by Pastor Dennis Brown
When Tim Keller was here in April for the public forum, he challenged many leaders from many denominations to tithe their time to contributing to the renewal of the city--particularly by working together to plant new, vital, gospel-centered churches and equipping ordinary lay people as they integrate faith and work. He said we should take a page from the prophet Elijah who put the wood out, and prayed for the fire to fall (1 Kings 18:16-39). That is a good definition of revival.
I believe that is what you do in a church, and as you partner with people from different denominations. You put the wood out, i.e., you preach, pray, and plan to reach and disciple people in the gospel. You also pray for the fire to fall. During these ten years, I have prayed for gospel partnerships so we could be involved in the extension of the kingdom and not simply the work of our own church. Happily, there are several that we have and we want to highlight them:
Redeemer City to City. This month, the annual Redeemer City to City Intensive is taking place. The Intensive, as you would expect from the name, is an intense, two-week, church-planter training program where men from different parts of Southeast Asia come for equipping. My previous assistant, Jason Truell, said it was as valuable as a seminary education. There is a parallel track called Parakaleo which is designed to equip church-planter wives. And then there is the gospel-centered preaching seminar led by Stephen Um from Citylife Church in Boston. Finally, there is the Faith and Work Seminar put on by City to City’s David Kim to equip ordinary lay people in the workplace. It has been a wonderful privilege to partner with City to City’s Jay Kyle and many of his people. Around 100 people will be involved in this event from May 7th to the 17th at Star Bethlehem Church. Please pray that God may be glorified. Please also pray for Gordon Huang, who has been used to bring so many wonderful resources to our city over the years, as well as for the local community of church planters who have met regularly over the years to encourage each other.
Sanchong Outreach. We just commissioned Kalan and Kayt Spencer as our official partners in this pre-church planting venture. If you are not friends with them on Facebook, get connected so that you can see the tangible week-to-week progress that is being made as they use a variety of approaches to engage their community in relevant ministry. They are also putting together a kind of temporary session from men in our church to give direction to this work. More than anything, pray for them and look for opportunities to volunteer in their outreach.
Banqiao Outreach. Toon and Pam Yeo lead this church planting venture. Toon also teaches at Reformed Seminary, and helps lead some of the church-planter community meetings. His wife, Pam, is a gifted counselor and I have many times referred people for her assistance.
China Reformed Theological Seminary. Tim Yates is the dean and along with seminary classes, they publish books and broadcast programs that enrich people’s lives. We also benefit by their hosting gifted teachers like Sinclair Ferguson and Vern and Diane Poythress, who have taught in our own church.
Michelle Ko with SIM. She is in Kenya now, refreshing her Swahili and visiting the home for children who are stricken with AIDS that she established almost single-handedly several years ago. She was recently struggling with some illness as she adjusts to some of the challenging conditions in Africa. She hopes to eventually make her way to Tanzania where she will be focusing her efforts.
Do pray for these ministries and for our mission team led by Kevin Fulton that our connection and partnership with them will grow, and that we will do our part toward the renewal of the city--and beyond!