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Appraisal of 2022 and perspectives for Mission FPC in 2023

As one year ends and another begins, this gives an opportunity to stop. To take time to look back, to analyze, digest, rejoice, rectify the situation…  To sit down to plan the year ahead, identify challenges, prioritize actions. All of this done under the guidance of our God and while depending on Him.

In this article, we will perform the exercise for Mission FPC as a whole, while taking a closer look at the church-planting projects in Metz and Reims. To better understand the church planting vision at FPC, read this blog 


⇒ Teams and team members in 2022

In January, the missionary team experienced a time of retreat focused on silence and listening to God. “The Sovereign Lord… wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” Isaiah 50:4. How can we discern the will of God to know which direction to go in, how to formulate projects or make an impact on the persons entrusted to us, without dedicating time tuning into God? This is also a habit that FPC direction team has taken up. During meetings, the lunch break is dedicated to fasting and prayer, in order to show our insufficiency and dependence in a concrete manner.

In February, many team members participated in the excellent Improving our relational skills training, which will also be repeated in February 2023. The mission camp in August was an opportunity to recognize and honor our retired team members, to welcome young people into our Pass program, and also to begin the integration of new co-workers and trainees.

We have been given many opportunities during the year to represent FPC in France and abroad. We have also worked on better communicating internally, and externally using different methods, notably Facebook and Instagram.

Our teams, spread over different hubs, have worked tirelessly to be close to our contemporaries in order to witness the love of Jesus to them.


⇒ Zoom in on the team in Metz

2022 was marked in particular by Alain and Manuela Stirnemann’s move to Montigny-lès-Metz. During the months before, Alain had been meeting regularly with people interested in the church planting project and had sought to build relationships with local church leaders. In the end, only Viviane and Johannes Rapp have committed to be associated co-workers.

At the end of 2022, a door opened allowing Cédricia and Philippe Brobecker to move to Magny, a neighborhood in Metz. And the team is pleased to hear that other people wish to join the project over the course of 2023.

⇒ Zoom in on the team in Reims

This is a planting team, but above all a group of men and women with their habits and needs. The project is developing in rhythm with the lives of the individual people and families. It is evolving with the team members’ different spheres of life. Planting a new church in Reims means first of all living one’s faith day by day as apprentices of Jesus.

During 2022, the team members have each persevered in their own job, an opportunity to interact naturally with colleagues, neighbors etc. “The good hand of God” has rested on the members of the team. The math teacher gets a position in Reims (and partially elsewhere). The German teacher works in two private high schools. The social workers persevere in their work with broken families. The biologist takes on the demands of responsibility within his company. The hospital sets the pace for the nurse and the counselor takes on the challenge of self-employment. Two couples have the joy of expecting a baby. All of this gives much opportunity to meet many people!


⇒ Several particular challenges in Metz and Reims

Metz : a project being built according to the profile of the inhabitants

As soon as they moved to Montigny-lès-Metz, the Stirnemanns have been trying to get to know their neighborhood. Manuela found a job in the social field. Alain joined two associations and took advantage of the beautiful Lorraine afternoons to survey the people of Montigny to establish their “cultural profile”. Spirituality is a significant interest for them, unlike religion which often seems arrogant to them.

The drafting of the project should be completed in May-June 2023. There have been many changes between the initial plans and the reality, but the Lord has led each of His children wonderfully well. The team prays to discern the works that God has prepared in advance for them in the months ahead. And for the Gospel to be heard.

The planting team also spends time in several local churches of the APC Union, either to present the project, to develop the relationships of the Metz hub, or to encourage relational evangelism. The planting process highlights the need for evangelists and planters, not only for one church in South Metz, but for several throughout the Lorraine region, so that the Gospel may radiate throughout the entire area.

Reims : welcoming and seizing every opportunity to present the project

Each member of the team is sure that they are not there by chance, but that God has put the team together for His plan in Reims. All team members are careful to invest in relationships of trust. Everyone has a heart to both welcome widely and to answer all invitations with the most availability possible. The trainee is making an impression in rugby; the team leader makes himself available for the fire station, the association and its team of volunteer firefighters; the FEU leaders welcome students, offer car rides. Others dance, play music, are in a sports club, or participate in events within their profession.

It requires judgment and sacrifice, but it also holds so many joys, surprises and blessings. By dedicating themselves, the team members have found themselves helping with moves, welcoming and accompanying people in need, and discovering exciting places and networks. Without ever losing sight of the planting project, the team members seize every opportunity to say why they are there and why they are available.

In trials, disappointments and sacrifices, God teaches with patience and goodness. He provokes encounters, He leads us to give of ourselves and to sow the Gospel with faith. It is the work of the Spirit in everyone that gives assurance.

The fruits are sometimes slow in coming. But the team perseveres by organizing weekly workshops, which welcome all those whom God leads there. Two people, including a student, are thinking about baptism. Relationships are developing with a small network of families around the team members. Some families have joined the small core. And many young people have the opportunity each month to get together, sometimes with a few of their friends, to experience times of relaxation and discovery of faith in a way that is very accessible to them. All this has the objective of expanding the current network’s sphere of influence and multiplying the opportunities to simply present the Gospel.


⇒ Questions to be asked in 2023

Will new team members join us to consolidate the existing teams in different ways and strengthen the teams, especially in Metz? We are waiting on Him! This blog post details several opportunities to get involved in different FPC projects.

Will our finances be sufficient to meet our needs in a difficult economic climate? “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Philippians 4 :6. This is what we do, notably through regular information in the monthly prayer letter Infoprière and the quarterly journal FPCInfos. Subscribe via this link.

Will the churches have the joy of welcoming new converts in the months ahead? We pray that the Lord adds those He wishes to save to the church. Will the churches see new leaders arise (elders, deacons, etc.), whom we will accompany to equip them for service through our training organization Tim4? We hope so!

In Reims, will we be able to find the building suited to the needs of the Foyer Evangélique Universitaire, with the necessary financing? We pray to God for this.

For all these challenges, we want to rely on God’s promises, in His Word: “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. Put your hope in the Lord” Psalm 130:5-7; “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” Psalm 127:1a. By listening to the Lord, willing to submit to his rhythm, we will take up the new challenges for 2023!

Sandrine L., in collaboration with Yannick H., Daniel K. et Alain S.

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