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Category Archives: Rolleston Baptist Church

Pondering Proverbs as a Parent – 10 Years Later

This Sunday, we begin a new series at Rolleston Baptist Church through Proverbs.

Proverbs Series

I love the book of Proverbs.

Nearly 10 years ago, I spent a month blogging through the book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. I called my simple blog series, “Pondering Proverbs as a Parent“.We were still living in the States at the time. My children were 1, 2, & 4!

Our lives have changed dramatically in the years since. Yet the timeless truths of God’s Word never change.

These blog posts are rough & unedited. I share them here as they may still prove helpful to some family.

You can download a PDF of the whole series – Chapters 1-30, Diagram for Chapter 31, Chapter 31.

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The Naming of a Church

Yesterday, I read this post by Joe Thorn and it reminded me of the thought process we went through in naming Rolleston Baptist Church.

I am convinced that much of this discussion is contextual and therefore is not easily transferable to other settings. Thorn hints at that in his post. So this isn’t a response to his post, it is just that his post reminded me of our process.

One will search in vain to find any prescriptive Biblical teaching on church names! So when it comes to planting a new church one has the opportunity to do something (actually a lot of things) that is not a “normal” ministry experiences when in an established church – pick a name!

This can be rather terrifying, in that, you are establishing a name to a church that will, Lord willing, outlive you! In today’s world, web address as registered, FaceBook pages setup, etc. all with this name. The name of the church takes on significance long before you have an physical location, sign, etc.

In our setting I found this to be rather simple… I was driving around town with two other men from Grace Baptist Church in Christchurch on my first visit to Rolleston and we began to discuss the name.

For me, I considered the following:

  1. Church – we are a church. We are not just a fellowship, and certainly not a club, or just a community organisation. I am committed to having the word “church” in our name.
  2. Rolleston – we desire to be a local church, established in and actively reaching Rolleston for Christ. I like the idea of having “Rolleston” in our name.
  3. Baptist – I’m a Baptist (a Confessional Baptist). I am not uncomfortable with this and make no apologies for holding to Baptist convictions. In our context, where we have a Presbyterian Church in town, and are surrounded by Anglican churches, I think Baptist in the name helps folks to immediately recognise who we are as compared to others.
    • I must add here, I have many friends in area Presbyterian, Anglican, and Reformed Churches. They are dear brothers and sisters-in-Christ. In the big gospel game, we are on the same team. Yet we hold differing doctrinal distinctives.
  4. Reformed – I am a Confessional Baptist (I’m happy to affirm the 1689, London Baptist Confession of Faith). We require our elders at RBC to affirm the 1689, Long Baptist Confession of Faith. Generally this would classify us as a “Reformed Baptist Church”. However, in our context we opted not to include the word “reformed” in the church name:
    • We do not require members to affirm the 1689, London Baptist Confession. In other words, we are quite happy with gospel diversity at the membership level.
    • The word “reformed” in New Zealand (at least in church names) has been so historically recognised as “belonging” to the Reformed Churches of New Zealand, it just seemed like a point of confusion which would constantly need explanation.

The result of this, rather simple process, was the name Rolleston Baptist Church. We are a church, holding to historically recognised Baptist distinctives of doctrine and practice, seeking to reach the community of Rolleston with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Rolleston Baptist Church, Church Planting – Our Story Thus Far – October 2014

I have posted a few other times this year in relation to the Lord directing us to join with a group of folks in Rolleston for the purpose of establishing a new church.

Church Planting in Rolleston, New Zealand – Our Next Phase in Seeking to Follow the Call of the Gospel Upon Our Lives

Rolleston Baptist Church – Online

Titles Can Create Confusion

Why I don’t find the term Evangelical by itself terribly helpful

My Last Sunday PM Service at Howick Baptist Church

I thought I might share a bit about how we have proceeded in this effort thus far. This is not an attempt to outline a one-size-fits all philosophy to church planting. Some may read this and think we have lost our minds. Others may clearly identify weaknesses to our approach. Someone may find this helpful. Mostly, it may serve those who are currently part of this work along with future members of Rolleston Baptist Church.

You will notice through this my conviction that “it’s churches that plant churches”.

For several years a couple of families from Grace Baptist Church in Christchurch have lived in Rolleston and sought to reach out to their community with the gospel of Christ in both word and deed. Over the past couple of years the Lord added to their number families from two other Christchurch churches – St. John’s & St. Saviour’s. These families met together regularly for fellowship, established three area Bible Studies, and ran a Sunday afternoon service for several months in the local Community Centre. Sometime in 2013 the the ministers from Grace Baptist & St. John’s along with six families all living in Rolleston, after much prayer and consultation decided to proceed in a plan to establish a church in Rolleston. Grace Baptist would serve as the “mother church” in this, other area churches would lend support and encouragement, a local Christian trust committed finances to help pay the stipend for a pastor during the early establishment phase of the church… the group needed a pastor.

In early 2014 I was contacted by the elders of Grace Baptist asking if I would consider a call to be appointed as the Church Planting Pastor of Rolleston Baptist Church. This is where the specifics of our approach may differ from some of the ideas you find in most of the popular church planting books.

