The Mathetes Trust offers various programmes to churches in the UK, and among these is an offer to take a team for a week of mission. We have just completed two of these, one in Purley near Reading and one in Breaston near Derby. The missions were both fruitful and immensely encouraging.
A highlight of both missions was the door-to-door visiting, with more people stopping to talk and inviting us in than I have ever known, and a surprising number making solid commitments of faith within minutes – we had the feeling almost that people were ready and waiting for us! All team members found a steady stream of people wanting to know more and to pray with them – one man found himself so unexpectedly interested that he abandoned his half-mixed quick drying cement to its own devices in order to hear more…
Each member of the local team held a meeting in their own home to which they invited friends and neighbours. We saw fruit from these meetings too; in particular team member Ian led four to the Lord at one meeting, where the host had been praying for her friends for a whole year.
Thirdly, in each place we had a mission to children which also bore fruit, with 40 children at an after school club, a Messy Church session on the theme of ‘power’ with most people responding to the invitation to receive the power of Jesus into their lives, a family Fun Fest and a Youth Chill-Out evening.
Finally we held open meetings every day. New for me were a Ceilidh where I was cast as the storyteller; we alternated short talks with dancing, and set up prayer stations for people to come to – the team were kept busy praying throughout the evening. Other events included a Gospel quiz with quiz rounds alternating with gospel presentations; a men’s evening where 23 men crowded into a local bistro to talk about God and Science; a ladies’ pub night; a Sunday service on stress (lots of people in tears!); a men’s breakfast where businessman Gary spoke on ‘how to make your first million’; and a choir evening with excerpts from Handel’s Messiah alternating with gospel explanations from me. All of these events ended with people praying prayers of commitment or wanting to know more.
In both places we found people coming to faith, Christians touched in new ways, people wanting to know more. Having a trained home team meant that all those who expressed interest or prayed prayers were immediately followed up, with more help to come over the next few weeks. The teams were large, the events were many; I have no accurate idea of the response in terms of numbers – but one measure is that we gave out about 500 copies of the Decision booklet to people who asked for one. The churches now have their work cut out!
Our experience in both places makes me feel that the tide may have changed in this country – many are ignorant of the gospel but open to it, and I suspect that door-to-door visiting (in which it was good to be working closely with Richard Scott from TFM) should become a key strategy for the future. The home meetings also bore fruit, but were not as successful as I have known before, which suggests that Christians may be less well connected than they used to be. In terms of response by age, we found that young adults were particularly open, perhaps because our culture has now become so secular that it’s all new to them. This is very encouraging as we look to the future – the opportunity to make a real difference is there, if we are willing to step outside our comfort zones!
I met Matthew in the street. He was very friendly, listened to the gospel carefully, and committed his life to Jesus there and then, reading a prayer of commitment aloud in front of his colleagues. The next day Chris and I went to visit Matthew, and met his wife – who also prayed a prayer of commitment.
Everyone on both the visiting and the home teams (many of whom had been apprehensive, particularly about the door to door visiting) ended the mission greatly encouraged, and strengthened in their own faith. So we plan to press on. We have already accepted invitations to run missions in June and October next year – but think we should aim to do many more. If you would like to talk to us about a possible mission in your own church, do take a look at our missions page and get in touch!
Finally, we are grateful to those who came on the teams, to those who offered them hospitality, and to those who prayed each day – as well as to all those in Purley and Breaston who put so much time and effort into the missions, especially church leaders David Archer and Chris Smedley who had the faith to invite us in the first place; and of course to those of you who provide the support and encouragement to make this ministry possible.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”
We are immensely grateful to those of you who support our work through prayer, to those of you who roll up your sleeves and climb into your cars to help us share the gospel with others, and to those of you who give of your personal resources to help us fulfil our vision of making disciples in the local church. All these things have made a big difference in recent months.
Missions in the UK
This month we are helping with two parish missions in Purley on Thames and Breaston in Derbyshire – please continue to pray for Roger and the team as they strive to share the gospel with all they meet, and let us know if you would like to receive prayer updates.
Missions in Africa
A Rooted in Jesus team returned recently from the Dioceses of Fianarantsoa and Toliara in Madagascar, where they led conferences for Sunday School teachers training to use Rooted in Jesus Junior. The team was led by Canon Jacob Robert of the Diocese of Mara, Tanzania, and we have posted a report on the Rooted in Jesus blog, which you can read here. The report includes an interview with Revd Jean Flobert, Vicar General of the Diocese of Fianarantsoa, and a remarkable performance by the Fort Dauphin children’s choir in Toliara. It was humbling to be working with such dynamic and committed people in one of the poorest countries of the world, and to have the privilege of offering them the first training and the first resource material to help them in their work of discipling children.
