There have been mixed feelings in Paris in the last month. On one hand, spring in Paris is the loveliest time of the year. The flowers and the people begin to bloom as the garden around town fill up and the daylight endures. On the other, we mourn the fire that occurred in a beloved monument in the city. It almost didn’t seem real as we saw smoke rising from Notre Dame Cathedral. While we recognize that it could have been much worse, we are left remembering how fleeting the things of this world can be.
It was in this mindset that we entered into our Easter celebrations this year. While there is a certain sadness that comes with loss, Christians recognize as we celebrate our risen Lord that the heartaches of our lives will one day be no more. We who remember the resurrected Jesus take great comfort that we have been raised with Him.
Our Easter joy this year was double. First, we celebrated as we always do in Rueil Malmaison with a bilingual service with our sister church EBE. The Emmanuel Gospel Choir blessed us with wonderful praises as we joined together. It was a fantastic time in which the whole community came together to honor Christ. But this was not the only celebration that happened, as our church plant at Ternes also celebrated their one-year anniversary on Easter Sunday. We are so thankful that God has allowed us to be part of these blessings.
At the beginning of the year we had a sermon series focused on discipleship. We looked at the importance of being a church focused on being and making disciples as well as the challenges of committing our lives to this in our busy, Parisian lives. This led into a new emphasis on something we are calling D-Groups. A D-Group is 3-4 people of the same gender that meet together for prayer, bible study, and accountability. They are designed to be agile enough to allow people with busy and inconsistent schedules to be able to adjust to each other, even if they are unable to commit to more regular ministries like home groups.
In March we had our annual men’s retreat in Houlgate, Normandy. This year we welcomed Blake Rogers from Atlanta, Georgia to be our speaker. He challenged our men with teaching on Leadership as well as the responsibilities we have in our lives with the way we influence others.
Also in March we welcomed in some friends from the International Baptist Convention to help us do some feasibility studies about potential church plants in France. There were three studies in total: East Paris, South Paris, and Strasbourg. The East Paris study looked intently into the Disneyland Paris/Val d’Europe area. The South Paris looked at the southern banlieue and Cité Universitaire area. These were very encouraging studies for us as we are looking at the needs and opportunities for ministry in our city and thinking creatively about how we can meet them. There is a large harvest field in Paris, so please pray for us as we try to reach our city.
Last month the Lord blessed us by allowing us to celebrate baptisms. This was an especially special time as it was the first occasion we have had to have a joint baptism service with our church plant. We baptised two members of the church in Rueil Malmaison as well as two from the church at Ternes. It was such a joy to be able to celebrate people being born again with a church that is newly born itself.
One thing that I would like to put on your radar is a need our church will have in this coming year. We have a big roof repair project coming that is going to be very expensive. We are having some serious financial challenges this year, so we plan on launching a fund-raising effort to help us “Raise the Roof” (please don’t judge us for our 90’s nostalgia!). Please like us on Facebook and stay in the loop through the newsletter if you’d like to participate.
This summer my wife I will be taking home leave in the US and the Philippines. While in the US we will do some networking to raise awareness about the International Baptist Convention as well as the ministry in Paris at EIC. We will be partnering with another pastor in the US for a pastor swap, and I will preach at his church in Alabama while he preaches in Paris. Please pray for Al Jackson as he serves in Paris while I am away.
D-GROUPS - Pray for our D-Groups. Discipleship is a major emphasis for us this year, so pray that our members will be engaged in growing closer to Christ. We want to have a culture of disciple making in our church, so pray for us as we try to build that.
CHURCH PLANTING – Pray for us as we consider how to put into action the opportunities we have for church planting in Paris through the feasibility studies. The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Pray that the Lord will provide the resources for expanding our ministry to the places in Paris where there is little access to an English language church.
SUMMER EVENTS – Pray for our summer events. My wife and I will be away in June and July, so pray for our pastor swap. Also, please remember Euroventure, as we are again sending our youth to Switzerland for a summer camp this July.
FINANCES – Please pray for our finances. We will need wisdom as we move forward given our financial trends, specifically as it relates to our building maintenance issues. Please pray for our fund-raising “Raise the Roof” effort.