But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and that you will assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
Romans 15:23-24 (NIV)
This was one of the passages used in a recent product which we completed for Serving In Mission (SIM). The Church on Mission is the final product in a series of four designed to help churches involve and mobilise their people in global mission.
The end of Romans 15 was a fitting conclusion to this range of products because it demonstrates how much Paul valued and depended on the support of others in order to conduct his ministry. Paul did not achieve what he did on his own. He invited the Christians in Rome to ‘assist’ him on his journey to Spain. Paul didn’t explicitly ask for money, but it no doubt would have been one of the ways in which the Christians in Rome supported him.
There must also have been other practical ways that they could have helped him in addition to finances and the prayer that he specifically asked for in verses 30-32. It’s the same with missions (and any ministry), today – many people, all with different skill sets, giving of themselves, their expertise and resources to enable others to ‘go’ and to do gospel work.
This is something that we need to be guiding our children in as they think about what vocation they will pursue. It’s worth asking whether that job/skill can, in some way, help to grow the Kingdom of God.
Every ministry in the world requires a vast array of skills and many different people to enable it to function and TnT is no exception! This year we celebrate 25 years of resourcing and equipping adults to teach the Bible to children and over the years there have been many people who have given their time, energy, expertise, prayers and financial resources to the work of TnT. Among other things they have helped with administration, theological oversight, product content, artwork, website development, technical support, editing and proof-reading. We also have wonderfully supportive boards of trustees and governors who keep us on an even keel!
In May we hosted a thanksgiving event in central London and it was terrific to meet many of our faithful supporters as we thanked the Lord for his grace towards us. David Jackman spoke on The state of the Church in the UK – some observations. This was a timely reminder that despite changing circumstances and many new challenges that people’s greatest need is still to hear the word of God through faithful Bible teaching.
Solomon was published in April and we are putting the finishing touches on the Elijah resource. We’ve also started work on the Elisha series and hope to publish both before the end of August. Laura also completed the Colossians product for 11-18s in the midst of churning out a number of new language packs including some in Serbian and Welsh. We are nearing the end of our 4-year syllabus for 3-11s which will be a wonderful milestone! More information about these resources together with full sample lessons of each product can be found here: www.mustard-seeds.net.
To date we have distributed over 80,000 Mustard Seeds lessons to 2,200 churches in 67 countries and provide language pack support in 18 languages.
Brenda continues to receive enquiries from churches in South Africa about training and is busy finalising details for two more days – one in Cape Town and one in Port Elizabeth. She has also had opportunities to train people and promote our work at a couple of conferences in the Cape Town area. Brenda now shares her time between TnT and a local church in Cape Town. This gives her a good a outlet for regular ministry and helps TnT to fund her costs. It has always been a core value of TnT that those who write resources are actively involved in teaching the Bible to children and teens. We therefore produce the resources that we do because we know from experience that they work!
Rory and Kim ran an exhibition stand at Word Alive and the goal was to increase the TnT social media footprint. We did this by creating a photo shoot scene complete with dress-up costumes and props. We then invited people to re-create a scene from the Bible which they photographed and shared on social media. The most liked/shared photo won a free training day.
After Word Alive Rory managed to squeeze in a follow-up training evening in Caterham, and a full day in Ramsgate before heading out to Rwanda for a week to train a group from the a large Anglican Church with which we had no previous contact. Rory ran parenting seminars for three evenings, training for four days and preached at all three services on the Sunday. There were also a number of helpful meetings with various people which was all very positive.
Rory with the group of trainees in Rwanda.
It’s hard to get everyone to look at the same camera!
Finally, the training season closed with a trip to Leipzig for the fourth time. Laura and Rory enjoyed a good time at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly, in London being refreshed by excellent Bible teaching and making a number of new contacts from France, The Gambia and Serbia.
The training diary for the year ahead is rapidly filling up with bookings confirmed for most of our regular venues in the UK, France and Hong Kong as well as new opportunities in Edinburgh, Nottingham, Bradford-on-Avon and a large conference in Malaysia. We are also exploring possibilities in Serbia, Bordeaux (France) and Limerick (Republic of Ireland). It’s always encouraging to be invited to return to a church for follow-up training and exciting to be invited to new places!
Please Pray!Laura has been very unwell and experiencing a great deal of pain. She has undergone a range of tests to establish the cause and is now being treated symptomatically. She’s surviving on very little sleep (due to the pain and medication), and we are all deeply concerned about her. Please do pray that the Lord would be gracious to her and her husband, Toby.
Thank you for your willingness to participate with us in this work.
Items for Prayer
- Give thanks for new contacts made at both Word Alive and the Evangelical Ministry Assembly. Pray that these would translate into training opportunities and the use of our resources.
- Give thanks for the interest in training in South Africa and for the two days that are being planned. Pray for Brenda as she finalises and runs these that she would once again quickly assess and connect with the various sub-cultures in order to better equip them.
- Give thanks for our partnership with Tokai Community Church where Brenda helps with the children’s ministry. Pray that her experience in leading a team will be of benefit to the church and that her ministry there will help to shape our resources for that context.
- Give thanks for Laura and the wonderful gift that she is to TnT. Pray for her and Toby in this time of uncertainty. Pray that the doctors would be able to effectively diagnose and treat her condition and ask that the Lord would graciously heal her body, relieve her discomfort and enable her to sleep properly.
- Give thanks that the Mustard Seeds lessons are helping so many churches to teach the Bible to children. Pray that our team would soon be able to complete the syllabus for 3-11s.
- Give thanks for the many people who have been involved with and supported the work of TnT over the past 25 years. Pray that the Lord would continue to grow the team and this support base so that more people may be equipped to teach the Bible to children more faithfully, more creatively and more effectively.