How Perspectives missionary Jean Schott changed his mind
I always said that I’d never try to plant a church. My parents were church-planters in France and I saw how difficult it was. But while my wife Sarah and I were starting a Christianity Discovery Group with three non-Christians and a friend called Romain who had recently come to faith, God started showing us that creating a church could be done more simply. With a living room, good Christian friends, a regular commitment to spending time with non-Christian contacts, and a Bible, we had all we needed for a powerful expression of church life.
How about it?
One of our Muslim friends came to faith in Christ after seeing a vision of “the paradise offered by Jesus” when he was alone in his bedroom. Then another friend came to Christ from a Buddhist background, followed by another friend… God was clearly preparing something. We discovered that these people had specific needs. So, with two other Christian couples in our friendship group, we said to ourselves: “How about planting a church with these folk?”
A small spiritual revival
While we were preparing the church-plant project, God brought us an experience of spiritual revival by revealing Himself to more than 15 people among Romain’s acquaintances. Very often their stories involved a miracle, a dream, or a personal revelation. Not all of them have been baptised yet, but they’ve started on their journey. Belonging to a loving community is really important for most of them.
L’église “comme à la Maison”
We started our church in September 2019 in Caluire-et-Cuire, one of Lyon’s northern suburbs. We called it L’Église Comme à la Maison (Like at Home Church) because we want to reflect God’s desire to welcome us home into His family. And it’s been a fantastic experience! We try and have fewer formal services and more small-group activities to create an attractive community rather than attractional events and also to focus more easily on leadership development.
We started with two Home Groups in 2019 and are now up to six. We’re so thankful to the Lord for His grace. Our challenge is to remain an outward-facing church. We try to create meetings where each person can progress in their faith at their own pace. Sometimes we simply ask questions about the meaning of life and try to bless those present through sharing biblical wisdom. At other times, we give a really clear gospel presentation. We try and intentionally focus on cultivating links with non-Christian friends. Given the current situation with Covid-19, gaining people’s confidence is even more difficult. Please do pray for us in relation to this.
Planting a church also provides us with an opportunity to create and try out tools for the wider church in France. We’ve worked with other evangelists to develop discussion booklets to help people discover the Christian faith. We believe such tools are necessary to help the Church develop more relational forms of evangelism rooted in everyday life. Thank you for praying for this.