Munich Adventure

Nathan, Rada, Anya & Aleksa's move to Munich…

Tag: Gateway Church

A bit of chocolate goes a long way

In the classic film Chocolat we see the amazing protagonist open up a chocolaterie in the middle of a closed off, overly religious and legalistic French village.  The mayor and other prominent villagers ensure she is made very unwelcome yet, one by one, she brings life to the more excluded villagers through a non judgmental attitude, an ability to see the potential in each of them and, of course, through amazing tasting chocolate!  Relationships are restored and the village transformed!

In some ways this really resonates with what we are aiming to do in Munich.  We are not seeking to find a place within church walls to which people can come to us.  We are seeking to set-up our lives outside of formal church structure and encounter people with whom we can share a bit of the life of God with.  Similar to Chocolat it is important that we are non-judgmental, look for the best in others and, of course, eat great food together!

Many people have recommended we read Alan Scott’s Scattered Servants book that came out last year.  It is a very special book that exhorts its readers to bring life to the cities they live in, not through great quality church meetings, but through scattering throughout their neighbourhoods and loving people wherever they find them.  This is what we love to do and this is what we believe God has called us to!

“You are My children and I have given you good things to share.  As you follow Me, you will encounter people who are far from Me, who are fighting for faith, struggling in their marriages, longing for healing, wondering if I am alive.  As you meet them, share what I give you for them.  Don’t worry if it feels like you have nothing to offer.  It is My pleasure to send you out empty but bring you back full.”

SCATTERED SERVANTS, P44

Onwards & Upwards

At the start of this year a dear friend of ours shared a clear word that she felt God wanted to encourage us with… ‘onwards and upwards’!

There were several applications to this word but she suggested we go to a high place in Munich and pray for the city and seek God for his heart for the communities spread out below us.  There is something amazing about gaining a little bit of a higher perspective for the place where you spend most of your daily routine.  I guess you get out away from the distractions and see that you are part of something bigger, and begin to feel God’s heart for your community. And so with our wonderful friends Andi & Annika we climbed to the top of Olympia Berg in the Bavarian spring sunshine, and sought God for Munich.

Gateway Church Munich praying on Olympia Berg

Following our first high altitude prayer we have selected several other highspots in the city and will continue to pray from these places over the coming months.  Please do join us in praying for this great city.  There are so many people here who are spiritually hungry, yet seem lost and without direction or purpose.  We know that it is only through prayer that people truly turn to God, and that prayer is a critical ingredient in the transformation of cities, nations and continents.

I recently read that the wave of prayer that preceded the Indonesian revival of 1999 was mainly conducted on top of office blocks because they were forbidden from constructing church buildings.  Thousands of Christians changing their nation by praying on their knees (high above the people below them!)  How amazing it would be to see the hand of God moving all over Munich and beyond, changing lives and communities, because there are people joining together in prayer!

The rusty hinge of human history turns out to be the bended knee.

pete greig, dirty glory

God’s Ambassadors

My cousin Jason, and his wonderful family, have been living on a creek in the Amazon for a significant number of years.  At the end of last year Jason sent me this encouragement which has stayed with me powerfully:

…you are God’s ambassadors, sent by the Spirit, with the highest calling that any created being can receive, to proclaim Christ! This is why you live in that particular street, work for that particular company, why your children go to those particular schools, why you shop where you shop…

The German word for embassy has the same meaning as the word for message – die Botschaft.  (Of course the etymological path is similar in English, just not as obvious.)  So ambassadors have a message to proclaim!  This little linguistic nugget reminded me of Jason’s words.

This is important to me because our phase of life and mission at the moment could at times be described as mundane, it is often hard work and not quite what I imagined ‘missionary life’ was like while I was growing up reading about Christians sent to far flung corners of the globe.  For us, this means the kids getting out the house before 7am for school, continuing to struggle through German language, challenging employment, periods of isolation.  However, on those dark mornings and weary evenings it is important for us to remember that we are ambassadors for Christ!

