Provision of clarity and wisdom this weekend at my quarterly prayer retreat seeking God’s will and direction for my life, family, and the work in Minnesota
Salvation and growth in Christ for the people we are serving
God’s faithful provision for the growing work
Harmony, unity, and a shared vision of the church Jesus is planting in MinnesotaFunds and a place to worship weekly with our growing groups
Another young man formally committed to the church plant and we are working through the process of membership with him
Laura and some of the kids served the women and children of Healing House by teaching the group and leading the kids in activities
Laura was approved to start a women’s Bible Study in July
Baby Strong is doing great
Mike attended the BMAA National Meeting with his new intern, Isaiah, who has completed assessment and was approved and introduced to the churches
Mike was elected by the churches of the BMAA to serve as a Trustee on the Baptist Publishing House board
We continue to have new visitors at our various Bible Studies
|Good Afternoon Brothers and Sisters,I am excited to report back to you about what has taken place in the last month. We have been able to witness God opening lots of new doors and bringing great growth through the work.|
BMAA NATIONAL MEETING
First, a young man I have been discipling and working with, Isaiah, completed his assessment and was approved by the churches of the BMAA to join me as an intern (officially) beginning in June. We are working on a plan to focus our discipleship time together to invest in him while working together to invest in our community making disciples. He will learn biblical exegesis, core theology, homiletics, and general leadership skills. We hope to have a robust internship program that multiplies well equipped, spiritually mature ministers, especially in the area of church planting. I am praying and looking for additional interns to serve and be assessed for a season before being referred to my missions organization for assessment. This is the same path Isaiah traveled.
Second, I was nominated and approved to serve as a Trustee on the Baptist Publishing House board. This is a great honor and encouragement. My heartbeat is the Word of God. I have dedicated my life to the call of making disciples. To be able to serve our people on the board focused on the work of making the Bible accessible to our brothers and sisters is something I cannot wait to invest myself in. BPH makes the BMA’s Sunday school curriculum. This includes children’s curriculum and adult curriculum. Recently, a project has been underway to make BMA books and manuals available to our people. An app was designed to get these important written materials into our people’s hands as they seek to commit the Word to their minds and hearts. There was also a new Bible Truths coloring book created to help children (and adults) learn as they enjoy coloring. I hope to use my gifts to continue to bring life and longevity to this great ministry.
A third area of blessing was in regard to future speaking opportunities. I will wait to announce them until the details are finalized, but I can share that God is opening doors to cross cultural borders and invest myself in brothers and sisters who may not be like me or speak English. I am overjoyed at this opportunity and hope to seek God in serving them well and giving them whatever He has for them to equip and encourage them as they invest their lives in others for the glory of God. I desire to see a truly multicultural, international community worship and serve together weekly in our church planting work. I have also made it known I desire to train up and send out bilingual pastors into the Twin Cities metro to reach the nations with the gospel. This is hopefully the start of that work.
MINISTRY GROWTH AND EXPANSION
Laura and some of the kids were able to serve the women and children of Healing House the day before Easter. Laura led the women and children through two books to share the hope of the gospel. The first is called The Story of Easter and is geared toward babies and toddlers. The second book is The BIG Picture Interactive Bible Stories in 5 Minutes. She taught the story “Jesus Saves His People” which tells of Jesus last days on earth and how the Son of God rescued His people from sin. She then led them through some activities pointing to what happened in the death and resurrection of Christ. This was an awesome opportunity to love our neighbors in a ministry that helps people we are called to serve as well as to disciple our children in what it looks like to be a follower of Christ. Laura has been able to get approval from management at Healing House to begin leading a Bible Study for the women beginning in July. She plans to begin teaching the material in the recent BPH Titus study guide, though that may change.We have been preparing to add new disciple micro group (3-4 people) Bible Studies.
In the meantime, we are seeing new faces attend our study groups. We are praying for them and sharing the hope of the gospel. We are also inviting those who hunger to be discipled to join us as we commit to invest our lives in them. This has been a joy for us and a welcomed invitation to our people. This is part of the reason we are praying and hoping to add faithful men and women as interns. We are looking for those who have some level of skill and character to join us in the work and begin investing themselves in our growing group while leadership invests in them in a special way. Since our last update, we had another young man commit to membership. We are working through some important details prior to completing the process, but hope to see this formally happen soon. We do still have a couple of women who desire to be baptized in accordance with Jesus’ command and their response of faith. We are trying to find a place with a baptismal or pool to host the service.Two of our daughters are gathering people to start their Bible Studies. We are helping them learn how to plan, organize, prepare, and administer studies. This includes creating a formal plan that includes a budget. We hope this will equip them for future ministry fruitfulness within the church wherever God calls them. We may be doing the same thing in a slightly modified way for one of our sons, John, who has a similar interest.As I add interns, I hope to focus my time in a new way leading to more personalized time with each of our people and special blocks of time praying for them. I will be developing faithful men into leaders and looking to see our women developed into the same by my wife and other women called to this work in the coming months. We have a great hope to see fulfillment of Titus 2 in our church plants.
UPCOMING PARTNER OPPORTUNITIES
As noted in our last newsletter, we are hitting our outreach season and there are several plans we could use prayers and financial support to accomplish.Here are the major activities we plan to launch in the next quarter (April-June).
1) SALSA COOKOFF: We are looking to host a salsa cookoff with our men at FreedomWorks. We will use the time to fellowship, play games, and have a special time in the Word and Prayer. Our goal is bonding as a body and seeing growth with some of our relationships with the men who are considering officially committing to membership.
2) RETREATS: We have two upcoming retreats planned. Laura will take a group of women and girls. I will also be taking a group of boys on a retreat. Each retreat is focused on bonding and growing in unity through a time away seeking God in His Word and prayer
3) MOTHER’S DAY TEA PARTY: Laura has been approved to throw a Mother’s Day Tea Party for the women and children of Healing House. The goal is to honor and commend the women there for pursuing help in Christ while also pointing them to what Jesus says about moms and women and that God helps those who need help.
4) FREEDOMWORKS OUTREACHES INCLUDING THE EXTREME TOUR: We will be working alongside FreedomWorks to throw a major outreach for Father’s Day in mid June honoring God and fathers while also reaching out to some of our community. At the end of the month, I will be throwing our largest annual outreach, The Extreme Tour, on-site at FreedomWorks. We hope to reach members of our community who will not come to church, but would come to a concert. Our goal is to share the hope of the gospel with them and to use this event as an opportunity to disciple our people in prayer, evangelism, service, and giving. We also hope to develop leaders. This year we will be teaching leaders who did well last year to serve as a leader over leaders. We also have the good gift of a short-term missions team coming to help us with the event from one of our supporting churches.
5) THEOLOGICAL LIBRARY FUND FOR THE FREEDOMWORKS MEN: Our guys are growing in the Word and in number. We want to provide a starter library to help them continue to go deeper in personal Bible Study. We want to get a set of commentaries, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Coded with Strong’s Concordance Numbers, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (2nd Ed.) or Michael Bird’s Evangelical Theology, and The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
Thanks for your prayers and partnership.In Christ,Mike Strong (on behalf of the Strongs)