Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 33

How to Start a Church Planting Movement –Response from Bruce Bennett on “What is a Church?”

In the previous issue of the Mt. Bethel Update I published an article on “What is a Church”  Bruce Bennett has responded to that article with the teaching below.

Dear David and the Acts 12:24 Churches,
From Bruce, called by God to be a church planter
The grace, peace, & joy of Christ be with you.

I am thrilled to hear about your co ntinuing church planting activities, plans & goals. Your discussion on groups, churches, and size is healthy. I pray for your meeting on the 11th, that God will continue looking with favour on the desires of your heart and that “God’s message will keep spreading!!”

I am encouraged about the continuing discussion of what “Church” is. Herewith further thought on this discussion.

The church can be described as the visible outcrop of the Kingdom of God in a particular location where the acts and effects of New Testament community are evidenced (as seen principally in Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37; 12:24; 1Jn 1:3-7).

The Acts of Community in Acts 2:42-47 were disciples who were:
· Devoted to the Word
· Fellowshipping
· Breaking bread
· Praying
· Met regularly in their homes
· Had everything in common
· Sold possessions & gave to the needy
· Met regularly in the temple
· Praised God

The Effects of this Community were:
· Many wonders & miraculous signs
· People filled with awe
· Gladness
· Sincere hearts
· Disciples who enjoyed favour of all people
· The Lord added daily to those being saved

1 Jn 1: 3-7 teaches us that the Acts of Community are:
· To proclaim the Gospel
· Fellowship with Each other & God

And that the Effects of this Community would be:
· Expanding Community
· Joy Complete
· Cleansing from Sin
· Walking in the Light as He is in the Light.
(You can draw up the same type of lists from Acts 4:32-37, Acts 12 & elsewhere.)

When believers commit to the Acts of Community the Effects of Community will become increasingly abundant, and Church Planting will become as natural as the air we breathe. Then too, the discussion on the quantitative element, or the size of the church, will have to keep pace with the numbers that God will add daily to His churches.

(You can understand that there might be crossover between the acts & effects of community.)

I am honoured to receive your newsletters
Keep up the good race!!
Please pass my love and greetings to the churches.
In search of increased biblical community,
Bruce

Report from Bruce Bennett’s Work</span>

I recently received Bruce Bennett’s quarterly report.  His system continues to produce amazing results. You will see that he added over 500,000 new believers in the past three months and 2069 new churches. In addition the average size of his churches has grown to 119 people.

It should be noted that these are results from his Africa project.  Bruce is also working with the Free Methodist “Impact Middle East” organization and is planting churches across the Middle East including in Israel.

Into Africa Statistics

Our ministry statistics for the Into Africa project for the quarter ending 15th June 2014 were as follows:

1. Net members grew by 558,362 to 4,500,774 an increase of 14%
2. Net churches grew by 2069 to 37,931 an increase of 5,8%.
3. Average members grew by 9,8% to 118,7 members per church

We have had extraordinary growth in Burundi which is be attributed to four main reasons:
A. A nationwide crusade conducted in collaboration with pastors from EMEC in the eastern DRC
B. An upsurge in refugees due to the instability in Sudan and Western Tanzania
C. The formation of a new denomination under the leadership of Peter Barakamphtiye
D. Insecurity in the nation due to pending elections

In terms of Church Membership, Burundi now replaces DRC as our leader. The top three nations are:
1. Burundi 835,000
2. DRC 814,000
3. CAR 789,000

Two years back, in the CAR there was a major upsurge in evangelical activity just prior to the civil war. It appeared that political instability made villagers more open to the Gospel. In some quarters there is a comparison being made with Burundi. There appears to be a pervasive uncertainty around the pending Burundi election, we must pray this does not spill over to civil unrest.

Reports From the Field-Bronx, El Remenente

Pastor Joel Guzman attended Strategy Coordinator Training last Fall. Pastor Joel decided to take his entire Sunday School class of 40 adults through the training. From that group he has sixteen core people who are called to the ministry of multiplication.  He has been training these people and meeting weekly with them. Of the sixteen people, eight became Conference Ministerial Candidates this year at Reframe Conference, and the other eight are Local Ministerial Candidates.

From this group of sixteen, seventy-eight people have been discipled, three new believers were baptized, and one of those three has led others to Christ. Pastor Joel’s group has set the following goals for their work:

1. To send more workers into the harvest.
2. To teach parents how to disciple children. Healthy families means a healthy church.
3. To be involved in mission outside their own church. At this time they have two groups that meet in the Dominican Republic. There is also a weekly discipleship group that meets by internet with one of the new Conference Ministerial Candidates from the church in the Bronx. One of the church groups in the Dominican Republic is getting ready to begin Sunday services.

Pastor Joel’s ministerial candidates have started church groups in different communities and two of these groups are ready to start Sunday services, led by the ministerial candidate that formed the group.

Be With Him…

And the things you have heard me say int the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  2 Timothy 2:2

“Tools and plans dependent upon outsiders to teach or facilitate the movement will not multiply.  The church planter must remember everything needed for the harvest is in the harvest. This includes the teachers promised to the church in Ephesians 4.
-Nathan and Kari Shank in “Four Fields of Kingdom Growth”

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