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China Church Plant Update (by Mark Tolson)

An update is finally here! We arrived back in the country on the 3rd of this month, and we are running at full steam. I haven’t written much or been able to put out many updates because of all the changes that are taking place. Our plans seem to keep evolving as we take each step.

I had a post drafted about the next step for our church “Grace” as they were finally going to be moving from renting a restaurant two hours a week to having their own place full-time. Then, since I drafted that post, plans changed again!

Everyone is a little confused on what is going on and which church is doing what (since plans are changing weekly) so this post will, hopefully, clear everything up.

A new direction for the churches: “Gospel B.C.” started on Sunday April 7, 2013 (17 months old). It has been the focal point of the ministry here in the city. The church started with my family and a couple Chinese contacts. It has slowly grown seeing some saved and baptized. “Grace B.C.” started on April 6, 2014 (5 months old) and was birthed out of a Bible study where we saw people getting saved and baptized. Starting this coming Sunday, September 28, 2014, Lord willing, we are going to merge these two small churches into a larger church. Gospel B.C. will be merging into Grace B.C. Therefore, after this Sunday we will only have Grace B.C., and it will be the new focal point of the ministry here.

We have wanted to do this for a long time, but the distance between the churches has kept us from going forward with it. Now, we have found a way to make it possible and we are excited about this new change.

About Dalian Grace Baptist Church: We started hosting preliminary Bible studies in October of 2013 with a group of young people who were 95% unbelievers. After teaching the gospel for several months, we started seeing people saved, baptized, and discipled. Then in 2014 we turned the Bible study into a church because of the distance it was from the other church.

Grace B.C. has never had their own building space. They have always been meeting in restaurants. When they were only a bible study, they rented a pizza place for an hour a week. Then when they became a church, they rented a banquet room in a Chinese restaurant for 2 hours.

The changes started because one of the goals, when we got back, was to find office space to be able to work from on a daily basis for studying and training. (A lot of our manpower is being raised up out of Grace and I wanted to be closer to where they lived. Previously, we were meeting outside or my house for our training time.) We couldn’t find anything suitable or affordable that was considered “official office space,” so we started looking at apartments.

We thought we might be able to find something to use as office space and church meeting space. Long story short, the last apartment we looked at was perfect for what we needed and more. The new location and size of the building we were going to rent started to cause us to think about what else we could change.

Also, since Grace B.C. was only meeting once a week, many of their members were going to the services at Gospel B.C. to get more teaching. At times, there would be more Grace people there than Gospel. This signified something needed to be changed.

The following thoughts led us to merge the two churches together:

  • Location: The new location helps meet the needs of both places. Even though, it is still considered “far” for those coming from the other part of town, we will no longer be renting a building over there and can help with the cost of their transportation.
  • Manpower: The lack of full-time manpower; I am the only one that is full-time now, therefore, I can only spend the majority of my time in one place. As a result one place was growing more than the other. On the other hand, we do have the manpower to take the church to the next level, since it isn’t only me serving now.
  • Training: We have a few young men who are considering full-time ministry. They are all from the same part of town. So I set up office in that part of town so I can be around and start training them more. We are slowly moving towards becoming a training center.
  • Fruit: We see more fruit in one part of town than the other. There could be many reasons for this, but we want to focus more of our time and efforts to where the harvest is.
  • Services: Gospel was meeting twice a week, Sunday night and Thursday night. Grace was meeting once a week on Sunday morning, for Sunday School and Worship. We weren’t able to start more at each location because of workers, but now that the churches are one, they will meet three times a week, Sunday morning for Sunday School and Worship, Sunday Night and Wednesday Night.
  • Culture: We have tried to figure out the culture of the city and see how expensive or cheap things should be done so it can be reproduced. We have started out the cheaper route but we are seeing we can do things nicer than before (and it goes with the culture of the city), so we are trying to go that route and make things more officially “churchish”.

How can you help? I am glad you asked!

As this young church takes a step of faith, we want to ask if you are willing to help through prayer and giving.

Will you choose at least one day a week to pray for Dalian Grace Baptist Church? If so, leave the day in the comments!

Will you be willing to give any amount to help this church go forward over the next year:

  • $4,800 – First Year’s Rent at $400 a month. (Can you give one month’s rent?)
  • $480 – 120 Bibles at $4.00 each. (Purchased!)
  • $308 – 44 Extra Chairs at $7 each.
  • $150 – Nursery/Kids Tables, Chairs, Furnishings.

Please sent all donations to Vision Baptist Missions, P.O. Box 442, Alpharetta, GA 30009 and write Dalian Grace Baptist Church in the memo.

Thank you in advance for praying and giving. We know that you will be a blessing as you always are. We couldn’t do this without the supporters like we have! God bless!

 

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