Photo by Shan Durrant

Photo by Shan Durrant

Last week’s storm tide in King’s Lynn didn’t breach the floodgates thankfully, but it did remind me of two of the prophecies over The Gateway Church.

Paul Thompson: River Ouse regularly breaks its banks but it is contained in King’s Lynn. God wants to break the banks and flood the presence of God that will combat a lack of expectation in a deprived town. Prepare the ground and sharpen the plough: it needs to go deep and long to break ground from previously spiritually impoverished centuries.

Keith Hazell: I saw by the Holy Spirit that there is like water, there is like a wave that’s gathering. I see a gathering wave. It’s like the wind has got under it and it is gathering. And the Lord says that from where you to stand on the beach it looks not much more than like a ripple. But from where he stands, it is a wave that is beginning to flow. It is a wave that is going to being to flow onto this church into this church and God says that the cry of the heart of the people of this church has gone up to Heaven and has been heard. The Lord says that there is coming a time of the Holy Spirit in this church which requires you to prepare, which requires you to get ready. The scriptures say that Jesus said to the disciples “I want you to go up into the upper room and prepare a meal because I am going to eat with you” and God says there is a time of preparation for the church. God says don’t just look at the wave. Get ready for the wave. Don’t just say a wave is coming. Prepare for the wave. The Lord says that there will be an ingathering in this place that will cause you to be so busy that if you haven’t prepared you will be swamped and overwhelmed. The Lord says: Don’t try and make the wave happen. Don’t try to drag the wave along. Just get in the wave as it comes. Allow the Holy Spirit to do this. There is going to be an outflow of evangelism into this community, says the Lord. I am going to stir up the gift of God that is in some of you. There is some of you that have never done anything for God and never heard anything from God and sometimes don’t know whether God knows about you. I declare to you tonight that God is going to release you into active work in the kingdom of God. The work of the kingdom here is going to increase, says the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on you.

God has promised to break in. Our part is to prepare the ground and sharpen the plough and to be prepared so we are not overwhelmed!

We’ve had a great year of God breaking the banks – 11 people have become Christians and our Sunday congregation has grown to 75.

We are preparing the ground and sharpening the plough…

  1. By getting ready to move to a bigger venue.
  2. By increasing the number of small groups we have to 4 – Our small groups are the place to connect, grow and reach out. Will you step up to lead a new one in 2014?
  3. By strategising to keep growing
  4. Over to you. How are you sharpening your plough?

RM-Worship-Conf-650x150-v1


On Saturday the 8th February 2014 our family of churches, Relational Mission, are holding our inaugural worship conference ‘In Spirit and Truth’, hosted by the Community Church Bishops Stortford, in the UK.

It will be a day with extended times of worship, great teaching from Mike Betts, twelve fantastic seminars from leaders across the Relational Mission family of churches. The full programme & seminar list can be downloaded below:

RM Worship Conference – Programme & Seminars

Including lunch the cost of the day is £15.

Whether you are in our worship band, a musician, singer, part of the PA team, song writer or anyone who just loves to worship God, then this conference is for you. We would love for you to come along and be involved.

The conference will be a plumb-line moment for us as we consider what our expression of worship looks like. We want to be worshippers who are Spirit led, full of truth, creative, dynamic, wholehearted, cross-centred and so much more. You’ll receive teaching and ministry, be equipped to serve, be challenged to grow and ultimately encounter His greatness.

Download the seminar programmme and then

Book Now!

The gates of hell

The strategy of the church against Satan is offensive not defensive.

Many people misunderstand that, especially when you read a naff transalation of Jesus’ charge to Peter “Upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (NASB) or “all the gates of hell will not conquer it” (NLT)

Since when do gates overpower or conquer an army? Don’t armies attack gates when they storm a city occupied by the enemy? Gates are defensive structures.

The literal translation is “The gates of Hades will not prevail against it”. How could gates ever overcome the Church? The traditional outlook is that global church is in danger of being destoyed by the enemy but God preserves it.

Jesus is saying something very different. Satan’s fortress is in danger – we are the invaders, who will knock down Hades gates and walls and release the prisoners in side.

Paul tells us the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds ( 2Cor 10:4). New Testament strategy is offensive not defensive.So  we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the earth. Not power to survive as a remnant in a bunker, but power to move out into the world and win people back to God.

 

Our great commission has been given by Jesus who has of all authority in heaven on earth . Out of that authority, we have been given authority to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18-20)

So let’s be a gateway for the gospel to go to the nations, not a fortress hunkering down hoping the gates of hell won’t overcome against us!

