helpful in helping me see how the need for the gospel is great in the UK. Moreover, I also realized that all people, whether in Kenya or the UK, need the gospel to be saved. It's an equalizer for all.
Praise the Lord for the many conversations we had and for those who took the gospel tracts. Pray that they would read them and, as they read, that they may encounter Jesus. Pray that the Lord will grow His kingdom through this ministry, and also that He will raise more labourers to boldly and humbly get involved in walk-up evangelism. (the lockdown and 'social distancing' has hugely affected our involvement)
Children and youth at a church plant
What do people most want for their children?
For them to ‘be happy’? To ‘discover who they are’? To ‘make a difference in the world’? To ‘be successful’?
That’s a question we considered at our most recent teaching session for the church plant on ‘children & youth.’ There’s lots of answers we might think of, but what does God most want for the next generation?
According to Psalm 78, he wants them to know who he is and what he’s done – “we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (v4). For us, further along in God’s amazing plan of redemption, the content of what we can ‘tell’ them is even greater – the gospel in all its richness and fullness! Why should we do this? So that “they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” (v7). This Psalm tells us God wants children and young people to know him, trust him, remember what he’s done, and obey him. And that’s no less true for adults!
Please join us again in praying for Redeemer Church Folkestone – that when we start, God willing, we would be a church that is constantly ‘telling’ both children and adults “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
Ministry under lockdown in Paris
Tomorrow, I am speaking via Zoom at the women's breakfast at my old church in Lagny. I am speaking on praying as a church from 1 Co 12.12-27 - how the body image applies to our communal prayer life. I often feel like a fraud when I speak on prayer (aware of the poverty of my own prayer life), but this month that is especially so. But I do thank God for the wonderful reminders He has given me as I prepared.
Whilst all this has been going on, I am nonetheless thankful to God for many opportunities He has given me for "meeting up" more regularly with certain women, and in particular making good progress in one-to-one and Bible study training with two of them. It has been a delight to see them growing in their understanding of God's word. There are two further women who wish to do this in the weeks to come.
Mandarin ministry in the UK
Ministry has been challenging. We had a key family decide to move to Australia... plus other diﬃculties that I shouldn’t share [here]. Its been a tough couple of months with key people leaving and key people going through very diﬃcult times.
I have found that after around 18 months of preaching around 40 sermons in Mandarin, it is still really hard for me to preach in a second language. I have never been naturally gifted at languages, but God has continued to put me in diﬃcult language situations. I preached a few times in English and was reminded how easy it is to prepare sermons in my native language! There are not many people in the world that are literate in Mandarin and the biblical languages, so I can’t give up, but I need to work out how to better prepare sermons and how to serve with the gifts God has given me.
Youth ministry in East London
Without your support I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing, and enjoy the privilege of primarily spending my time, effort and energy this year focusing on serving God through ministry training, so thank you so much for your ongoing prayers and support.
It's incredible how God has answered prayers in this area over the past year. My main area of responsibility is with leading the youth group at church, which involves a weekly Friday evening youth group, and a youth focused meeting just after the morning service at church on Sundays. God has really answered prayers regarding a place to meet for the Youth group as we use a convenient venue not too far away in Forest Gate. Praise God for a good relationship with London City Mission that we partner with as they own the site, and please do pray for continued positive relationships, and God's continued provision and guidance as we look into a place to meet for the longer term. Praise God that we now do have between 6-12 young people (aged 11-16) coming regularly each Friday, and for a core group of six young people who also come to church each week and love staying for 'Youth Extra' following the service.
- Lolu, Crossway Stratford
Challenged at College
...the term has challenged my thinking on a whole host of issues. These include the importance of transcending ethnic, class and cultural divisions in the local church (see Eph 2:11-22) and the importance of 'one-anothering ministry' (i.e. every church member taking responsibility to fulfil the commands to love, bear with, speak the truth to, rejoice and mourn with one another, etc.).
We have done some super-helpful case studies... on difficult pastoral and church discipline situations, thinking how an eldership might respond wisely and faithfully. I have also felt rather more aware of my own sinfulness than usual, in large part due to a self-counselling project on judgemental attitudes. So the term has been humbling and stretching! But it has also left me very thankful for Jesus' amazing patience, gentleness and graciousness with me.
16 of us went away to a cottage to study the book of Philippians and nurture our friendship. One of our mission partners in France stayed with us and shared about her gospel work in training women in the local churches around Paris area. It was a time for our growth in understanding the Bible, mission work and building relationships.
Gospel work with families in north London
"My understanding is that the Gospel Partners Trust is orientated primarily towards training and new gospel initiatives. I wanted therefore to thank you, and to celebrate the fact that, by God’s grace, your grant to us has enabled exactly that! A church in a turnaround setting, that wasn’t entirely sold on the priority of word ministry or of multiplying gospel workers has been able to recruit and equip a worker, is now receiving that ministry, seeing its fruit, and increasingly buying into the word ministry convictions it teaches and models. Families are hearing the gospel week-by-week, leaders and parents are being equipped."
Reach Out - Building the Church in Lancaster
"As we seek to reach out with the gospel, we continue to host our monthly ‘Lego Builders’ Club. It has been an encouragement to see many families regularly attending and to see the church family building relationships with them. In particular, one family has joined us for the smaller ‘Builders’ Tea’ events, and some from the church have got to know them well. Please join us in prayer that they and others would come to know Jesus as they meet him in Mark’s gospel.
Thank the Lord that we ﬁnally have permission to publish our lego Mark videos online. Please pray that we will use this opportunity wisely as we seek to develop a resource for others to access"
Dialogue Event – Pizza making
"I have been so impressed by the evangelistic culture [at church] recently. Over the last two years, there has been a real drive to host dialogue events where the Bible is shared. It has given a wider range of guys, the opportunity to proclaim God’s Word to those who do not yet believe. A few weeks ago our midweek Bible study group hosted a pizza-making evening for our Dialogue event. Coming back from an intense week at Felsted School and a week away from Lynn and Nina was always going to be tough, but I think the most challenging part was having to give a gospel talk in front of my mum, dad, brother, sister and sister-in-law.
I gave a talk answering the question “Who is Jesus?” I spoke from Mark 14:62 where Jesus is asked “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” and Jesus responds “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
There were lots of fruitful discussions afterwards about what that would mean if Jesus really was the eternal ruler of the universe…I was most impressed by our group’s enthusiasm, and the way that they answered questions from Mark’s gospel. It was a great example of how much confidence they had in God’s Word."
Light in West London
"Praise God for good attendance at Animate - our Friday evening youth club. Praise God that the young people at St Michael's want to bring their friends along to the different theme nights! Pray that the gospel will go deep into the lives of these young people as they finish our series in Daniel over the next two weeks. "
Iranians in East London - and Tehran
"[Mr S] He is an Iranian man who has recently come to faith, and whose son (& wife) in Tehran, join us by phone every Sunday to take part in our Farsi Bible Study. The son wanted to do this because he has heard about his dad’s faith and wants to know more - and may himself be now professing from recent comments."