Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for your interest in and prayer for the gospel work in Germany. Let me briefly share with you the main topics of the ministry here last month.
Great Progress in Frankfurt
Unity: During the past weeks we have had the opportunity to talk, pray and consider together the next and final steps towards the church plant in Frankfurt. After having spoken with the church members and evaluated the work of Peter and Tobias in Frankfurt, we nominated both men before the church as brothers in whom we see the gifts of elders. The church members confirmed in perfect unity the calling of the Lord so that we will be able to plant the church and ordain Peter and Tobias as elders mid-November.
Joy: The work in Frankfurt develops to our grateful joy. Many visitors come to the evening services and benefit from the preaching and fellowship among the saints. Many have proven sacrificial and earnest devoutness in driving each Sunday about an hour to partake in the morning service in Wetzlar as they wait for the church plant in Frankfurt to be formally constituted. What a joy that soon there will finally be a biblically ordered Reformed Baptist Church in Frankfurt.
Wisdom: What we most need is further wisdom to start the church in a godly, sound and healthy way. Please pray for the appointed elders and the future church members to prove their unity and devotion in the same way in future decisions that will need to be made, as they have done over the last month.
Beginnings in Austria
Order: Beginning a few years we have had contact with a good group of young men in Austria, who, in the midst of a lot of man-centered doctrine in the state churches, are gathering together to pray and study Scripture. One of them visited us to get baptized and he became a member of our church. They recently asked us for help to plant a Reformed Baptist Church in their area. One of the most important steps we were able to take is to bring some order to the gatherings and consider the first steps towards a church community.
Doctrine: They now give structured but simple teaching in biblical doctrine based on the 1689 London Baptist Confession. They also evangelize and invite family members, neighbors and whomever they met. By the grace of God quite a number of people of all ages now meet every Sunday afternoon to hear the word of God.
Training: The young man who was baptized now moved to Wetzlar in order to study theology in a city close by. We hope to give advice and support during his studies and train him further within the church as he gets to know church life and order. These are small but exciting steps, “For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech 4:10).
Encouragement in Wetzlar
Pastor’s Ministry: In Wetzlar we are encouraged by the work God is doing in our midst and beyond the local border. Indeed the beginning of a new church seems often much more exciting and enthusiastic than the daily work of the local church. Yet in God´s kingdom there are times to send messengers and scouts, as Jacob did expecting to meet Esau, or as Moses did to see the estate of the promised land, and there are also times to lead, nourish, counsel and support the flock, as Jacob said to Esau, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die. Please let my lord pass on before his servant, and I will proceed at my leisure, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord at Seir” (Genesis 33:13-14).
Compared to church planting work and excitement of starting the first Bible studies, the pace in the life of the established local church is often slower, mostly less spectacular, but it is nonetheless the aim, the fruit, and the goal of exciting beginnings. I am seeing more and more the value of a shepherd’s love to care for the frail and nursing, and the need to be devoted to lead, counsel, guide and feed at the right pace, even when others pass on ahead. Please pray that we as a church in Wetzlar will keep our focus on the responsibility and tasks the Lord has given us in the church to follow him and serve him best, not for our own name’s sake, but the blessed Name of our Saviour.
We have much reason to be grateful. There are visitors who have moved here and want to become members of the church. Other faithful guests are witnessing how they benefit from the teaching of the Bible, even when they are not yet willing to apply for membership.
The Lord has blessed us with a whole group of young men that are working hard in the duties of the church. They evangelize with passion and are hungry to grow in biblical knowledge and sanctification.
Please pray, that these men will prove to be faithful men, who are able to teach others in due time. Pray also for me, that I would be given wisdom to teach, to preach, to counsel and to train for the glory of the Lamb.