Pray with us
Every three months we issue a prayer diary, covering these and many other things. The next one runs from October to December, and includes prayer requests for churches using our discipleship materials, for those planning missions, for those whose leaders meet in our EQUIP groups, and for dioceses planning Rooted in Jesus conferences. In October and November we will be sending teams to the dioceses of Mityana, Soroti and Karamoja in Uganda, and we covet your prayers! The new prayer diary can be downloaded HERE.
We are writing to let you know about some exciting events and a new publication – and to invite your prayers!
Very soon the Mathetes Trust will embark on two full scale parish missions, the first since the foundation of the Trust. Roger will be spending a week in Purley, near Reading, with a team of 9 people, and a week in Breaston, near Derby, with a team of 12. The vicar in Purley is David Archer, and the vicar in Breaston is Chris Smedley. Both are excellent guys in their 40s with a heart for mission. In Breaston the Methodist church will also be closely involved. At both missions Roger will be supported by Richard Scott, the Director of Through Faith Missions and one of our Associates.
So, to cut to the chase: we are looking for people who will provide prayer backup during the period September 22nd until October 17th. If would like to pray, we will send bulletins each Tuesday and Friday with details of the events we would like you to cover, as well as feedback on what has happened so far.
Roger has been involved in many parish missions, some of them very fruitful. This time, we have decided on an innovation: we will be working not just with a visiting team, but also in each church with a home team. During the summer we have been working closely with the home teams, providing encouragement and training in evangelism and going out onto the streets together. For every visitor, there will be two or three home team members. By doing it this way, we hope to leave behind a home team that is equipped both to follow up those who want to take things further, and to lead their churches into growth over the coming years.
“We all get one life to live and deep down we’re all asking the same question – what’s it all about?”
During the mission week, there will be three kinds of activity.
Men’s curry night…
Youth theatre workshop
Special healing service…
Ladies down the pub…
Singing for fun…
Every day we will use any spare time to do cold calling, using the well tested TFM questionnaire and relying on Richard’s expert leadership. We are finding that most people receive us warmly, and that we often get opportunities to share the gospel or to pray for the needs of the people we meet.
Secondly, each member of the home team will be hosting a meeting in their own home, to which they will invite friends, family and neighbours. We will share our testimonies with the guests, listen to them, try to answer their questions and then before we go home share the gospel with them. Roger has found from experience that it is in these meetings that the best work of the mission is often done.
Finally, we will have a lot of bigger meetings – on church premises, in restaurants, in village halls, usually with refreshments, always around a specific topic, and often aimed at a specific age group. For example Roger is preparing a talk on ‘Has Science made God unnecessary?’ to be given to men at a restaurant in Purley following a curry meal, and we are currently deciding who is to speak at a Youth chill-out evening on the Friday. For a complete list of events at Purley check out their mission website.
A new resource for evangelism
We are pleased to announce that we have just published Decision, a booklet written by Roger and designed for anyone who wishes to find out how to become a Christian, or who is just starting out on the adventure of faith. This is a brand new edition, and we will give a copy to everyone who makes a decision for Christ in Purley or in Breaston. We have given away thousands of these in the last 10 years, and many churches have used them to give to people after Alpha, or in the context of parish missions and outreach events. If you would like to get hold of a copy or order a pack, it’s on our publications page.
If you would like to find out more about evangelism training or mission teams please do get in touch – details of how you can do this are on our contact page. And if you are happy to pray for us, let us know and we will send you all the details. We know from experience what a difference prayer will make!
The Makonde people of Tanzania are famous for their woodcarvings, and like the great teachers of the church many centuries ago they believe that everything we achieve is built on a foundation of what others have achieved before us. And so many of their carvings represent groups of people supporting one another in the journey of life, clambering gradually upwards, together reaching heights which no individual could attain on his or her own. These trees of life are often created out of a single tree trunk, and can reach many metres high. They offer a powerful reminder of the way we depend on one another in every aspect of our lives – and not least in our journey of faith.
