Archive for March, 2011

Record dinner

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Last night there was a dinner for the church young adults in our house. After a few last minute additions and drop outs, we ended up 25 adults and four children. It is the most we have had for dinner, but by now we have got a bit of a system for such numbers. As well as cooking most of Saturday afternoon, it meant a couple of days of cleaning (which the house needed anyway, so the dinner was a good excuse and motivation for some spring cleaning). So we were quite tired by the end of it. We decided as well that it was not a good idea to do it on the night that the clocks go forward for the beginning of daylight savings! As a novelty for the Italians, who usually have limited culinary experiences and preferences, we prepared Mexican food (tacos), which went down well (literally). The rest of the evening went well also, with a talk and discussion to get the group of young adults active and effective again, after more than a year in hibernation. They are planning to meet again shortly, so we pray that the group will become as strong as it once was.

As usual in this period, there is another big event this week, actually a series of them. During the weekend the International Director of ECM will be visiting Trento, and will give talks and lead discussions on church planting on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. He will then preach on Sunday morning, when there will also be the commissioning service for those who will be going to plant the Rovereto church. So it will be a special and probably moving event as well.

Big events

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Today there was the annual general meeting of the church. These are not always the most exciting of times, but at Trento we tend to have a good spirit in these meetings. In particular, there was today another one of the official steps in the Rovereto church plant, with the church as a body ratifying the birth of the new church. It almost brought a tear to my eye when I wrote, as I took the minutes, that the church unanimously approved the church plant. Everyone without exception agreed with the vision and direction and supports it, which is not a common situation for such a big change in a church. In fact the elder taking the meeting seemed almost disappointed that no one spoke up about the church plant. This of course is the fruit of 17 years of talking about our church planting vision, and especially in the past year talking about the vision and our plans to implement it, getting people’s impressions, and encouraging them to get behind it.

The coming week’s big event (in this period, something big is happening every week) is a dinner for the young adults at our house on Saturday. Of course, it is a while since Pinuccia and I can be counted as young adults, but it will be our way to help this age group. In the last more than a year, the young adults have not been working well as a group, so there is a conscious effort by the church now to relaunch the group. Especially because an active and committed group or young adults is often the “engine room” of the church. With some leaders have already thought about the direction of the group, the dinner will be the first step for the group as a whole. We will be trying to beat our record of last year of fitting 24 adults into our lounge room for dinner – I think we will get almost 30 this time. You could pray especially for Pinuccia, who apart from her usual responsibilities and activities will be doing most of the preparing for the dinner.

Project Week number 1

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

With all the cell group Bible studies until the summer prepared, and just one study to go over and one to prepare for the Youth Group this week, this was the first of my Project Weeks, working on some things in my computer ministry. There were three major projects. The first was adding two new countries into the Italian Operation World web site. Others do the translating, my job is to enter the data into the site, and I will be doing two countries a week for at least the next two months. The second was writing short comments on some Bible verses, which will become a resource available on my Bible web site and computer program, to answer the common questions that I receive about the Bible. The aim is to do a comment every day for the next few months. The third was some computer programming – my favourite hobby. This week it was some Javascript coding, writing a small utility that others can add to their web site in order to automatically display the Bible text in Italian whenever they have written a Bible reference on a web page. It should be ready for its public release around Tuesday, and then I will decide which programming project to work on next – I have a list of quite a few to choose from.

This week will see the next official step in the Rovereto church plant, with the Annual Church Meeting of the Trento church on Sunday afternoon. It is hard to get excited about AGMs usually, but this time the church will formally be giving the go ahead to the new church, so that will be exciting.

The Last Act

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

On Monday there was an important day for my ministry this year: I completed the preparation of the Bible studies that I am doing in Acts, and of the outlines that I prepare for the other group leaders. This means that until the church activities restart in September after the summer break, I just have to go over my notes for each study that I will do. Hence I will have a lot more time for other projects, especially developing the LaParola web site and computer program, that have been more or less static since last August. It did not quite work out this week however. Partly because there were some other small jobs to do, like catching up on some ECM business and replying to e-mails. And partly because there were a lot of extra commitments this week: I visited the Tuesday cell group to talk about the Rovereto church plant, went to the church committee meeting, and did a Sunday School lesson. So I ended up with five nights out in a row, which I have not had to do for a while. But this week is looking good, with just the normal Wednesday night Bible study to go over, and the study for the Youth Group to prepare. So I hope to start an intense period of computer ministry.

One advantage of doing the Sunday School lesson (for the 7-10 year olds) is that every time Stefania and Daniele ask to receive the same lesson on Sunday afternoon. (They get a different lesson for the 3-6 year olds in the morning.) So Pinuccia and I get to do a two child Sunday School, which we love doing.

This week is also the beginning of a seven week campaign from Altrimenti, the social-cultural arm of the church, with the first of five public meetings on the theme of “Liberty” on Thursday afternoon, and a mime show at the theatre on Sunday on “Human Rights”. Pray that we would in this way reach out to our community.