Church Plant Update
Dennistoun Baptist Church - November 2016
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."’
1 Samuel 7:12
Last month marked the one year anniversary of us beginning at Dennistoun Baptist Church. We look back on the last twelve months greatly encouraged at the journey thus far. We look forward with great expectancy, believing God for great things within the life of the church and within the community of Dennistoun and beyond.
Here are some of the reasons why we carry this encouragement and expectancy as we move forward. In all that God is doing we can say with confidence, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
1. SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE
Our Sunday morning gatherings have been an incredible blessing to us. Each week we have intentionally oriented our times around the Word of God, around worship through song, around prayer together and around fellowship. It has been so uplifting to see how God has been at work amongst His people. We are thankful for growth – in the space of a year our Sunday gatherings have doubled in size and it has been a joy to begin a Sunday Club during these times. Overall our prayer is, that as the church in Dennistoun grows we would more and more experience the transforming work of God’s Spirit through God’s Word.
2. TUESDAY PRAYER NIGHT
Charles Spurgeon notes, “The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people.” As we gather together on a Tuesday night we do so acutely aware of our deep need for Him. We pray together with the longing that God might change us, and we pray together in the hope that God might transform our community for His glory.
3. MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES
We have just started our Missional Communities over the last few weeks and it is an exciting new step forward within the life of the church. Our missional communities are simply small groups of people (normally 4-6) who meet weekly (normally at someone’s house or flat) for around two hours around a meal. The goal of a missional community is to equip and enable one another for mission. We do this by opening God’s Word, learning from it and being accountable to one another in the particular mission field that God has placed us in. It has been so encouraging to already see the beginnings of two of these groups within the life of DBC and we pray that it would be a great vehicle for Gospel witness amongst those we meet day to day.
4. ESOL CLASS
During the summer we made the decision to change our ESOL classes (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) which were running on a Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon to one class that would meet weekly on a Tuesday lunch time. The class begins with a light lunch together and then an interactive lesson, with the main goal of learning and developing English, in particular speaking, writing and listening skills. The transition (although initially a challenge) has been a great success. God has provided not just local learners from all over the world (including Syrians, Eritreans, Sudanese, Koreans, Polish, Chinese, Kuwaitis, Spanish, Iranians and Ugandans) but also new volunteers to help us with the need that exists. In all that we do we seek to tangibly demonstrate the love of Jesus to these people, many of whom who are in great need.
5. TEEN CHALLENGE
As we had mentioned in our previous newsletter Pauline has been working with our friends at Teen Challenge as they faithfully minister to the many in Glasgow struggling with addiction and homelessness in the East End and the City Centre. The bus begins every Friday night at Lodging House Mission in the Barrowlands, moves to the Bellgrove Hotel (which is a five-minute walk from our church building) and then onto the City Centre. It has been incredible to see the way in which God’s hand has been upon the work there. The opportunities to share the love of God and demonstrate His grace in very practical ways arise every week and we are praying for a great work of the Spirit in the hearts and minds of those who come onto the bus.
6. FOOTBALL MINISTRY
It has been a tremendous privilege to work with one of the local churches, Parkhead Nazarene as they run a fortnightly football event on Fridays for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the area. Additionally December will mark the beginning of a weekly Monday night five a sides football outreach for men young and old in the community of Dennistoun and beyond. In all of this we seek to become all things to all men, and our longing is that God might grant us opportunity to share the Gospel with those around us.
7. CHARITY SHOP
We are deeply thankful for Isabel and Rose as they faithfully serve our community through the Charity Shop located on Alexandre Parade in Dennistoun. As we reflect upon the work of the shop we see it as a daily opportunity to make connections with others and to be a blessing to those who visit day by day. We continue to seek God’s wisdom and direction as we move forward in this area of ministry.
8. PASTORAL CARE
Pastoral care is such an important part of DBC life and takes many different forms. We see this as not just the work of one or two people but rather the entire body caring for one another in Jesus’ name. As we live this out day to day our prayer is that Jesus’ promise in John 13:35 would be fulfilled in our lives, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
9. MEN’S AND WOMEN’S MINISTRY
October marked our first Men’s event within DBC. Seven of the men connected to DBC life came round to Mark and Pauline’s house for a Pizza and Footie night (Pauline in absentia!). It was a great time together despite the game being a 0-0! In January we will be officially launching both the Men’s and Women’s Ministries within DBC and our plan is to meet together quarterly for a time of fellowship and encouragement.
10. VOLUNTEERING AT DBC
Frequent use of the church building on a Sunday and at different points in the week has meant we are becoming more and more aware of the practical needs that exist. We are deeply thankful for three volunteers who have been helping us on a weekly basis to make the church building more accessible and more effective for ministry – Awet, Zach and Brian. There is always something to be done in the DBC building! It is a great blessing to have people serve in areas that are so often overlooked and yet are so important to the practical running of different ministries.
This is a glimpse of all that God is doing at DBC and we hope this update finds you well.
Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement!
Mark and Pauline