Every year around Christmas, our church takes part in what we call Advent Conspiracy - moving money that we would normally spend on Christmas gifts to help fund global church planting efforts instead. Last year, one of the projects we helped fund was the hire of Gary Aston as church planting strategist for Acts 29 Western Europe, headed up by my friend Steve Timmis. I spent some time with Gary last month during the Acts 29 Retreat in Vail and have asked him to share a bit of his story with you:
I’d been aware of Acts 29 for a number of years, listening to teaching and really benefitting from the resources I was plugged into. I had been serving as a pastor since college but over the past years God had been at work in my heart challenging me about the need for new churches to be planted in the cities of the North of England. This eventually resulted, last year, in me applying to plant a church in partnership with Acts 29. I had a number of meetings with Steve Timmis, the Director for A29 Western Europe and we began to get to know one another. Our plan was for me to support us as a family (I have a wife and two small boys) by going bi-vocational. So I started to raise funds from churches and supporters and look for jobs that would see me working about 3 days a week. It was in the middle of this period that I got a call from Steve. He said that as part of the development of Acts 29 Western Europe he’d like me to consider taking a position working for A29 three days a week. I talked some more with Steve, prayed a lot with my wife and we felt that it was the right decision to make and I confirmed with Steve that I would love to take up the position.
My primary role within Acts 29 WE will be processing applicants and helping to streamline and modify the applications process so that it can be of greater benefit in the Western Europe context. We have an initial group of planters that we are praying will become a core from which we can progress the work forward. I will also be helping arrange and run bootcamps and populate the WE section of the A29 website.
So June and July have been busy months for us as they have seen us move to Leeds- one of the largest cities in the North of England- to begin planting, start work with Acts 29 and make a trip over to the A29 Pastor’s retreat in Vail, Colorado.
It’s really exciting moving into a city we love to plant a church that we pray will see people reached with the gospel. To be able to work for A29 WE in seeing many more churches planted is also a great privilege and a great joy.
If you’d like to know anything more about our plans for Leeds or the work of A29 WE then please just contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again to everyone who invested in last year's Advent Conspiracy. You are part of the reason a new church is being started in the city of Leeds and new churches are being resourced across western Europe. Look for more news about this year's Advent Conspiracy soon!