It is hard to imagine church growth in the middle of the Covid19 pandemic and on top of this to imagine personal growth within the Turkish speaking churches is even more difficult. But this is exactly what has happened.
A new strategy.
In the middle of the two separate lockdowns that France experienced, we started to introduce a new strategy for church growth. We wanted to see one of the Turkish speaking Christian communities on the eastern side of Paris move more towards being a vibrant community.
My wife and I started to disciple this particular community with material that we adopted from the OM field in Nepal, known as the four fields discipleship method. One of the outcomes of this approach is that the groups start to give financially towards the kingdom.
When we introduced this to the group in Paris, they immediately got on board to financially support a Muslim background missionary working in Europe amongst Turks. Since then, this small group of believers, consisting of 7 families, has been giving 400 euros each month to support this missionary. They also started to take more ownership of their spiritual wellbeing.
Although we have not seen growth in terms of members, we have seen growth in terms of spiritual maturity. This does not mean that growth in terms of new believers is not happening.
Eager to be baptised I was blessed by a recent telephone call from one of the Turkish Christian groups, it was Hasan from the town of Evreux. He wanted to know when they can get baptised and eagerly told me that 7 new believers came to faith and they wanted to be baptised. This was a surprise, especially if you consider the fact that we have been restricted to move around during the national lockdown.
We will soon start with discipleship lessons on Zoom to prepare these new believers for baptism as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Barnabas Bible school In the meantime, we launched the Barnabas Bible school and with the first round of training, we could equip 46 church leaders from 10 different Turkish speaking Christian communities here in France. Just as we were getting momentum, we entered the second national lockdown and we had to move the Bible school online.
This presented a challenge; it is not easy to try and keep the attention of 40 participants for 2 hours on an internet platform.
I had no experience in the area and I had to learn how to improvise. With the council of some close friends, we could put together an interactive structure that kept the attention of the participants. We have already done two different semesters on this platform and will start with the third semester in the middle of February
In the Turkish ministry in France, we are blessed to see how God is moving even amid uncertainty and difficulty. It is in these dark, difficult days as we fight the Covid19 virus that we are very much aware of the presence of the Lord and His commitment to helping us bring in the harvest.
God is at work, let us work with Him.
Martin and Petro de Lange, Turkish ministry
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