Once my family & I reached the place where I was able to confidently answer this call in the affirmative the elders of Grace Baptist & I discussed a plan for how this would unfold.

Here is a brief outline of that plan:

  1. I would be appointed as an elder at Grace Baptist Church. This took place on 17 August 2014. This was done to more officially demonstrate the links between Grace Baptist and the new church. In addition it provides clear accountability for me as the pastor of RBC and for the progress of the church in these early days.
  2. I would be formally commissioned and appointed as the pastor of Rolleston Baptist Church (RBC) by Grace Baptist Church. This took place on 31 August 2014. Seeing that RBC doesn’t technically exist as a church but only as a group of believers who are meeting together informally, Grace Baptist is the existing church serving to confirm my qualification, gifting and calling to this work. 
  3. We would begin services for RBC in our home for a period of time. Part of the reason for this early stage would be to establish ourselves (we are eight families with three young adults – 35 people including children) as a church, formally. As a Baptist Church this will require, at least:
    • Clarifying and affirming a Statement of Faith
    • Clarifying and affirming a Constitution
    • Clarifying and affirming some key items of practice (e.g. Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Members’ Meetings) [At the writing of this post (30 Sept. 2014) we are in the process of working through these three steps. Lord willing in the coming month or so we will reach a point when we will hold a special service where the following will take place.] 
    •   
    • Formally establishing membership where we would all officially join the church taking a Membership Covenant, and formally affirming our Articles of Faith.
    • Appointing elder(s) assuming the presence of, at least, one who is Biblically qualified and willing to serve in this office.
    • Appointing deacon(s) assuming the presence of, at least, one who is Biblically qualified and willing to serve in this office.
  4. At this point we will be a “constituted” church with formal membership, established doctrinal basis, and qualified/appointed leadership. Lord willing this will also be the time when we will begin meeting more publicly in a hired, local venue.
  5. From this point, anyone who begins attending RBC and desires to join the church will be taken through a series of “studies” where we will walk through our Articles of Faith and Constitution seeking to serve the unity of the church by helping to ensure anyone who enters into membership, understands who we are as a church and why we approach the life of the church the way we do.

The above process is purposeful as our primary desire is to honour Christ not only in what we do and teach, but how we conduct ourselves as a church. No process will guarantee an avoidance of struggle. We pray the Lord will bless these feeble efforts.

Here are a few other past blog posts on the church which may shed further light on my thinking and convictions for any interested:

The Church – Ecclesiology is Important

The Church (Called and Collected) – Hip-Hop Teaches Us About the Beautiful Church

Sermon Mini-Series: Church as Family, Body, and Building

Baptist Autonomy Can’t Mean Each Church is Free to Do Anything

Should I Join a Church? or Is Church Membership Biblical? – My Thoughts

Lord willing in the very near future the website for Rolleston Baptist Church will be “active & live” providing more information about us.

 

Titles Can Create Confusion

The few who read my blog will know that I have contributed a monthly article in the Baptist Magazine for about two years. Today, the latest issue came out with my final contribution.
I saw the heading given to my article this afternoon in the latest issue of the Baptist Mag. The editor makes the headings and I immediately cringed when I read his choice.
The heading is, “Planting a Baptist Church in Rolleston”.
I am very sorry for the confusion created.
By giving the article such a heading it communicates this is a Baptist Union Church, I would think to many. However, though it will be a Baptist Church it will not be a Baptist Union Church. That has been clear in all other forms of communication thus far.
This church plant is being planted out of Grace Baptist Church in Christchurch which is also not a BU church and has come about by the initiative of those who live in Rolleston and have been conducting various ministries in Rolleston for more than two years (one of the families as lived in Rolleston for 15+ years).
Again, I sincerely regret the title given to my column this month. It would not have chosen that as a title. I will also say the editor would not have meant to communicate any offence. This is just a genuine mistake.
It is not my desire or any of us involved in this church to cause offence or confusion in this way.
 

Why I don’t find the term Evangelical by itself terribly helpful

In recent years I have seen a bit of a trend for Christians to simply refer to themselves as Evangelical.

Personally, I don’t find this terribly helpful and as I have ventured toward the adventure of what is called church planting, I have reflected on this a bit more lately.

In mentioning reasons why I don’t find it helpful, I could mention something like the phrase “Evangelical Catholic” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Catholic) – There’s a combination one would not normally put together.

In actual fact this highlights one of my reasons for not using the term Evangelical by itself. Alone, the term doesn’t say a whole lot really. Often when I use the term a follow-up question comes, something like, “Evangelical what?” What kind of Evangelical. This question shows a bit of insight on the one asking in that they clearly recognise the term alone doesn’t really say a whole lot.

Historically the term has generally meant someone who is committed to the gospel. To the centrality of the truth of salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone. However, the existence of a phrase like Evangelical Catholic shows that this isn’t always as clear as one would desire.

Even more than that, the term doesn’t really say anything else. One can be Evangelical and be charismatic or non-charismatic, complementrian or egalitarian, Arminian or Calvinistic. One can call themselves Evangelical and believe in inerrancy or not. Once can call themselves Evangelical and deny the existence of Hell and hold to universalism.

