Helping Church Planters in Turkey
Editor’s Note: The International Baptist Convention is in partnership with Pastor Ertan Cevik and the Turkish Baptist Alliance through the European Baptist Mission International. Part of the IBC’s Global Missions Offering for the past two years has gone to the Turkish Baptist Alliance and to the Adana Refugee Project through EBM. The IBC is also a member of the European Baptist Federation and participates in the EBF’s Mission Partnerships, sponsoring church planters in Latvia and Albania.
At the end of 2019, Daniel Trusiewicz, EBF Mission Coordinator, and Oeds Blok, an experienced church planter in The Netherlands who coaches others, conducted a conference for church planters in Turkey. Trusiewicz and Blok were joined by Jelle van Luipen, a member of the Baptist church in Leidsche Rijn, The Netherlands.
Twenty church planters and pastors participated in the conference. Pastor Ertan Cevik, welcomed the participants and led in a Bible reflection on Psalm 126.
The program began with an overview of church planting in Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as some aspects of the work among refugees in Western Europe. In the second session, participants discussed the important criteria that a church planter should have: accepting a personal call,building a team, having a vision and determining a target group, building relationships with mentors/coaches, and developing supporting partnerships. All of these would help avoid numerous mistakes.
Blok’s presentations concentrated on the pioneering aspect of a church planter. Using the example from Acts 10, he emphasized that communication of the Gospel requires openness to others and an ability to build bridges. During his second session, he used Acts 20:17-38 to talk about the importance of personal growth. He also referenced the book The Undefended Leader by Simon Walker which discusses the different aspects of a personal ego. Blok encouraged the participants to be aware of their temptations and how to face them properly.
Local leaders shared some advice based on their experiences. They pointed out that the Christian church is like a family and that new people that join must be cared for. Preparation for baptism requires time and good teaching. Only then will the congregation experience a steady growth. New members ought to be diligently discipled. Leaders, too, need mentors to prosper in ministry. Personal relationships are indispensable to encourage others and to overcome any prejudice against strangers. A leaders also needs to have knowledge of local laws to function effectively.
The atmosphere of the conference was very good. The participants were active and attentive, the translation was excellent, and the breaks offered opportunity for interaction. At the end of the conference, Cevik thanked the speakers and invited them to do a similar conference in the future.
After the conference, Trusiewicz wrote: “I, together with my Dutch friends, spent a great time of fellowship and ministry in Turkey. We admired the fervent faith and sincere dedication of local leaders to make Christ known among the people in Turkey as well as the loving care of the Iranian/Syrian refugees. They virtually embody the Gospel and their attitude is contagious.”
Adapted from report by Daniel Trusiewicz
Oeds Blok, Daniel Trusiewicz, and Jelle van Luipen
- Pray for the many people who visit the churches that God will touch their hearts.
- Pray for spiritual growth and maturity of the church members.
- Pray for the local Christians who help refugees spiritually and economically.