Preparation and Providence

Preparation and Providence

The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.  Proverbs 21:31

In an age of marketing-driven economics, it is tempting to put our confidence in methodology, strategy and promotion for church planting.  While these things are important and we must work diligently to discern methodology, develop strategy and promote effectively, most often the salient points that advance the growth of Christ’s Church are the unplanned and unanticipated Providences of God which church planters could never have orchestrated.

This reminds us that God has given us the ordinary means of grace upon which we are to depend.  These are the means we use to “demolish strongholds and to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.” As Reformed believers we recognize that God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are never mutually exclusive, but mutually inclusive. We must prepare for battle, but the battle is the Lord’s.

Pray for us in the following ways as we seek to plant River City Reformed in Little Rock.

  • Thanks to the Lord for the growing commitment of many in our core group to the vision of planting a Reformed Church committed to ordinary means evangelism, confessionally Reformed worship and family-integrated ministry, worship and discipleship.
  • Continued prayer for healing and rehabilitation for Pastor Wheeler’s father in law, David Oates, following a car accident. 
  • Prayer for expansion of influence through personal contacts, hospitality, pastoral care, wise use of social media, and divine appointments. 
  • Prayer for the Lord to give us patience and discernment to recognize the unexpected and unanticipated actions of the Holy Spirit that define and refine our methodology, strategy and promotion.

SEO and the Gospel

SEO and the Gospel

In God’s providence, the spread of the gospel has often been catalyzed by technological advances. The Roman road, the codex, the printing press, and yes, even the internet are means that have advanced the Great Commission. 

Yet many churches are hesitant to engage the world of social media and if they do, grapple with how to become more than a needle in the cyber haystack.  

But as a connectional church, our structure gives us some leverage to make our individual church’s social media presence more prominent through something called SEO – search engine optimization. 

While this can be complicated, the most effective ways to boost your social media visibility are simple.

  • Get as many websites to link to your church’s website as possible.  
  • Make sure the arpchurch.org site includes a link to your website. 
  • Include a link on your website to all our ARP church plants. You can get this from ONA.
  • Many members of your church have blogs or personal or business sites. Encourage them to link to your church website and facebook page on their social media spaces.
  • Encourage members to like/follow your church’s blog, website, and facebook or instagram pages and to mention and share them often in their own posts. 
  • Make sure your church has a facebook page and an instagram or Twitter account and that you have a recognizable user id.
  • Request members and friends to invite their friends to like/follow your social media and any ARP church plant in their area.
  • Pastors, blog/post regularly through your church social media outlets.

These are simple and free ways to significantly improve you church’s visibility online and optimize search engines to find your church in the cyber haystack. 

Bridge Builders

Bridge Builders

“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Little Rock is a city of bridges. Building and maintaining bridges is critical to the life of any river city.  That is our calling at River City Reformed – to build and strengthen gospel  bridges between God and man and between the church and our city.

Pray for us in the following ways as we build and strengthen bridges.

  • Thanks for continuing growth in our core group Bible study in April with the addition of three families. 
  • Thanks for the generosity of several churches and individuals toward the work.
  • Prayer for healing and rehabilitation for Pastor Wheeler’s father in law, following a car accident. 
  • Prayer for expansion of influence through personal contacts, pastoral care, wise use of social media, and divine appointments. 

Bearing Fruit

Bearing Fruit

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV

Please take time to pray with us during April regarding the following specific concerns:

  1. For fruitfulness in our efforts and dependence upon the ordinary means of grace God has given us.
  2. Wisdom and effectiveness in promoting upcoming “Life Explored” groups as a way to connect with unbelievers.
  3. Thanksgiving for several new families that visited our core group Bible Study during March.
  4. More effective use of social media to gain name recognition and spiritual influence within the communities we are trying to reach.
  5. Growth and development of the core group through hospitality, discipleship, spiritual care, mutual prayer support and encouragement, and shared meaningful ministry together.
  6. Thanksgiving for the Lord’s kindness and healing for one of our core group members who experienced a health crisis.
  7. Thanksgiving for the generous prayer and financial support of several individuals and churches in the Mississippi Valley Presbytery, ARP.

Thanks be to God!

Thanks be to God!

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
    the praises of the Lord,
according to all that the Lord has granted us,
    and the great goodness to the house of Israel
that he has granted them according to his compassion,
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love.  Isaiah 63:7

Please take time to pray with us regarding the following specific concerns:

  1. We give thanks to God for the generosity of St. Andrews Anglican Church in Little Rock which has offered the use of space in their facility on Lord’s Day evenings for our weekly gatherings for study and fellowship.  This is a tremendous blessing to our group.  We will begin meeting at St. Andrews on March 5, 2017.
  2. Pray for our core group members as they reach out in their spheres of influence to minister and connect with those who need to know Christ and to be connected to His body, the Church. Pray that the Lord would grant them effective new contacts and an expansion of influence.
  3. Pray us as we evaluate different options for the format of a discussion group oriented toward those who have no professed belief system, no personal history with Christianity and no knowledge of the Bible beyond cultural awareness.
  4. Pray for Pastor Wheeler as he continues survey the target area and engage in “cultural exegesis.”
  5. Pray for wisdom and discernment for Pastor Wheeler as he looks for opportunities to provide pastoral care within the target area.

Prayer for Increased Influence

Prayer for Increased Influence

 

Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border and that your hand might be with me…” And God granted what he asked.   1 Chronicles 4:10

 

Please take time to pray with us regarding the following specific concerns:

  1. We give thanks for a new member the Lord added to our core group Bible Study in January.
  2. We also give thanks for the Lord’s faithful care for two of our group members who faced serious health concerns this past week.
  3. Pray that the Lord will direct us to identify effective meeting places that will allow our core group Bible Study to meet weekly on the Lord’s Day evening and easily invite others to join us.
  4. Pray for Pastor Wheeler to have effective contacts and an expansion of influence as he continues survey the target area and engage in “cultural exegesis.”
  5. Pray for wisdom and discernment for Pastor Wheeler as he looks for opportunities to provide pastoral care within the target area.
  6. Pray for the addition of a new discussion group in another part of the city during February.

New Year’s Prayer Requests

New Year’s Prayer Requests

“I thank my God in all my remembrances of you always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”  Philippians 1:3-5

Please take time to pray with us regarding the following specific concerns.

  1. This past week, Pastor Wheeler visited with the administrator of the Josephine Pankey Center, a recently opened community center at 13700 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock, as a possible place for our weekly Lord’s Day evening Bible Study.  The Pankey Center’s board will be considering our request to use the facility very soon.  Please pray for wisdom and discernment regarding the Lord’s provision of a place for us to meet weekly.
  2. We also are praying about getting another Bible Study or Discussion Group started in January in another part of the city.  Pray for those who are considering hosting this study.
  3. We give thanks for all those who have worked diligently over the past few weeks to get the financial infrastructure set up for us to get started January 1.  Please pray for our MVP Treasurer, John Robinson, for the Pottsville elders and its treasurer, Matt Wylie, and for the ONA Committee of MVP as they provide oversight and guidance to get all the details implemented upon which this gospel work depends.
  4. Pray for each of the families in our core group as they discern their gifts and callings within this new work.
  5. Pray for Pastor Wheeler as he transitions from Hospice Chaplaincy to work full-time in Little Rock.   Pray for effective contacts, pray for wisdom in decisions large and small, pray for an expansion of influence.