December 2021- February 2022
We Need Each Other
Big Task, Bigger God
By Joel Teague
Working with Free Will Baptist churches in France over the last decade, we have pinpointed some of the greatest needs of our churches, including training, resources, communication, fellowship, and ordination. We hope to help meet these specific needs and encourage our churches through the Free Will Baptist association in France. We also desire to help strengthen and grow the denomination in France. We feel strongly the Lord has a role for Free Will Baptists to play in the future of the French evangelical church.
Today, people are busier than ever. However, we still need to disciple and train them. While some discipleship and training should take place face-to-face, much can be done online. We are developing a platform available to all French Free Will Baptists that offers easy access to classes on various subjects: Bible, apologetics, doctrine, missions, Christian life, biblical interpretation, etc.
These classes will be web accessible but also available on an app for mobile phones and tablets. This will give individuals the opportunity to grow in their knowledge of God and the Bible, become better equipped for their tasks, and progress at their own pace.
We pray this platform will be a great tool to encourage people to learn, read, grow, and become more involved in churches and communities.
Finding books on Arminian doctrine in the French language is virtually impossible. It is crucial to translate and publish Free Will Baptist books to teach and train future pastors and leaders and answer the questions of church members. We are already working on translating books. The Free Will Baptist Heritage Series of booklets offer a deeper understanding of distinctive Free Will Baptist doctrines. Other books in progress include Free Will Baptist Doctrines by J. D. O’Donnell and Grace, Faith, Free Will and Understanding Assurance and Salvation by Robert E. Picirilli. These volumes will become priceless resources for French churches and pastors and will be a great tool for creating online classes.
An IMpact Project called IMpact France—Discipleship and Training Program supports translating and printing these important Free Will Baptist doctrinal works. The project will enable us to move forward quickly to fill the void of doctrinal materials. If you wish to give to this important project visit IMinc.org/impact-projects. We greatly appreciate your gifts.
Communication and Fellowship
Recent years have been difficult for Free Will Baptist churches in France. Obviously, the COVID-19 virus just made things worse. These complicated times amplified the need for churches to collaborate, support, and encourage one another. We hope to address this in two ways. First, bring the churches together physically by setting up joint services among the various congregations. We also hope to bring people together by appointing certain people in each congregation to providing updates on news and prayer needs of other churches. We pray these two things will foster better community among our established churches.
We want to help the French people realize they are part of a much bigger group of churches and Christians. As a Christian in France, it is easy to feel alone or isolated, especially in the western part of the country where so few Christians live. We are developing ways to share information about the worldwide efforts of Free Will Baptists, including social media. We also plan to create a website for the French Free Will Baptist Association to convey who Free Will Baptists are and what we believe.
French Free Will Baptists need to know thousands of FWB churches worship weekly. They need to hear we are working hard for His Kingdom around the globe, and they have many brothers and sisters praying for them. They need to feel they are part of what God is doing through our movement on an international scale.
Another vital need for our churches is ordination. Currently, no ordination system is set up, but it is something we definitively want to pursue. We want to help future pastors with training and educate our churches on the process of choosing a pastor.
Finally, of course, we hope to see the denomination grow in France through church planting. As a whole, France has only a handful of evangelical churches. Churches are especially sparse in the western part of the country where our churches are located. Many large cities are without a single effective witness. Even fewer of those churches reach out to those around them. We need more Free Will Baptist churches in France.
I could sum our vision up with three simple words: encourage, strengthen, and grow. I know we face a big task, and perhaps I am too optimistic. But I choose to put my faith in God, not in my own abilities. The task is big, but God is bigger! Nothing is too big for Him or His Kingdom.
About the Author: Joel Teague and his wife Lydie were appointed as career missionaries to France in April 2016 after completing a two-year internship. Learn more: www.iminc.org.