To the New Hope Free Methodist Church Prayer Partners:
Greetings again from Rochester, in the name of Jesus!
The new year brings for Jen and I some exciting events, as well as much anticipation as to what God will do. Jen and I hope and pray that in 1990 we will see God work in undeniable ways to transform lives by the power of his Good News. We want to bear fruit this year!!!
People responded very well to the challenge of hand addressing the 60,000+ envelopes which will contain the invitations to the new church. So well, that we had about 10,000 extra accounted for!!
On some cold Nov. and Dec. days, the leadership team took to the streets and conducted a "community needs survey." From our data, we have found that there is a very large percentage of unchurched people in the target area who lack a sense of belonging, a feeling of community, and a "connectedness" to a support group of caring people. Wow! This is invaluable information as we plan, pray, and prepare for the first few months of public services. What an inroad for a new church which is out to meet the needs of the people.
I have a renewed perspective on my job--thanks to God answering your/our prayers. To make a long story short, God convicted me about a bad attitude toward my work, and now I am much more able to see those 40 hours a week as another means of ministry; therefore it is much less burdensome. Jennifer has been able to build some relationships through her work, and so finds her job to be more meaningful also.
Now for some of the most encouraging news of all thus far in this church planting effort. Pastor Delia long ago spied out what she considered to be the ideal (location, size, community visibility) meeting place in the target area for a new church, but after investigation with the owners, found it to be financially 4X the amount which she had budgeted for operating expenses. But God was working on the hearts of the owners, because later they got back in touch with Pastor Delia, and told her they would like to talk again. The end result: we will be meeting in the building (an auditorium/dance hall) on Sundays and one weekday evening; we have an office as well as storage space; we can hang a permanent sign out front; and the price for all of this is, yes, you guessed it, 4X less than what the owners were originally asking!
1. Continued spiritual and physical safety of the leadership team. Jen and I are becoming more aware that there is indeed an unseen battle waging. The Enemy is strong, but Jesus is Strongest!
2. Pray that Jen and I will be able to start and maintain a relevant Bible study (with pre-Christians) in our home before the first public service. We need courage and faith for this!
3. The reason we want God to provide good weather on March 18 is so that people won't be tempted to stay inside because of a storm or such. However, we don't want too good weather, because then everybody will go to the park!! Keep praying.
4. The Historic German House, 315 Gregory St., (our future meeting place) is currently the home of a New Age bookstore, an eastern mystic group, and a Spiritualist Church. Yes, you read it right. Pray that even now God's Spirit would begin to move within the building itself, cleansing it, and also in the hearts of the people involved in the afore mentioned groups. May God remove them, but may He do it through conversion and changed lives.
Pray for the conversion and blessing of God upon the owners, Ron and Norma Maier, who have expressed great interest in coming to the first service.
5. Pray that the logistics of addressing, returning, stuffing, mailing, and receiving of the envelopes may proceed without interference.
6. Pray that many unchurched people in the target area will respond to the Spirit's call in their lives, and that through the invitations and our own individual networking we may contact, include, and involve them in the new church; ultimately resulting in new life in Jesus.
7. Continued prayer that Jen and I will discover, develop, and use our spiritual gifts to bear fruit.
8. Pray for the stability and strength of our marriage. Jen is taking two Masters classes this semester. Pray that she will manage to be a student, apprentice church planter, and wife without wearing herself out.