Acts 29 Expands into the UK – Brilliant!
Acts 29 Expands into the UK – Brilliant!
By Pastor Scott Thomas
May 4, 2009
Steve Timmis, co-author of Total Church, will direct a new Acts 29 Network in Western Europe beginning today. Steve is handing off The Crowded House duties, an alliance of gospel communities in Sheffield, England to focus on establishing a wider network of churches planting new churches all across Western Europe.
Steve and I first interacted when he graciously sent his Total Church manuscript to me to review. Not having any reference for Steve, I set it aside for a week and then something prompted me to read his chapter on Church Planting. I was thrilled at the theological clarity combined with the gospel-oriented praxis. I then read his chapter on World Missions, which was equally intriguing, fresh and saturated with the gospel. I proceeded to suggest almost 300 changes to the manuscript, most to correct Britain’s version of “English!” A kindred relationship was forged between us, mostly around the gospel and mission of Jesus, but occasionally around our common snarky attitudes.
I invited Steve to speak at an Acts 29 Boot Camp in Seattle where he was well received and sparked an interest among the church planters searching how to articulate the establishment of a church around the gospel and community.
I told him that we had to get this manuscript published in America and about that time, Crossway formed a relationship with us and the Re:Lit line
In London last summer, Driscoll, Steve and I spoke at a conference together for church planters. Something significant happened to me there. Mark had spoken non-stop for five days and was tired. I told him after his first session to leave and get recharged before his final session, which he gladly agreed. When we announced a break, the planters did not leave. Instead, many formed an impromptu line like we were handing out free donuts to eagerly ask questions of Steve and me. I was used to a throng of planters waiting in line to speak to Mark. It happened the week prior in Brighton, England. But he wasn’t even in the building. The men begged us to help them start a church or revive a church in one of the 12 countries represented at that conference. My favorite was a planter wannabe from Liverpool. With a John Lennon accent, he said that God had called him to plant a church in Liverpool but that he wasn't sure how he was going to plant a new work. I think his exact words were, “I haven’t got a bloody clue, Mate.” We turned lunch into a question and answer session to accommodate all of the interest. The verse that kept coming to me was "For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries" (1 Cor 16:9).
A door was opening but we were not equipped to walk through it. We needed someone who understood the culture; who was well-respected; who knew how to plant a church in a European context and who knew how to work with other church planting groups already present for the advancement of the gospel.
I returned from London and asked our Lead Pastor, Jamie Munson to allow me to concentrate on Acts 29 almost exclusively so that we could plant churches around the world. He gladly obliged, sensing a call for global church planting. I transitioned most of my pastoral duties at Mars Hill and prayed for an answer.
At our inaugural World Church Planter’s Summit in March, Steve made himself available to lead this European network. It was an answer to a prayer that began in London after numerous men begged for help in establishing a gospel-centered work in their part of the world. “Go and make disciples of all nations” was the authoritative command of Jesus. We had no more excuses.
We are honored to have Steve Timmis join our network as a proven pastor, trainer, church planter and author. We pray that he will be a movement leader through Acts 29 that will help assess, train and send out hundreds of church planters into a post-Christian world that needs the gospel desperately.
Church Planting Foundations
Acts 29 Conference
June 9-10, 2009