But, We Can Plant Churches?

So, if we need to reach the people who live in rural areas, we can simply plant new churches, can’t we?

Firstly, it’s good to plant new churches! But, we cannot plant new conventional churches in villages: they are too small.

OK, we can plant churches in the small towns, then? Towns of 3,000 people or more, for example. Yes, that can work, but I need to say that from our own experience it is not easy. Let me explain.

If the first thing we do is to plant a church, we need Christians to start the church. In small towns, there are often some Christians, but it’s difficult to attract enough Christians who are willing to be committed to a new church.

It is not necessarily the case that the Christians in the town will be ready to do evangelism in the town and the villages around the town. At the least we will need to do some training. For conventional evangelism we need enough people with enough spare time.

Something which, for me, is more important than what I have mentioned already is the fact that if we evangelise the villages from the town we are going to ask the new Christians to come to the church in the town. If we do this, we will cut the link between the new Christians and their family and friends in the village where they live. That is a big problem, because we risk losing the rest of the village for the sake of gaining just one new Christian. This is called extraction evangelism and we don’t want to do this.

So, we can plant conventional churches in the towns and try to attract people from the town and the villages through conventional evangelism. But, it is not at all easy to do this and, for the villages, we are simply doing extraction evangelism with it’s bad results.

Hmmm. What can we do…?

Mais, On Peut Implanter des Églises ?

Alors, si on a besoin d’atteindre les gens qui habitent dans les zones rurales, on peut simplement implanter des nouvelles églises, non ?

Premièrement, c’est bon d’implanter des nouvelles églises ! Mais, on ne peut pas implanter des églises conventionelles dans les villages : ils sont trop petits.

D’accord, on peut implanter des églises dans les petites villes peut-être ? Des villes de 3 000 personnes ou de plus, par exemple. Oui, ça peut marcher, mais il faut dire que, selon notre propre expérience, ce n’est pas facile. J’explique.

Si la première chose on fait est d’implanter une église, on a besoin des chrétiens pour commencer l’église. Dans les petites villes, il y a souvent quelques chrétiens, mais c’est difficile d’attirer assez de chrétiens qui veulent s’engager dans une nouvelle église.

Ce n’est pas forcement le cas que les chrétiens dans la ville seront prêts de faire l’évangélisation dans la ville et dans les villages qui entourent la ville. Il faut au moins faire de la formation. Pour l’évangélisation conventionelle on a besoin d’assez de personnes et du temps libre aussi.

Quelque chose qui est, pour moi, plus important que ce que j’ai mentionné est le fait que si on évangélise les villages de la ville on va demander aux nouveaux chrétiens de venir à l’église dans la ville. Si on fait ça, on coupe le lien entre les nouveaux chrétiens et leur famille et leurs amis dans le village où ils ou elles habitent. Cela est un gros problème, parce qu’on risque de perdre le reste du village pour gagner un seul nouveau chrétien. Cela s’appelle l’évangélisation par extraction et on ne veut pas la faire.

Alors, on peut implanter les églises conventionelles dans les villes et essayer d’attirer les gens de la ville et les villages à travers l’évangélisation conventionelle. Mais, ce n’est pas du tout facile de faire ça et, pour les villages, on fait simplement l’évangélisation par extraction avec ses mauvaises résultats.

Hmmm. Qu’est-ce qu’on peut faire… ?

The Situation in France and the Plateau Picard

What is the situation of the Kingdom of God in France as a whole?

The population of France is around 67 million, but there are only around 650,000 people who identify as Evangelical Christians (about 1 person in 100).

So, there are more than 66 million people who do not yet know Jesus. The overwhelming majority of these people have no access to the good news about Jesus, especially those who live in rural areas.

More than half of the population of France live in communes (villages or towns) of less than 10,000 people, a quarter live in communes of less than 2,000 people.

Our interest at the moment is the Plateau Picard, which we define as the area between Clermont-de-l’Oise in the south and and Amiens in the north and Ham in the east and Grandvillers in the west. For this area, the population is nearly 250,000, living in 456 communes.

