Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Journey of faith - Part 4


Part 4 - concluding Part
This June we celebrated 10 years of God's faithfulness to us at Word of Grace. We are in awe at what the Lord has done and how HE has sustained us thus far. 
Here is the final  part of the script of what was shared at our celebratory evening. ( I have added a little more detail here to make it more understandable). As you read it, my prayer is that you will have faith for your situation, to know that in this journey of faith, you NEVER walk alone. If you are a pastor, or involved in a church plant, I hope this  post will be a special blessing to you because this is a story of a BIG FAITHFUL GOD who never lets us down. To connect with all the parts click on label below titled " Journey of Faith".
or To connect with PART 1 of the story, click here and for  PART 2 , click here. and PART 3

The tide is turning.

We had just entered our 7th year of being in Pune. Slowly we began to see a more stable group emerge – the outflow had decreased and the group was getting more cohesive. As we had prayed we started to see more local people  join the church and that was a good sign. Was the tide beginning to turn at last?

Just like Ancient Egypt had 7 years plenty followed by 7 years of famine, our 7 years of famine came to an end.  This was confirmed by a prophetic word brought by Guy Miller at the Momentum Conference we had attended . We had already begun to see a stable group of about 40 emerge toward the end of 2009 . Guy also prophesied about Joseph being thrown into a pit and forgotten. That spoke straight into our hearts and situation. We  responded to that word ,were prayed for and felt a tremendous release. There were God given dreams and numerous prophecies over both Navaz  and I as we served over the years and we longed for their fulfillment.   At the conference, David Stroud who leads a Christ Church in London, spoke about a city church and the turnover of people that every city church experiences. It’s higher in more developed cities due to job mobility.  Having a 25-30% turnover in people is part of modern church life. We were encouraged no to fight the churn but to embrace it and aim to grow at a faster rate.

One of words over Navaz’s life was that God would use here much in the prophetic, in prophetic worship etc. After many years of having written  songs and they just staying in her journal, God gave her the ability to finally craft them into songs that are sung in our church today. This was one area that saw immediate release after this conference. Here is a sound byte where she shares her heart to raise and release musicians. CLICK HERE 

Over the last 10 years over 200 people have passed through WOG (and we have had more than 500 visitors come to us .) I’m not referring to just visitors but people who been with us for a while and then moved on.  Short time or long time, our calling is to love them, equip them and prepare them for what God has called them to and release them. Some of them are back with us while many have moved on.

This evening we have Stephen Parmar who is now in Mumbai and Mnason Patton who is now in Bangalore with us. Mnason was  a great help to the church and played a key role along with Vinoth (now in the UK) in building the church.

Here are a few VIDEO CLIP – SOUNDBBYTES  on what Word of Grace means to different ones in the church CLICK HERE to WATCH


Today .

Over the last year we have seen almost a 100% growth. From 25-30 the church has crossed 100 people.
A church is not a building but is people. A group of people who are passionate about Loving God, loving one another and on a mission to reach out to the world with the gospel.
Here is a short clip of Sravanthi Amloo – from Hyderabad. CLICK HERE TO WATCH 


Teams of servers
At this time I would like to recognize and acknowledge a special group of people who have

 
worked hard and have shouldered responsibility in the church for the past few years. Some have taken up responsibility a few months ago – right from set up to hospitality to serving the drinks to leading life groups. They have served, given and been loyal and bought into the vision of Word of Grace. The key word is carried responsibility.

As I call your name would you please come forward.
Sunny & Deepthi, Anand & Sailaja, Philip & Meher, Joyce, Jaya, Rakhi, Sravanthi, Austin, Jeevan.

Today we have new people on the worship team and new worship leaders being raised up, from just one Sunday school teacher we now have 6, from the serving team being just my family and maybe a couple more we have a whole vibrant army of over 30 people who serve wholeheartedly in different ways. We have much to thank God for!

 We are not only financially self sufficient but we give away money to various church plants, social projects and have even sent money to Kenya and Zimbabwe standing with our brother overseas . We are privileged to be a part of a wider body of Christ .

In addition to these there are 3 other people who are part of this core team. They are Navaz my darling wife who has stood with me these past 10 years in Pune. The Lord has provided me a wonderful partner who makes up for all my many weaknesses. She has carried the church with me right from day 1 and even before when we served in Living Word Church for 8 years. 

  When we moved to Pune with 6 month old Jessica, we would load up the car with the equipment, set up the hall, Navaz would lead worship, then breastfeed Jessica and then be involved in clear up. Thank you Navaz.


