Innovative Ministries in Europe and Australia
Living Waters, a church plant near GilsonCollege in the western suburbs of Melbourne (Australia), presents “exciting possibilities ... with a creative young pastor, Mark Baines. ... During the next couple of months ... will be reading through the book of Acts. Some are getting together in small groups to read, reflect and pray through this story of the Holy Spirit’s activity in the lives of early believers. Last Saturday afternoon one group (with friends) met in a local Caroline Springs cafe to read and discuss the book of Acts. A great idea!”
Dragana is just one person in “Mosiac” - a plant in Banja Luka, Bosnia Herzegovina. But her heart represents the heart of all involved in “Mosaic.” She writes, “My favorite activities are connecting with and focusing on the forgotten, poor, sick and helpless people rejected by the society. This category is ‘invisible’ for most - especially during holidays (including ‘religious’ holidays) when most people spend their time with family and in warm houses.” “Mosaic” prepares packages and shares meals with homeless people - and finds a special ministry in hospitals. They celebrate birthdays with people. They have also been cleaning the windscreens of cars - leaving a small card with a phone number and a message of friendship. And, they are also launching a mobile DVD club - with spiritual DVDs.
After two years of building a small core group (12 people), reading the Bible with their friends, sharing social opportunities (sports, gym evenings, etc) – and demonstrating that Christianity is “cool” - the Kaunas “Mira” Youth Church (Kaunas, Lithuania) had their first public worship service on 14 January 2006. Planter and pastor, Giedrius Rima, explains that the name ‘Mira’ means ‘myrrh - a sweet smelling perfume.’ “The main emphasis is on friendship evangelism, encouragement and introducing friends to Jesus...It has worked amazingly well, as most of our young people have taken it seriously.” Reporting for the Baltic countries, Guntis Bukalders says that the group prepared through weekly training and attendance at the Church Planting X-Changes conducted with Peter Roennfeldt in Latvia, Finland and Lithuania. Commenting on their first worship service, Darune Rimiene (a “Mira” team member) writes: “We really had a good time studying the Bible, worshipping God ... and socializing with tea, biscuits and lots of mandarins (they were really in demand that night)!”
Planters of Plug-In (Copenhagen teen club) and Remix (a monthly worship event for unchurched teens) have now launched regular house meetings on Friday evenings in Tina Kjeldal's home. “It gives a good atmosphere to have these kids with their rough attitudes come into a living room to sit on the sofa,” says planter Lasse Bech. “It seems like they find a resting place. We run the house meetings like a cell-group. First we eat a meal, we ‘talk about God’ (a simple Bible study), and then we have smaller prayer groups. We also hang out playing games, talking, listening to music, and just having a good time.”
INNOVATIONewsletter, March 1, 2006 Center for Creative Ministry