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I'm a passionate writer - and therefore spend most of my time writing thriller novels. But I also live an interesting life in the nations. This blog is here for that aspect of my life - our life - I live with my wonderful wife and two daughters.

I believe in encouragement. I live for obedience. I believe in learning from our experiences, and this blog exists for both of those, and more.

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I was part of the leadership team in St Petersburg, Russia - which planted Hope Church in 2009.(www.hopechurchstpetersburg.com).
In March 2012 Hope Church sent my family to plant into Tallinn, the Capital of Estonia. I therefore lead this small but growing church plant team. Here is the website for Hope Tallinn (www.hopetallinn.ee)

For details on our journey here, read the series called Adventures of Faith which is linked for you on the right hand column, just below. That details our original journey to Russia and then onto Tallinn 4 years later.

Author for fiction novels - Cherry Picking (2012), The Last Prophet (2015), The Tablet (2015) and The Shadow Man (2016) are available on all major bookselling sites. Please visit: www.timheathbooks.com

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Three unrelated thoughts...

Perspective;

I recently updated my status (on Facebook) to something like this - when the temperature drops from -5 degrees Celsius to -15, you think "Oh, how cold it is!" When it then dropped to -25 and then starts to rise back up to -15, you then think "Oh, how warm it is!" My point was that the same temperature twice round seemed totally different. And the difference - it depended from what side of the issue you were coming. My conclusions? Well, maybe you are not as hard up as you thought? Maybe your situation is not as bad as you feared? If somebody was coming from the 'other direction' towards what you now see as a problem, would they be grateful for what you wish was different?

Think of the Alternative;

Some might look at church planting, and mission in general, and just think - help. How can we do this? It costs so much, it takes a lot of effort. People need to give money to support those going. Churches budget to give away money when planting out. It's costing costing costing!
Before I go on here, let me add this - no one becomes a church planter to get rich! You sacrifice so much, you need to throw money at each new move, it is costly, and while you couldn't do it without the help from supporters and investors from your home church or home country, you are going to work extremely hard and just cover expenses at the end of the year.
So, back to my original question - why do it if it costs people so much? Well, I tend to approach this by thinking of the alternative. What if no one went? Personally, we might be better off. We may have a salaried job with a more stable life in the UK. Other people would have more money, we'd actually have disposable income! And yet, the world would get left to itself? Spiritually they'd be no better off, and let me tell you straight, neither would us in the UK be either! In fact, I can't even really bring myself to think about this alternative. It horrifies me. So therefore we do go in team (some going physically, many going financially and prayerfully) to the nations and send people, knowing it's our responsibility as Bible believing Christians to take this gospel to all the nations of the world. To not go - the alternatives are simply unbearable, so we go, whatever the personal or financial cost. We go!

The ONE thing all church planters actually need to learn;

Many people I know, certainly many people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up in UK churches since they were young children, are far more theologically sound, than they realise! You see, some say that if you are going into 'full-time Christian work' (what does that mean? When is being a Christian never full-time?) you need to go to theological college, or get some proper training. And while maybe in some settings in the UK that is the best option (and especially for those that have come to faith in adult life and need a solid foundation), for the many out there that have learnt their theology growing up in church, a childlike theology, which sadly often get's replaced with a head knowledge theology so often, I would say there is something better they could learn to really be ready for church planting, and especially in the nations, or in the large UK cities. And that is languages!
Languages will open up nations to you. Languages will give you ways into a closed place. It will allow you to live and work somewhere. It will allow you to get to know people and to communicate well with them. If you've been around church for any length of time in the UK, as I had, you probably don't realise how sound you are in your understanding of the Bible. You probably take this for granted. In Russia, we found there was not this depth in people in the church - understandably so when for so many years God officially didn't exist!
So when we have people visit from the UK, they are often amazed at, what they think, are basic holes in peoples understanding of scripture. I'm not saying that learning theology is not important - no, far from it. But the keys that a local language open up will see Kingdom expansion happen at the kind of rate that it needs to, if we are really to reach the world at the rate it needs reaching. So when you think about applying for that course, maybe give some thought to whether it needs to be theology, or in fact a language, or ten!
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