About 93% of the population live in small communes of less than 5,000 people, more than half live in communes of less than 1,000 people.

There are very few Evangelical Christians on the Plateau. Our own experience tells us that the overwhelming majority of the people who do not yet know Jesus have no access to the good news about Jesus, especially those who live in the smallest communes.

What a challenge! How can we reach the people of this area with the good news of Jesus? It seems impossible…

La Situation : La France, Le Plateau Picard

Quelle est la situation du Royaume de Dieu dans la France entière ?

La population de France est d’environ 67 millions, mais il n’y a que 650 000 personnes qui s’identifient comme chrétiens évangéliques (environ une personne sur 100).

Alors, il y a plus de 66 millions de personnes qui ne connaissent pas encore Jésus. L’immense majorité de ces personnes n’a aucun accès à la bonne nouvelle sur Jésus, particulièrement ceux qui vivent dans les zones rurales.

Plus de la moitié de la population de France vit dans les communes de moins de 10 000 personnes, un quart vit dans les communes de moins de 2 000 personnes.

Notre intérêt en ce moment est le Plateau Picard, qu’on définit comme la zone entre Clermont-de-l’Oise au sud d’Amiens au nord et Ham à l’est et Grandvillers à l’ouest. Pour cette zone, la population totale est presque 250 000. La population vit dans 456 communes.

Environ 93% de la population vit dans les petites communes de moins de 5 000 personnes, plus de la moitié vit dans les communes de moins de 1 000 personnes.

Il y a très peu de chrétiens évangéliques sur le Plateau. Notre propre expérience nous dit que l’immense majorité des personnes qui ne connaissent pas encore Jésus n’a aucun accès à la bonne nouvelle sur Jésus, particulièrement ceux qui vivent dans les plus petites communes.

Quel défi ! Coment peut-on atteindre les gens de cette zone avec la bonne nouvelle de Jésus ? Cela semble impossible…

Version Multilangue ! / The Blog Goes Dual-Language !

From here on, I’m planning to put duplicate versions of a number of posts: one in English and one in French. The goal is to provide a resource for French Christians who might arrive here through a web search.

Dès ce point, j’ai l’intention de faire un certain nombre de posts en anglais et aussi en français. Le but est de fournir une ressource pour les chrétiens français  qui peut arriver ici à travers des recherches sur internet.

A Quick Catch-Up

This purpose of this post is to fill in some holes regarding what we have been up to in the last  two years or so.

As this post describes, in early 2017 we expected to be moving to live and work in Amiens. However, it became apparent that this was not God’s plan, as we were unable to find anywhwere to live!

Unexpectedly, we then spent 7 weeks in Clermont-de-l’Oise, working with Église la Source and getting to know the people there. Not very long into this time we strongly felt that God wanted us to move longer-term to Clermont: this was the place He wanted us to be. Of course, that left us with the same issue as in Amiens: how to find somewhere to live when you have no employment or track-record in France!

Well, God provided us with somewhere to live, in a miraculous way. Not just somewhere that “would do,” but a flat with a perfect layout and size in a wonderful location. It’s just like God to not do the bare minimum but to say “Ta-da! See what I can do for you if you trust Me?!”

We moved lock stock and barrel to Clermont in July 2017, after the final stages of a very radical clear-out of our belongings!

We spent the next year and a bit very heavily involved in our local church: prayer activities, small groups, teaching, evangelism… all the while improving our French in real life situations. We also continued the work that our Pastor, John Paul, had begun in teaching English to adults through the local library. Joanna also works with John Paul’s wife, Stephanie, to teach English to children, also through the library. It’s really enjoyable and satisfying to be able to help the community of Clermont in this way as volunteers.

Since we came to Clermont our hearts had always been centred on the Plateau Picard: the rural area north of us, between Clermont and Amiens. In the autumn of 2018 it became clear that this was where God wanted us to focus more and more of our attention.

What happened then? Stay tuned…