For Bruce and me it was a fulfilling of the desire of our hearts. This dream of bringing together church planters and others from Eastern European countries, especially in the Balkan region, to understand, encourage, inspire and work together to push forward the Gospel and the principle of teaching others to teach others. Read on . . .
Please pray for us
• the drive home
• summer in Buckingham & the Buckingham Church
Thank you so much for your faithful prayers
The theme of the Church Plant Learning Community was "Building Churches That Last". There was a serious mind to deepen the reality of what church is. Understanding the basics of the gospel was set out very ably by Amiel Drimbe from the Bucharest Seminary. Jim Odens also gave us great inspiration at each morning devotional. The character of the church planter was emphasised. It was noted that rather than personality and abilities, godliness was the key for the church planter.
Last year and this, Niki often ended a session or the day by asking "what were the three big learnings for you?" Often it was difficult to name only three. For me, overall, there were many. I will share only a little of what God spoke to me about:
I need to be willing and available - not just in theory but really. I can know God wants to use me and understand my place as a witness, but am I really available? Fear often is the culprit, I admit, to being available to what seems to be a 'next step' in my life. My own weaknesses and limitations make excuses for me to pull back. I am beginning to learn more at a very late date of the reality of giving myself, whatever my fears and lacks. You know, to saying "OK, Lord, I'm swallowing hard, but please do as you will in ---------- situation that you know I fear." The important part is thanking Him that I can trust him. He has always been faithful, so why is this so hard?
Another big learning was that the power of the gospel was made fresh again - the cross and the ressurection. This is what holds us all together. As many groups and different denominations, we can do much together based on the cross and the resurrection of the Lord.
We can do so much more working as teams and then teams of teams.
What a truly wonderful time, this gathering of nearly 60 folk from this area of the world. In addition to the few days drive to engage with people in Albania, we have shared and benefitted in Sofia with friends from Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Netherlands, the USA as well as Bulgaria
There were three workshops offered as tools for church planting: One on emotional intelligence to aid clear communication (hearing and speaking) and another on team building using the DiSC assessment.
Bruce's workshops were about building strategy in ministry. He was encouraged by the response, especially as strategic planning is often missing the Balkans.
We are constantly looking at strategy and communication and working effectively as a team in our own life, and would value your prayer that we would be the couple God wants us to be. We encourage your prayer for our travel safety as we drive to various ministries on our way home. And once we arrive home, we will have the summer to be part of Buckingham Evangelical Church.