This means our mission is of the highest purpose and our equipper is of the highest calibre.  Like Q is always giving James Bond gadgets that come in handy at just the right moment, God has many good gifts for us to help us achieve the mission.  Sometimes that might include an Aston Martin, but even when your car is not what you might want, the spiritual gifts that God gives us are vital and should not be taken for granted or neglected.

The calling goes for all Christians everywhere!  When life feels tough, boring, discouraging, painful, hopeless etc. etc. then we remember on whose behalf we are living and for what purpose….we are God’s ambassadors, sent by the Spirit, to proclaim Christ!

The latest UK mission team came to help us in January. Next one due out in April.

 

God Loves Munich – first event!

On Sunday 29th October we hosted our first public event as a church plant.  As we are a small team we needed to enlist a lot of help from friends [*credits below] but it was a great feeling to make a positive statement about who we are, what we believe, and what we are dreaming of.

We hired a room above one of Munich’s most iconic beerkellers hoping to make the statement that though we are an international team we desire to plant a German church!  So the location was stunning and we did our best to put together a programme that pointed to God and communicated about his heart for the city of Munich and the nations.

We were enormously blessed by a team of 8 wonderful individuals from Trinity Church London.  For 48 hours before our event hey prayed, they prophesied, they walked the streets, they sat in cafes, they encouraged, they connected with people – anything to build the kingdom of God.  Thank you!

Quite simply, the amount of people who came to help us and support us was the most encouraging thing that could have happened to us.  Of the 35 people who attended, 26 were there because they were helping or providing moral support.  Thank you so much to each one of you.

The other 9 people were also wonderfully encouraging, and the reason that we are here in Munich.  They were diverse in nationality (Malaysian, American, Montenegrin, German, Russian) and all there for different reasons.  Our sincere and deep prayer is that we can remain in contact with them and support them on their discipleship journey.

We hope this event will be regular but it certainly won’t be frequent.  The nitty gritty of what we do as a church planting team is meeting with people individually, informally and semi-formally.  We really believe that the work of discipleship in this post-christian era is achieved through spending quality time with people, not through getting people to attend church meetings.  With this in most of  our activities for the rest of this academic year will all take place in cafes, bars, work places and round dining tables.

Nevertheless, we are planning similar events in January, April and July.  Please do consider coming out to help us with these.  We are especially low on numbers supporting us for the January mission weekend (11-14th).

To whet your appetite here is a little video that Anya put together:

*With thanks to:
Trinity Church London
Duncan Hanton
Uli Pfauth
shirtboxx.de
Susie Minnear
Ronya Lunz
Tabitha
Jonathan Spybey
James Williams
Hofbräukeller
intheflock.com
Tom Kingdom
….everyone who came along to support us
….everyone who prayed and sent encouragements
….and of course the Gateway Church Munich team!

 

Announcing…..Gateway Church München!

13 months after arrival in Munich we have achieved a significant amount in terms of establishing family life and we have placed a fairly ‘under the radar’ flag in the ground that we are here to plant a church in Munich.

As church planters you are always wanting to promote what you are doing because, quite simply, you need people.  Yet at the same time you don’t want to be pretending that you are something you are not.  Doing too much publicity too early can be more damaging than not doing enough publicity later on.  Worst of all, you can be putting yourselves under piles of pressure!

Nevertheless, we feel the time is ripe to take our church planting venture to the next stage.  We have a name, a website and a trio of social media platforms.  Please do take a look, like, follow, write a message, tweet, share etc. etc.

Links to website and social media:

gatewaychurch.de

    

We believe there are people in Munich, Germany, UK and the wider world who need to come and join our church planting team and co-work with us in this God inspired venture.  Please help us get the word out!  (All welcome but bonus points for German speakers!!)

Also, we need something tangible to be able to point new Munich contacts to.  We now have points of reference that we can share with new people we meet to give them the option to follow-up with us if they wish, meaning people can find out about our meetings, values and events.

Finally, a large and worthy shout out to our web designer/builders  intheflock.com.  These guys have been incredibly generous, helpful and professional.  They have served us, been patient with us and shared their skills and passion to enable Gateway Church München to have a website that we believe is just perfect for the stage of church planting we are at.  Thank you sincerely!

 

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