Friday, April 6, 2012

A Church Plant with a lot of "Firsts"

Russian church planting team
Chrulock, Siberia A church plant with a lot of "firsts"

This was a church plant with a lot of firsts. It was the first time in which we had an entire region involved in the church planting possess.  It was the first time planning meetings took place months in advance.  It was the first time we used the "mother church" planting principle to start the church. And, it was the first time the national church alone strategically took the wheel to plan this church plant.

And they made sure their bases were covered.  They met with town officials and carefully chose and rented the hall in which we met.  They established who would be the new pastor of the plant and he made contacts and developed a core leadership before the crusade took place.

It was the first time the nationals alone did friendship evangelism in the city establishing love and care for people before the gospel was presented to them.  The locals knew they were concerned for their well being and they wanted to know why.  The new pastor and his leaders did friendship evangelism in the city, trimming trees, picking up trash, painting windows, and washing floors.  Even the local government took notice, and they wondered why.

Finally, it was the first time most of those in the city would hear the good news of Jesus' love and except Him as Savior. Needless to say, when the crusade was announced people cam out in record numbers.

I flew from the United States to preach the opening meeting of the crusade. My first stop was Moscow where I had brief meetings that morning with the leadership of the Russian Pentecostal church.  Then, in the evening I was off to Omsk, Siberia, and the region where we were planting the church.  The city was north of Omsk and was called Churlock.   From the airport we drove straight to the crusade.  I didn't know what to expect.  I have been involved in numerous crusades and church plants but never in which was my only responsibility to preach the message.  But, to my amazement, as I walked into the meeting my eyes feasted on the four thousand people waiting to hear the good news!

When worship began there was such electricity in the air that each of us stood in amazement and anticipation that God was going to do some thing extraordinary.   As I spoke from the pulpit, I knew it wasn't going to be my wisdom or simple words that would lead people to Christ.  It was unmistakably the Lord's service and through all of the prayer and preparation He was going to save meaning that day.  Solemnly, as I gave
the alter call and asked for those who were willing to give all to Christ over 900 people came forward to say, "yes".
It was truly a night of firsts.  We know that it was only the beginning of church planting in that region and that there will many more opportunities. And, I know, for God to see those He desires and that He created say "yes" to Him for the first time will never get old or tiring. He will continue making our efforts as exciting and as fulfilling as the first time because there is great satisfaction we when fulfill his purpose on this earth.

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