At the writing of this article it was just about 1 year ago I said, « good-bye » to my father. I flew to South Carolina for his funeral service. And then covid-19 … Do I need to say more?
Newsletters have never been more difficult to write then during the past 12 months. What do you say to the people who pray for you and financially support your ministry? For the first time ever, in the course of humanity, the entire world’s population was suffering under a mortal enemy, as well as the consequences most governments were imposing on the populations to keep the health system from collapsing. Will we ever return to the « normal » that existed prior to the pandemic? If not, then what will the new « normal » look like?
For us, not all has been bad during 2020. We became grandparents! Our on-line ministry exploded in growth. We established our associate pastor as the co-pastor of the Church, along with Robert. This officially launched our transition out of the pastoral ministry. And whereas most missionaries in France were scrambling to figure what to do in the financial implosion, our support remained stable and we finished the year on a good footing. Although we have no idea right now who remains a member of our local church, our offerings have also nearly maintained the same level as 12 months ago. So, as the storm of the pandemic begins to ebb, ever so slightly, the question remains: where do we go from here? Here is a snapshot of where we believe we are headed for the rest of this year.
1. Online presence
The day will certainly come when church-buildings will once again be open without fear of spreading the disease. Nevertheless, we believe that the role that internet plays in our lives will not diminish to that of pre-covid days. On-line ministry is here to stay. And we feel strongly about being a part of this communications revolution.
2. Small group communities
There are two trends right now developing in the post-covid Church-world. There will be those churches emerge which put great emphasis on experiencing the presence of God collectively. But we see another trend emerging which will put a great emphasis on developing meaningful and intimate relationships, while allowing for people to grow in their personal ministry. This trend will move towards the creation of small « covenantal » type communities, often not exceeding 12-15 people of all ages. These communities will become linked up with other communities for mutual encouragement, leadership training and problem solving. Though we love the first trend, we feel strongly inspired of the Lord to prepare for the second trend.
3. Mentoring, coaching, training and consulting.
We are shepherds at heart and we love people more than programs. However, the time is fast approaching when we need to make room for the next generation of leaders in the church. Hence, we will continue to gravitate out of pastoral ministry in the local church. We are personally involved in some form of coaching, accompaniment, and mentoring of a dozen leaders throughout France. We believe this trend will continue to gather great speed during 2021. By the year 2024 this will become the main focus of our ministry
4. All-things Israel.
The draw from Israel is increasing in our lives and we believe this trend will continue. Our work with the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem started about 5 years ago. Our team in France has greatly increased during 2020 and we believe it will continue to grow. As we gravitate out of the daily operations of the local church we will be dedicating more of our time to developing the French branch of the ICEJ as well as teaching on the hebraic root of our faith.
In July of 2022 Robert will be celebrating 40 years of ministry. This is a major milestone. And we have never been salaried by the church for which we have had pastoral responsibility. There probably aren’t too many senior pastors in the world who have that testimony. We thank God for His faithfulness. And we thank you for your’s. Your consistent and faithful contributions have made it all possible. So, as we look forward to the next 3-4 years will you join us?
You may have remarked that « Travel Abroad » does not appear in the above mentioned vision points. We love to travel in the Lord's service and feel that we still have that grace. Nevertheless, as we peer into a foggy future we don’t see a lot of airplanes. That may change. But we are planning on being more focused on France and French speaking territories and nations. That is why we really need you more now than ever before. Thank you for being a part of the team. Together, we will have a greater impact on the French-speaking world.
If you want to join our team as partners, email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.