As with other such start-ups, we first met in homes. One major goal was to develop leadership and out of the five male believers mentioned last week, four were potential elders and one possibly a deacon.
This is an unusual situation to start with. In the previous church plant we were involved in, the early believers had been very much fringe people. I earlier described them as starting their spiritual life at minus 22 and it took a long time to get them up to above zero. They all turned out well in spite of the rough spot, some of them going on to do big things for the Lord. Our five present new believers were starting at about minus five and some moved forward rapidly.
However, Satan was not slow in seeking to torpedo this new work. A worker from another group brought a young fellow named Falcon, who claimed to be a believer. He attended regularly but since his earliest contacts had been with the Catholic Church, he began to draw the others in that direction.
Over time, Falcon and Chris left us for the Catholic Church. Falcon said he was more comfortable there because he never had to take any responsibility, and if he didn’t come one Sunday, no one asked him why. Chris had other reasons: he wanted to get to Europe, and the priest promised to help him with that, while we did not.
Then Freedom moved to Europe to marry. He was the one I missed the most, for we had a very close friendship, and his energy, creativity and determination had been key in the development of the fellowship and other believers.
In the founding of Light Fellowship we did a lot of things right, but we also made one big mistake. In focusing on leadership development, we failed to keep up the momentum of evangelism. It is a fact that for a church plant to “take off” there needs to be a “critical mass” of fifteen to twenty committed believers. We never did reach that number and eventually, after we left, Light Church fizzled and was closed down.
That was a very sad event for me; it was the “death of a vision.” On the positive side, however, most of the believers from Light have joined other churches and continue to grow in their spiritual life, and that is a great encouragement.
I have prayed for a “resurrection” of Light Fellowship, clinging to the promise in Psalm 1:3, given to the one who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
That phrase, “Whatever he does prospers,” is what stands out to me. May Light Fellowship prosper in whatever way the Lord chooses! Looking back at it, so far it has been that the believers trained and nurtured have gone on to be a blessing to other fellowships. Prospering from God’s point of view can be very different from our perspective and desires. We need to trust God and move on with Him.
Picture: Freedom and his wife