Monday, March 22, 2010


Mark and Cheryl Witherden (pictured) have been in Driffield for two years. This church, like several others in our Movement, has long outgrown the original building and worships in a school which retaining the original facility for youth and childrens work. This was my first visit to the congregation. It was an enjoyable day at this long-established Elim Church in the heart of Yorkshire.

Emerging leaders

This group of Elim ministers that met for a three day conference at our International Centre in Malvern were participating in an ongoing leadership program led by Nigel Tween and Chris Cartwright. These seminars are not for those who are emerging 'into' leadership but for those who are emerging into a new dimension of leadership and are seeking to enhance the skills and abilities that they already possess. It was great to engage in the interaction that followed the two sessions that I had been invited to take.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Newquay Christian Centre

The first time I visited Elim in Newquay was over twenty years ago. In those days the congregation numbered around 35 people. I have spoken at Newquay Christian Centre many times since and especially during the years that Mike and Shelagh Robins (pictured) have been there. It seems that on every occasion new facilities have been purchased, people added to the team or another threshold has been reached.

I left home at 4:30am in the morning for the first of the two Sunday morning services that now accommodate this constantly growing church. Arriving at 7:45am I was met by the musicians who were waiting for the church to open so that they could set up prior to the first service at 9 a.m. - that's commitment!

The complex already consists of a sanctuary, youth centre, administration block, restaurant and purpose-built residential accommodation. At the close of the second service Mike took me to view a 700 seater facility adjacent to their current complex the front of which faces into the main street of the town and is one of the most high profile buildings in Newquay. They had completed on the sale only a few days earlier. Mike and Shelagh, and the team around them, continue to make a major impact in the town and surrounding area.


My admiration for Bob and Edith McDonald knows no bounds!

Having pastored in Elim the UK for forty years, and approaching the age of retirement, many would assume that it was now time for them to slow down.

Through remarkable events that will be featured in Direction magazine at a later date, they decided instead to sell up home to live in one of the most economic-disadvantaged areas of Romania.

However, when around thirty-five children and young people began meeting in their home it was clear that their vision need to be enlarged.

The reason for my visit was to officially open a purpose-built youth centre on two floors. This excellent building is the only centre for young people for several miles around. It was a delight for Bob and Edith to witness during the two dedication services on the day, over 300 parents and children in attendance. Several teams from Elim churches in the UK have gone out to work short-term with the McDonald's and at the opening ceremony there was was representation from the Elim churches in Bradford and Dundee as well as Pastor Robin Baker from Redditch.

Pentecostal churches are spreading rapidly across Romania and already number around two thousand. In the nearby city of Cluj there are several Pentecostal churches with over a thousand in attendance. Before leaving I was asked to address a meeting at one of the largest centres which comprised of senior Pentecostal leaders in the area.

The sacrificial love and commitment that Bob and Edith have shown to some of the poorest people in the country is mirrored in the hearts and lives of the young people who have come to see them as spiritual parents. Remember them, and those they serve, in your prayers.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Chaplains Conference

Elim Chaplains gathered at Elim's International Centre for their second annual conference in Malvern. The venue was hosted by Nigel Tween, Director of Training. The chaplains work in a wide variety of ministry ranging from hospitals, prisons, the fire service, the police service, airports and the armed forces. It was delight to speak at the opening session.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Formby Elim Church

Malcolm and Denise Dyer (pictured) came to Formby after a fruitful period in Malcolm's ministry as a senior lecturer at Regents Theological College. Feeling a call to pastoral ministry he accepted the pastorate of the church located in the Liverpool/Southport area.

Some weeks prior to my visit the church had entered a process of re-visioning and, by the time I arrived, it was clear that there was a very clear dynamic of faith and expectancy that permeated the whole congregation.

It was an absolute joy to spend time at Formby and to meet a group of people who were evidently looking forward to everything that God has in store for them in the future.

Onehope Conference - Miami, Florida

One of the most amazing and successful missions organisations in the world is also, remarkably, one of the least known. Onehope publish the "The Book of Hope" which is an evangelistic tool that has a version for children and for teenagers. It puts the gospel in clear graphical form and has recently distributed its six hundredth million copy: making it the biggest publication after the Bible itself. Many thousands of people have been reached for Christ through this ministry which now has a digital animation DVD called The God-man - produced by Hanna Barbara - probably the best know cartoon creators in the world. . Another amazing statistic is that everything is made available free of charge to the local church at the point of contact. I was invited to Miami for their annual conference. It was a powerful missions opportunity.