Pleasantly Surprised!Each year I have to write a short report on the Church for the annual accounts – not usually riveting stuff, but as I reflected back on the last year I was pleasantly surprised at what God has done in what felt like a pretty challenging and hard year for the Gateway Church.

Here’s the activity section…

Activities:
2011-2012 was a challenging year for The Gateway Church. Daniel & Alisa Foytik’s Russian outreach project came to an end in June 2011and a number of families moved on to other churches.
We moved venue to Gaywood Community Primary School, which offers more flexible facilities for a lower price.
 In September we launched a fortnightly youth club which is growing and already resulted in one teenager becoming a Christian.
 We relaunched the Eastern European outreach project by running a fortnightly International Café, which is advancing the Christian faith through ESOL lessons based around the Jesus Film.
 Two adults became Christians through a Start Course
The Gateway Church has also been instrumental in helping run the King’s Lynn Foodbank to provide emergency food to needy families referred by other agencies.
Average Sunday attendance for 2011-2010: 43 adults,12 children (6% increase on 2010-2011)
Small Groups: 3
New Converts: 2 adults, 1 teenager

God is good! Average attendance increased but more importantly we had our first converts! Come on Lord! We also ended the financial year accounting wise with a small surplus for the reserves of £1000. God is so good!

Keep praying! Keep inviting friends and chatting to them about Jesus. Keep gathering together on Sundays and in Life Groups. Keep giving generously and sacrificiallly to see His Kingdom established here in West Norfolk.

Above all look to God and who He is to empower you for life and mission. We are going to see some great promises from God fulfilled over coming years, so these are exciting days!

FiftyWe have hovered around the 50 mark for a while now and it’s a wall we are going to punch through! It’s a size of church that can feel comfortable for regulars but uncomfortable for newcomers too. Fifty people feels like an overgrown family – you do know everyone’s name but once we get regularly past it you won’t.

So should we break it?

1) God wants everyone to get a chance to repent of their sin and receive the good news of Jesus Christ and become part of His body, the Church (2 Pet 3:9), so sticking at fifty because it is nice is not really an option!
2) Jesus told a story of a banquet – the invited guests didn’t come so the host sent out the servants to go get people from the highways to enjoy the feast. We have a great church, where we feast in worship, hearing and applying the Bible and getting connected, growing and serving in our small groups. Jesus’ banquet story in Luke 14 is an invitation to go out and get more people to thefeast. If some don’t respond, go find some others!
3) In 1Cor 3:6 Pauls tells his experience – Paul planted, Apollos watered and God gave the growth. All of us have a part to play – some plant, some water but at the end of the day God is the One who will give the growth!
Should we break 50? Yes – its not about numbers it’s about people, who are finding Christ.

<h2>I want to be able to look around one Sunday in a few years time and see…</h2>

  • A Svetlana who found Christ through the international Cafe
  • Harry and Freddie who became Christians in the youth club and are doing a GAP year before going off to university
  • Anna who used to go to church, but stopped in her teens, ended up coming with Emma to a small group social and is now on fire for God
  • Tim and Anna, who still have plenty of questions but have made some great friends while playing badminton every Monday

To blast past 50, we will need to make some changes – there will be more small groups, more leaders be trained and released, a bigger pastoral team, an outreach strategy and great process to help people get connected.

Here’s the 6 steps we will be working through

  1. Pray We need to get praying, get God’s heart for our area and feel for it the way He does. Then we need to pray expectantly and listening for what He wants us to do both strategically as a church and in the day to day that will resultinKingdom buidling life change encounters with friends, family, neighbours and total strangers!
  2. Identify the Obstacles Take a good look at any obstacles to us growing: from simple stuff like car parking to small groups and finding leaders.
  3. Cast Vision Over the next few months, we will be getting vision from God of that preferable future for The Gateway Church that will inspire us to go for it. Alongside it will be some goals and plans onhow to put legs on the vision.
  4. Prepare – We need to start thinking like a church twice our size and working out how we can do it – from kids work, to ministries to youth and venue.
  5. Act Go for it! Hudson Taylor said “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God”. We will go for more evangelistic and community impact, build for those high Sundays like baptisms, Christmas and Easter and follow up everyone!
  6. Leave the rest to God – There’s a balance to church life of working hard and God working on our behalf.
    “The Christian’s motto should not be ‘Let go and let God’ but ‘trust God and get going!’” —J.I. Packer
    At the end of the day we rely on God to bring the growth and pour out his blessing on His Kingdom and His Church. Eph 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work in us,to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”