Why Church Planting in Nassau, Bahamas?

Having left our former home in Dallas, our children and grandchildren, Christiana and I are convinced that the Lord has called us back to the Bahamas to plant churches. As we continue to follow the Lord, we have been convinced that He has called us to plant a local, flagship church that will seek to transform the Bahamas, one community at a time – Covenant Life Presbyterian Church. To that end, the Lord has led us to Yellow Elder Gardens, one of the most under-served communities on the island of New Providence.
As we pray and plan for the launching of this church plant, we desire that you will pray for us more than ever before.

That launch date is January 7, 2018. Pray for a reception which we will host on Friday, December 8, 2017 at the Baha Mar Hotel; the time is 7:00 pm EST.

One of the main reasons we are convinced of the Lord’s call is the amount of spiritual opposition that Christiana and I face each day. It is very evident; the enemy isn’t even trying to be so subtle.
How do we know that we are under attack? To begin with, we have seen the enemy use his weapons of confusion ever since we landed on New Providence. Simple things seem to become more complicated. For instance, we applied for a non-profit status for Covenant Life Presbyterian Church since March, 2015. That document finally made it to the Attorney General’s office on October 16, 2017. Even though we haven’t gotten the final approval, we are convinced that the Lord is opening doors for this process to end very shortly.
Christiana and I have seen another form of satanic attack in our communication with each other, as well as our communications with people with whom we have to work, and those we seek to serve. Simple conversations tend to become very complex, as each word is “parsed” to see what exactly we’re saying to each other. I often ask myself, “When did it ever become difficult for me to express myself both verbally and in text? That must be the enemy who would want to frustrate the Lord’s grace in each of our lives. If he could get us to begin to question each other’s motives, you know what happens next. Divisions will arise, and feelings will get hurt, and the whole “house” comes crashing down. Remember, what Jesus said to His disciples in John 16:32, “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone.” Because of the undermining work of the enemy, even Jesus’ closest friends became intimidated to the point of preserving their own self-interests. In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” At MTW’s CCMI (Cross-cultural Ministry Internship), we were warned that the enemy “pours gasoline on our sins” when we arrive on the mission field. We have found that to be so true.
Knowing all of this, why would anyone want to plant a church? Tim Keller opens his essay entitled “Why Plant Churches?” and states: “The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for (1) the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and (2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else—not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing megachurches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes—will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting.”

So you see why Satan would want to frustrate what Keller identifies as the “single most crucial strategy” for the extension of the Lord’s Kingdom here on earth.

Like Keller, Christiana and I believe that we have been called to plant Covenant Life because we want to be true to Jesus’ command to make disciples of every people group, right here in the Bahamas. Luke describes the specifics to Jesus’ call as planting churches – the Lord added to the church, daily, (See Acts 2:47). Secondly, the apostle Paul’s strategy was to plant churches in principal cities. Cities are very important to the Lord’s plans to expand His Kingdom here on earth. Jean Calvin planted hundreds of churches by training men and women as church planters and church workers at his ministry in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Calvin, in my opinion, is the most prolific Urban Missionary in the history of the Church. We are convinced that Calvin’s model of church planting, (which he developed from studying Paul), is the best way to use the Lord resources in making disciples– the same Lord who describe Himself as the Defender of the weak and needy, and the great Judge of the prideful and the wicked. That’s why we have followed our Lord to serve the residents of one of the most under-served communities on the Island of New Providence.

By God’s grace, we wish to see Him transform Yellow Elder into “Golden Elder”, one person at a time.

Consequently, we have been led by His Holy Spirit to begin at CW Sawyer, and with the Prodigal Sons junkanoo group – we want to bring all of our 20-plus years of ministry to the weak and needy, as well as to the wealthy among us. That is what we were called to do in both Memphis, and Dallas. We served for 10 years, simultaneously in the third economically poorest zip code in the nation, and in one of the wealthiest, most influential communities in the Mid-South. And by the Lord’s grace, we realized the particularization of our church plant. We witnessed many young so-called “thugs” become responsible men and women. We saw “gang-bangers” become husbands, teachers, accountants, architects, responsible fathers, faithful employees, and even preachers. We saw young women becoming change-agents in their own communities, as well as other communities throughout the nation. Mothers once addicted to drugs became mothers who read to their children, who attended worship services with them, and some even become business entrepreneurs.

Christiana and I can’t wait to see the Lord do a “repeat performance” in Yellow Elder Gardens, and other under-served communities on New Providence, through Covenant Life Presbyterian Church. We are both a bit older now; but like Caleb, we want the Lord to bless Yellow Elder through us. Listen to that “old man” in Joshua 14:10-12, “And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”
Pray that the Lord would strengthen us – physically, emotionally, and of course, spiritually. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest, that He would send young, energetic and willing workers into the harvest here through Covenant Life. We are specifically praying for a seminary-trained, Pastoral Intern who would be willing to serve the Lord with us for one year, or more.

Please email us at “juefish2016@gmail.com”,or call us at 214-678-9420,                       or 242-698-6862.

We would love to share the Lord’s plans for the Christian transformational development of the Bahamas, one community at a time.

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