She has carried Sunday school, the worship team, set up our website, the bulletin, hospitality, pastoral issues, etc. etc. Wow – what a woman. I thank God for her.

Also our two children Andrew and Jessica have grown up in a church planting atmosphere. They have made many sacrifices  one of which is not having  friends of their age in the church. They have been fully involved in being part of a church plant. Andrew used to handle the OHP projector from the age of 7. From the age of 9 he played the bongos and then the drums.  Jessica too started handling the OHP at the age of 7 and then at the age of 9 she handled the DLP. She has trained other adults on how to use it.

All these today form the core group that serve and have taken on responsibility. I’d like you to put your hands together and honor them. You have served sacrificially and gone the extra mile.
This group is not exclusive. It’s functional. It’s made up of those who not only serve but who take on responsibility. In time we’d like to see many more people become part of this core group as more people take on responsibility.

Apart from this core group there is a large number of people who sacrificially serve in the church. And I am thankful to you. The set up team comes in at 8.30 on Sundays, there are others who serve cold drinks, serve us ushers, count the offering, serve on Sunday school, etc.
Here is a clip of our Serving Team in action CLICK HERE TO WATCH 
If you have served in any capacity would you please stand.     
I thank you for your service.

Meher Lazarus is an excellent English Teacher with St. Helena’s and as her name implies she is from a Parsi and a Roman Catholic background. Here’s a little clip on her impressions of WoG. CLICK HERE TO WATCH

Philip & Meher came to know Jesus, were baptized and joined WOG 3 years ago. They have a great heart for hospitality and have opened their hearts and their homes to visitors and church members.

There is one person we are very grateful to God for i.e Ryan for giving us this hall for the last 10 years. He has been our man of peace who has been a blessing to the church.
Jesus came to seek and serve the lost and to give his life as a ransom for many. At Word of Grace our desire is to imitate our Savior. We want to be people who seek servanthood not titles.

Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here. A friend (who is not a Christian) said this to me recently. Colin, your wasting your time in this country. Go abroad. You will have a better live. This place is so corrupt. I told him. I have a great life here. The reason I am in this country is because it is corrupt. Only the gospel will change the nation. If the gospel had not come to India a couple of hundred years we would still be in the dark ages. “ Only when Jesus is accepted as Savior and Lord will India be transformed. Our mission is the one Jesus outlined 2000 years ago. Love God. Love People.  Love the Lost. Preach the gospel.  His last command must be our first priority – Go and make disciples of all nations.

 Our goal at WOG is to make disciples who make disciples. Enjoying God. Making Friends and Changing Lives. As John Wesley said “The world is my parish! “and we want to see the Kingdom of God come here in Pune and also be involved in taking the gospel to regions beyond. There is a lot to do and we are excited about this next phase God is taking us into.

What are some of the things we are so thankful to a faithful God for?
  • ·        Sustaining us over these last 10 years – His grace has given us the strength to perseveres through 7 years of hardship, drought, hostility, betrayal and loneliness.
  • ·        Providing for us financial through our business ventures.
  • ·        For men and women that God sent from time to time to encourage us
  • ·        Despite the hardships we saw souls saved and many get baptized.
  • ·        The turnaround in 2010 where we started the year with about 40 people but closed the year with 105!
  • ·        We have gone from one Life Group to 3 with an average of 40-50 people attending it.
  • ·        Musicians we have raised up and given away.
  • ·        Increase in the church finance by 40%
  • ·        Many leaders we have raised up and given away.
  • ·        For a new team of serving leaders of 13!
  • ·        InDepth Discipleship program that saw its first batch of 13 graduate and a new batch of 20 that have registered.
  • ·        Sunday school teachers – from 1 to now having 6 teachers!
  • ·        Serving teams of about 35 people who serve joyfully.

·        For the many songs Navaz has written to bless the church and that are sung regularly in our midst. You can listen to the songs by clicking on the link.
 CLICK HERE 

·        For great friends in the neighborhood who have been like an oasis in the dessert.
·        For many, many answers to prayer right from praying for barren wombs to become fruitful , to jobs being released, to the sale and purchase of homes, to the cough and cold being healed.
·        The list could go on and on…

Celebrating 10 years is a milestone on a journey that has only just begun. Greater things are yet to come. We all have a part to play.  We are ever thankful to a faithful God. Amen.
 I end with a clip on me stating our vision as Word Of Grace
CLICK HERE TO WATCH



Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.

English Language Service 10am. Please check google maps for directions