9-4-04, retreat___charge! 9-10-04, values9-20-04, update
Today we had a good time with our friends Scot and Carol Musser, along with teammates Ned
and Joanie Steffens. First we went to Mountainview Church, a an international church on the other side of
Madrid. It takes an hour to get there, but it was worth the trip. The church is based on cell groups, but also
has a very creative monthly worship service. Today Pastor Troy Cady started a series on the Apostles Creed. At
one point as he attempted to explain the Trinity, a person from the congregation stood up and said "Wait a minute. You
can't have it both ways. Either God is one or God is three." She was a "plant" from the church, a great technique to present a difficult concept through dialogue. He also interspersed some improvisational drama.
Afterward the Steffens and Mussers and we discussed the service and how it might apply to what
we are trying to do. The Mussers are very involved at Evangelical Christian Academy, where Scot is the Director,
but they have a heart for establishing a church in Camarma and will help as much as they can. We shared the 8 values
we've developed so far (that we shared with you last week). We will continue the process of coming up with a vision
and strategy this week. Pray as we continue this process and start making important decisions related to the establishing
of a church here.
Mark and Kay
Sometimes we need to get away from the routine of daily life to clear our minds, to
pray and to make sure we are focused on God's perspective. Jesus did it before declaring the reason He'd come to
earth, immediately before selecting the disciples, and before his arrest and crucifixion. (Luke 4:42; 6:12; 22:39-41). We
just returned from great retreat for the Camarma Initiative team: Ned and Joanie Steffens, Kay and me. Some
important things happened, not the least of which is that we grew closer together as friends. We talked about how
our team will function, that we want to "be church" to one another and that we will make decisions by consensus, among other
The most profitable time, from our perspective, was stating our values as
a team. We invited Troy Cady, a missionary with Christian Associates who is planting an international church on
the other side of Madrid, to come and lead us through a brainstorming and consolidation of the values that will direct our
efforts to establish a church. We spent about 6 hours, first just writing down ideas on post-its and sticking them up
on the wall, then consolidating them into 8 categories. Then we summarized those. Here they are:
- We value God centered ministry.
- We value real love and acceptance.
- We value a life style of communicating Christ.
- We value people oriented ministry.
- We value empowered participation.
- We value a growing (or ever deepening) relationship with God.
- We value community and world impact.
- We value a dynamic environment.
This is a work in process. We next need to develop a paragraph explaining each of these
values, then we'll use them to come up with our vision, purpose, and finally the strategy. There are some things that
can't wait for the process, like a decision about whether or not to continue English classes that have been done
in the Camarma public school. They were coordinated last year by a person that is no longer able to do it, and
it's a bigger job than any of us feels we can take on at this point. We'll probably continue English at some level,
but need to decide how much we can do. It would be great if God would raise up someone to coordinate the classes!
Meanwhile we continue to develop friendships with our neighbors that we hope will result in opportunities
to share Jesus with them. This is Fiesta week in Meco. Each town in Spain has a week that they set aside to celebrate,
usually surrounding some saint or manifestation of the virgin. Of course this is just an excuse to party. Events
are scheduled literally around the clock, including running with the bulls through the center of town. Pamplona is the
big one, but other towns do it as well, including Meco, and Greg wants to participate. We'll see! Anyway, we have
invited some neighbors over to barbeque and watch the fireworks Sunday, the last night. In the process we've unwittingly
got caught in the middle of a "disagreement" between some of the ladies. Pray that God will work out the details, and
that we'll have a good time Sunday with those that God wants to come.
And thanks for praying!
Mark and Kay
Next week Greg and the high school at Evangelical Christian Academy (ECA) are going
away for a retreat, and he´s looking forward to it. Our friends Paul and Sarie Anderson will take Ian for a couple
of nights, we´re going to take advantage to get away with our teammates Ned and Joanie Steffens from Tuesday to Thursday.
We definitely want to spend some quality time in prayer and worship as a foundation, something we have been doing. But
it´s also time to start establishing a concrete strategy for the Camarma Initiative, our project to get a church established
in this area.
Here are some specific requests for prayer:
- a good retreat for Greg and his friends, and a good time for Ian with the Andersons.
- unity of purpose and vision between Ned, Joanie, Kay and I as we work out the vision of what this
church will look like.
- wisdom as we talk about our gifts, our personalities and how we will work together as a team.
- that we will grow in love and respect for one another.
- that God will use our time together to establish a foundation for the church He wants established
Our experience is that a team is the most difficult way to establish a church, and the best way
to establish a church. It's difficult because our old selves keep getting in the way, and Satan likes to attack us through
interpersonal relationships. It's best because the sharing of gifts and the opportunity to love one another allow
us to model what church is supposed to look like.
Thanks for praying with us!
Mark and Kay