Having made something of a major move, and due to circumstances not been able to give too much explanation initially, I thought I would share a little more now that I am able.
The short answer is that we are in Sunderland to share the Gospel with the lost, to edify believers and help train others to go into full time ministry. But, that is just the easy answer. Why Sunderland?
We have come to work in two mission halls. Historically they have been linked with a "mother" church in the city of Sunderland. The two halls, along with 7 others in the past, were evangelistic centres. Those who came to Christ at the halls mostly went on to become members at Bethesda, the church responsible for beginning the missions in the first place.
Over the years various halls have become separate from Bethesda and two remain, Hallgarth Mission and Ford Estate Mission. Both halls have a handful of people and own their own buildings.
We have come here to drive the evangelism while increasing and bringing structure to the preaching and teaching ministry. Our goal is to build up both missions to become entirely self-sufficient while keeping working relationships with Bethesda.
I am working closely with the leadership at Bethesda to achieve these goals. Further, a Bible school has recently been started at Bethesda with links to the Bible school I help lead in Northern Ireland.
These first couple of months will be very much times of getting settled while prayerfully seeking the Lord’s will on how to proceed. It is my aim to have a full plan of action to announce in January 2009.
It is without doubt a wonderful opportunity that could have wide ranging impacts. Please continue to pray.