Interestingly enough I do hear some attempting to go by the label Evangelical by itself and then describing themselves as Calvinistic and complementarian. Of course the problem is Evangelical doesn’t mean those things. To do this is to confuse vocabulary.

However, to do this, I would suggest reveals another significant (actually I think the most significant) problem with trying to use just the term Evangelical to describe oneself. To do so, may be saying more than one intends.

If you attempt to describe yourself as simply Evangelical but then define that in ways that go beyond what the term really means you are implying that those who do not define the term your way are not Evangelical. That is both historically and linguistically confusing.

I have found this recently in discussions related to planting a church. Rolleston Baptist Church will not be the first Evangelical church in Rolleston. I don’t want to do anything to give the impression that it is.

Rolleston Baptist Church, Lord willing, will be an Evangelical church. However, it will be a Baptist Church and even then Baptist doesn’t necessary say a whole lot anymore either. 🙂

This post as nothing to do with the name of a church as it is not possible to put in a church name enough adjectives to describe where one falls on the Evangelical spectrum. I think the name of a church is important and am quite happy with the name Rolleston Baptist Church.

Thoughts on church names is for a later post, in this post I am just thinking about what terms Christians use to describe themselves.

 

My Last Sunday PM Service at Howick Baptist Church

I joined the pastoral staff at Howick Baptist Church in December, 2010. At that time they were not having Sunday evening services, so we decided to start them the beginning of 2011.

It’s been just over three years but this Sunday will be my last PM service at Howick. Partly due to my family moving to Rolleston, New Zealand for a new church plant in July, but also due to what has been our normal “winter break.” We have generally taken a break in the winter due to the cold weather and the building being too hard to heat.

Certainly this service has not achieved all I hoped it would. I had hoped more of the folks from Howick would eventually make it part of their normal Lord’s Day routine to begin and end the day with the gathered church, yet I realise changing family schedules and routines is hard work and doesn’t happen quickly. I had hoped the service might provide a place for others to serve in music or sound, etc. yet, I was committed to not loading up the same people who serve in the AM with more work. I had hoped there would be a place for younger guys to preach in this setting and yet for various reasons this didn’t happen past the first year, really. In the end, I acknowledge my contribution to many of these failings.

Yet, I am still thankful for these 3+ years of services.

Those who have attended regularly have enjoyed genuine fellowship at a deeper level with others than is often possible when only attending the morning service.

We have made the sharing of prayer requests and prayer a regular part of this service. This has allowed us to learn from others when hearing them pray (and there are some ladies that when they pray you really learn how a mature, lover of Christ prays), along with hearing how God is answering prayer.

We have enjoyed singing some great hymns together. Even as a small group often singing with no instruments we have experienced some great times in corporate song. (Even with me leading singing out of tune, although there have been some attempts which have been complete failures!)

Since the beginning we have included a Q&A time during the service, usually at the end. This has allowed people to ask questions related to the sermon/teaching or anything else they wanted to ask. This has ranged from basic followup questions from what was just taught to some big questions about life and the Scriptures. Of all that we’ve done during this service this is the aspect for which I have received the most consistent, positive feedback.

There have been a handful of young adults and a couple of guys in particular which have been very faithful to this service from the beginning. This has been hugely encouraging.

A couple of our elderly ladies, even widows, have attended very faithfully as well. I have found this to be both humbling and a wonderful example.

Also a few ladies who are married to non-Christians have been very faithful. Their cheerfulness and thankfulness has been a real blessing.

I don’t have an exact number, but I can think of six to eight people who started attending the PM service and then began attending the AM service as well. This was unexpected but something that I found very encouraging.

Finally, this service has provided a wonderful opportunity for me to preach/teach more regularly than I have in years and, as a result, to grow substantially for which I am very thaknful.

In these 3+ years I have preached through Colossians, Porverbs, The Gospel of Mark, and a series through the Minor Prophets. In addition, I taught through a lengthy series on Ethics, and Doctrine.

I have been blessed, equiped, and encouraged. I think I am more prepared for church planting as a result of the experience this service has provided me and my family.

We will miss these folks and this service very much. We are very thankful.

I am very committed to the idea of two services on a Sunday and look forward to seeing how we might provide for this in the coming years in Rolleston Baptist Church. In the early months we are looking to have an afternoon service after a shared lunch, but we will see what The Lord does.

 

Rolleston Baptist Church – Online

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Thanks to some friends Rolleston Baptist Church now has an online presence.

Rolleston.10

Website: www.rollestonbaptist.org.nz

For now this is simply a “Coming Soon” page with a brief introduction and a place where anyone can submit their email address to be included on our update email list.

In the coming months more will be added to this site.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rollestonbaptist

Its 2014 how can we not have a FaceBook page!

We have also setup initial rollestonbaptist.org.nz email addresses via Google Apps to assist in correspondence and communication.

I have a few things going on all at the same time at the moment (except for the next few weeks when I go on holiday and hope to do a whole lot of “nothing much!”), so the updating of material related to Rolleston Baptist Church will occur intermittently for now.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 02/04/2014 in Rolleston Baptist Church

 
 
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