Rooted in Jesus was originally developed for use in Tanzania, 15 years ago now. Since 2013 it has been independently run in the Province, and each year the Diocesan Coordinators gather together to review their work and plan for the year ahead. This year the Conference was held in Arusha. Every diocese is different, and each person had their own story to tell – stories of children being discipled in Sunday Schools, of people coming to faith, of new churches being planted and coming to maturity; and of course stories too of great challenge and difficulty. But perhaps the most striking thing was the sense of unity and shared purpose, even where distances are great and resources are few. It was only one day – but it was a good one.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17.20-23
To find out more visit the Rooted in Jesus blog here. If you would like to help us support the ministry of Rooted in Jesus in Tanzania please visit our support page.
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A Rooted in Jesus team has recently returned from the Diocese of Butere, in Kenya, where they led two discipleship conferences at the invitation of Bishop Timothy Wumbunya. The team was led by Revd Richard Morgan (from Philadelphia, US), Revd Capt Joshua Opondo (from the Diocese of Maseno South, Kenya) and Revd John Eldridge (from Wickham Market, UK). The conferences were hosted by Revd Capt Benjamin Kibara, the Diocesan Executive Secretary for Mission, and attended by a huge turnout of 300 invited delegates – in fact the biggest conference in the history of Rooted in Jesus!
Bishop Tim says: “They seem to have embraced or understood this Rooted in Jesus training, and they seem more determined to go forward and share it with other people, which we haven’t seen before in any of the other courses that we have done – and we have done many other courses! This Rooted in Jesus seems to be the one that has finally helped us turn that corner.”
The team have put together a wonderful video report which you can view by clicking on the image below. To find out more do visit the Rooted in Jesus blog!
We are very grateful to the team who went, to the diocese for their careful planning and generous hospitality, to the church of Good Samaritan Philadelphia who helped with the funding, and to all those who prayed for the conferences.
Posted 21st July 2017
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The core purpose of the Mathetes Trust is to help make disciples of Jesus in the local church. That means that we long to see churches whose members are learning to:
Love God and love one another
Live as Jesus lived
Pray as Jesus prayed
Minister to others in the power of the Spirit
Proclaim the gospel in word and deed
We know that prayer is a fundamental part of the Christian life, and we sometimes invite you to pray with us for particular things. So we are issuing our first prayer diary. It’s modelled on the longstanding Rooted in Jesus prayer diary, which it will now replace; it covers the next three months, starting with the Rooted in Jesus team currently working in Kenya.
An exciting update
A few weeks ago we invited you to pray with us for the Diocese of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan, where Bishop Emmanuel Murye and his colleagues are ministering to all those who have fled their homes for refugee camps in Uganda. As a result of your generosity we were able to send a financial contribution and replacement RinJ books to Uganda, and we are overjoyed to learn that Coordinator Nelson Saya has been able to train 35 Rooted in Jesus group leaders in the camps. Nelson writes:
To the glory of God we visited twelve churches in Morobi refugee camp in four places, we finish the program well and the people were able to testify that these program will bring revival because it has awakened them in their faith since they flee to the camp and it has comforted them. It gives them assurance that God is with them and also enables them to know that God cares for them more than any other creature on this earth.
We continue to pray for them, as for the many other churches with which we are in touch. You will find many of them in the prayer diary – including the two UK parish missions which we are helping with in the autumn.
Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Eph 6.18.
An important part of the work of the Mathetes Trust is the groups that form part of our EQUIP programme. The idea is to bring together a number of church leaders who are all working in the same geographical area, three times a year, for a one day seminar led by one of our EQUIP group leaders. Each EQUIP meeting follows a specific theme or topic, explored through a specially written booklet. The leader also acts as a mentor to each of the group members; this means getting involved in the ministry of each church in whatever way is considered most helpful.
This is to let you know that John Benson, one of our associates, has just opened a new EQUIP group in North Wales involving many churches that are struggling to grow in challenging circumstances. The group members are leading churches at various places along the A55 from Anglesey to Chester and south from Chester on the A483. The first session took the title “Focus on the Lord” – a call to refocus on the Lord amid challenges that can seem overwhelming. The Lord’s presence, the Lord’s plan and the Lord’s power are the key to a ministry that grows in fruitfulness. Please do pray that this new group will bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God and result in many more people becoming disciples of Jesus Christ in North Wales.
John himself spent many years working in Singapore as Vicar of St George’s. During John’s time St George’s grew and grew, so John has much experience of what God can do – albeit in a rather different environment to North Wales. John was also one of the first mission pioneers to take the gospel into Cambodia. John and Anita are now retired and living in Chester.
If you would like to find out more about our EQUIP program or about John please do visit our EQUIP page.