A friend of mine came up to me the other day and thanked me for our prayer letters. I said, “When you get them please pray for us.” He responded by saying “…that is the first thing I do when I read it.” Thanks to each one of you that has done that for we have no power or effectiveness without the Holy Spirit, and we receive his power in answer to your prayers. We are so encouraged by your faithful prayers.
We were out in Dallas, TX for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. I was privileged to present a seminar on “Pastoral Competency.” Several of the Network pastors were able to get together for a meal at the “Rodeo Goat” restaurant (I didn’t see goat on the menu). These pastors and their wives are the real heroes of our Network as they have heard the call of God to plant churches. Not only are they planting churches in hard places but they are planting a harder, or more difficult, kind of church.
All church planting is challenging to our faith, courage, tenacity, and self- esteem. Not only are those challenges real but there special challenges for our families and our children when they have to share with us all the sacrifices and stress of a new work. The congregations of the New City Network double down on the challenge by adding cross-cultural ministry, and the inclusion of the poor, with life and ministry in marginalized communities.
Though we have to admit it is not for everybody we believe it is for more than have already answered the call. There are more places yet that need the right kind of church planted in their midst. New City churches are not for exceptional pastors, not for unique or specially gifted people, though I confess I see each one of them as heroic. It is the same issue as getting people to be missionaries. Are we waiting for superman, or some Marvel comic book character? Are we waiting for a new incarnation of the Apostle Paul, or our admiring view of Hudson Taylor, or Jim Elliot? No, God calls ordinary people, broken people, fearful and inept people who will trust him. It is not super faith but a superior God who makes the difference as to whether or not the Gospel will penetrate our cities, reconcile alienated and hostile people, raise up the poor, and bring deliverance to the widow.
These church planters go, and these churches survive and thrive by the power and grace of God. We cannot succeed without the power of God. I recently had one potential pastor call me about planting a Network church and at the end of the conversation he told he didn’t think his wife was “all in” on the idea. I told him, “then you shouldn’t come until she is completely committed as that would not only be bad for your family but for the new church, and the community;” if and when his family crashes and burns. This means that the wives need as much grace and mercy from God as the husbands, maybe even more. If it is hard when they are “all in,” I can’t imagine how stressful it must be for any of them when they are afraid, or have doubts about their husband bringing them to a place they don’t really want to be. Please pray for all of these families doing ministry throughout our Network, for their unity, their spiritual health, and their joy.
- Please pray for God to raise up (more of) his servants to come and preach the Gospel among the lost and gather the sheep together to become loving congregations in places that have often been abandoned by the Church.
- Pray for an upcoming MNA Church Planting and Renewal Conference, July 22-25
in Nashville, TN where I will be teaching on Urban Church Planting.
- Pray for Joan and me as we travel up to Christ the King in Dorchester, MA to host a marriage conference for Elders and their wives, and to meet with our radio team from Boston Praise Radio. July 26-29.
- Pray for Wy Plummer and Denine Blevins as they plant the Leadership, Development, and Resource (LDR) weekend, 30 August-1 Sept, hosted by New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN. Pray that the Lord will bring just those he wants to be there, and those who need to be there. For information and registration go to LDR Weekend.
- Please give thanks with us, and continue to pray, for God’s financial blessing on this work. Thanks for your support.
- Pray for a few of our pastors who are taking sabbaticals, for rest, for renewal, and for the healing of their souls where they feel battered by various trials.
- We still have a few of our congregations needing pastors. Pray for New City-South City in St. Louis, for New City East Lake in Chattanooga, and for St. Roch in New Orleans.
- Pray for me, Randy, that I will be a “happy warrior” in meeting my various writing assignments and administrative duties for MNA and the Network.
Randy and Joan Nabors
Urban and Mercy Ministries