Wolfgang Simson’s Friday Fax takes a look at the power of a story in Jim Montgomery’s life.
The following is the full email version of Friday Fax:
Friday Fax 2004 Issue 11, 12 March
Jim Montgomery: called by a story
Jim Montgomery, founder of the DAWN movement, which currently supports strategic saturation church planting movements in some 150 nations, recalls how important a story was in his calling: “I was almost 18, about to graduate from high school, wondering what direction my life would take and wishing I had a steady girl friend. I remember almost nothing from the service at First Baptist that morning, except the one illustration that changed my life. Pastor Sands told the story about a young missionary couple beginning their ministry in an isolated outpost. There were no other Americans around. They didn’t yet know the language. The culture was still strange and foreign to them. Living in primitive circumstances soon resulted in a serious illness for the wife, an illness she did not recover from. With his own hands he dug the grave and buried her. That rocked me. I could imagine the missionary husband when he was a teenager with the same longings I had. I pictured their romance, their happy wedding day, their commitment to foreign missions and the tearful good-byes when they left for the field. Now came this devastating blow.”
“It was the punch line to the story, however, that struck home. For Pastor Sands finished by saying this young missionary husband stayed on the field to give the remainder of his life to reaching for Christ the people to whom he was called. After the service, I met Pastor Sands at the altar and told him that it was through that story that I felt the Lord calling me to full-time Christian ministry. My reasoning was that if that young man could give up that which was most precious to him and go right on serving the Lord, the least I could do was surrender my life for ministry as well. Were it not for that story there might not be a DAWN strategy or a Dawn Ministries.”
Source: Jim Montgomery, Dawn Ministries, www.dawnministries.org
Norway: one new church every two weeks
“In 1994, most of Norway’s denominations initiated a long-term church planting process. YWAM leader Alv Magnus and pastor Øivind Augland led the common platform which caused various ‘positive side effects’ for the nation, including reconciliation, a discussion forum, an incubator for new forms of church and a place in which all can be part of the big picture,” reports Reinhold Scharnowski, European Dawn Coordinator. Since 1994, over 300 new churches have been planted in all regions. Today, a new church is planted on average every two weeks. Christian churches can be systematically multiplied in Norway, perhaps contrary to expectations for such a typical European nation.
The following statistics show the movement’s dynamism:
Period Number of new churches
Lutherans heading the church planting statistics
Of the 58 new churches planted in 2003, the Lutheran State Church planted 10, more than any other denomination. International research has shown that denominations which plant new churches grow, whereas those which do not typically stagnate. “Even if 58 new churches doesn’t sound like much in a nation of 4.5 million, they are a clear signal that the Church is alive,” says Scharnowski. On 13th January 2004, Dagen, the nation’s largest daily newspaper, printed a whole page listing all the nation’s new churches ? surprising in a Western European nation.
Intercessors and apostolic leaders work hand in hand “One of the secrets of the growing unity and fruitfulness in Norway is the cooperation between prophetic intercessors and apostolic action,” says Scharnowski. “Church planting conferences always have a parallel prayer conference; two important activities which belong together, and strengthen each other. These two streams ? intercessors and church planters ? used to be separated, speaking different languages, and hardly acquainted with each other. These streams have now found each other, perhaps an inheritance from the many hundreds of Prayer Houses founded during the revival movement around HansHaugge.”
Source: Reinhold Scharnowski, www.dawneurope.net and DAWN Norge www.dawnnorge.no
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