On Saturday 4 July we held our Istanbul and Beyond day in London, focussing on God’s heart for cities across the Middle East. Over 70 people came along, many of them connecting with us for the first time. Andrew Wilson spoke brilliantly from Romans 15 regarding Paul’s call, and ours, to the nations (or as Paul puts it, the Gentiles) saying there are three important elements – the big picture of God’s plan in history as told in scripture, the grace to go, and apostolic ambition.
We then heard from church planters themselves, one sharing the story of his family’s call, and his experience planting a church which is now five years old. Vision was then cast for new cities – especially Diyarbakir in the east of Turkey where we already have a couple working but need a team, as well as in Beirut, Lebanon – again we have team leaders and need to gather a team. In addition to these we heard about Alexandria, Egypt and Baku, Azerbaijan among other strategic cities we need to be praying for.
Later on we heard about some of the lessons we are learning as a movement of churches about church planting in unreached cities and some of the personal cost involved. And to finish the day I talked about some of the issues we need to address here in the UK if we are to build more sending churches and disciple more church planters.
With times of prayer and receiving from God there was a powerful sense of God with us with people getting clearer about their own call and faith growing for their own involvement.