*** Sur la route ! ***

With Franklin Graham ...

Yes, it’s French and for those who do not know the language of Rousseau that means: on the road! I have been traveling a lot recently and I will be “on the road” again soon!

I wanted to keep you informed of my interview with Franklin Graham held last week. You probably remember the blog: Billy Graham’s Son, and perhaps you even prayed for this appointment? If so, thank you very much because this meeting was amazing. God did things beyond my expectations! This meeting was supposed to take 30 minutes, but instead, it lasted for 3 hours. It seems this never happens since Franklin Graham’s schedule is so tight due to his multiple activities (Franklin is also the president of Samaritan’s Purse, a charitable organization that distributes among other gifts, 8 million gift boxes for children at Christmas). At the end of the interview, with tears in his eyes, Franklin listened and shared his own experiences as well!

God's Ambassadors!

The purpose of this meeting with Franklin was to see whether a partnership would be possible between the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Top Chrétien to reach even more people on the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ. And the first result is that five people (four vice-presidents and a director for the Internet) are coming  to Paris in three days to attend our Jesus.net conference, which will take place next week! Can you pray for this conference?

Jesus.net is the name that includes all our international activities, such as various websites -  ConnaitreDieu.com (16 languages) and also a discipleship website we use in several countries (WhyJesus). At the conference, there will be 75 people (website coordinators) from 21 countries! We will discuss the progress made in different countries and give glory to God together! It’s just wonderful to see what God’s grace has accomplished, and it’s so encouraging to see so many people find Jesus as their Savior through the Internet. To Him be the glory!

With Stéphan and Jean Claude, a French chef we met at BGEA

After the Jesus.net conference, I have to go to South Africa for a conference that focuses on world evangelism. Four thousand representatives from around the world will gather to reflect on the proclamation of the Gospel, share and pray together (see my page on the website Lausanne.org). Some people will represent France. The conference was initiated by Billy Graham in Lausanne in 1974. That’s why it’s called the Lausanne Conference. It occurs very rarely and mobilizes hundreds of thousands of people worldwide (The Lausanne Movement) so that the name of Jesus, the only name given among men by which we can be saved, still be proclaimed forever!

The Top team has provided somewhat outmoded but very humorous communication for this conference to mobilize the troops for evangelism through the Internet. I will tell you all about it in an upcoming blog. Fasten your seat belts, we will soon take off ;-)

Be Blessed!

Your friend,

Eric

*** ICC: A Relevant Church! ***

ICC Church (Impact Centre Chrétien), whose services we appreciate every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (Paris time) on Top Chretien, is going to launch two very interesting initiatives using new technology.  “Think outside of the box,” say the Anglo-Saxons. That’s just what Pastor Yvan Castanou does, and I welcome his initiatives that I’ll share with you in this blog.

Many churches do not yet understand that using new technology should be an integral part of the life and development of a church. Why should it be? Quite simply because new technology is part of people’s daily life today! “Go all over the world,” Jesus said! We can go with emails, with websites, with Facebook, with text messages, with Knowing God, etc.; so many tools just as effective as a sound system and a video-projector!

Our study of Knowing God Internet users shows us that 100% of them visit a church’s website before visiting the church. Thus, it is extremely important for a church to be present and visible on the Internet. Besides, it is for this reason that we launched MonEglise.net, to fill somewhat the technological gap, and help Internet users understand what a local church is so that they want to go to one!

Today, new technology allows the church to go beyond its “locality”! So why not take advantage of it? ICC, therefore, is going to launch two promising initiatives in this direction:

-A multi-site conference with Myles Munroe as the speaker. Myles Munroe is an excellent preacher and a marvelous conference speaker. Sponsored by the CEAF- http://www.ceaf.fr (Community of Churches of African Expression in France), this conference is offered to all local churches that would like to broadcast it live. It will take place Thursday, June 10 to Sunday, June 13, 2010. I encourage pastors and all Christian groups to register on the website http://parisleadershipconference.com. You will need an Internet connection, a video-projector, and a meeting place. If you, as an individual, would like to follow this conference, you will need to go to one of these broadcast places. However, nothing stops you from creating your own meeting place for the broadcast if you are a group of Christians. You must hurry though! It’s coming very soon! And, I think this conference will be a great blessing for all those who follow it.

-The second initiative is courageous, and I am anxious to see the fruits with lots of enthusiasm! ICC is going to open up, as a beginning, three other meeting places, but keep only one church. How are they going to do this? By gathering people together in meeting places or hotel conference rooms in the north, in the east, and in the west of Paris and broadcasting the Sunday morning services live from ICC auditorium. In fact, the praise and worship can be done locally but the preaching of the Word of God will come from the main service. In summary, it’s one church but many meeting places united through the Internet. As a result, I think that ICC is going to have an extraordinary impact in the years to come throughout the French-speaking world. I also think that many people are going to discover Jesus as Savior.

I have been convinced for several months now that churches should grasp this vision and do the same. I welcomed, at ICC by the way, an entire pastoral team from Lifechurch.tv. They are the pioneers in the domain of multi-site churches. They have a church in Oklahoma City and 15 meeting places all over the United States. They originated the YouVersion, the free Bible for iPhone. They are also the initiators of ChurchOnline, an internet church that encouraged me a lot. (I’ll talk to you about it another time.) Thirty pastors responded to the invitation. The general idea is that we can move the church to where the people live, and therefore, increase the impact of a local church or a particular ministry. In other words, multiply the number of meeting places by broadcasting the services through Internet, and thus, increase the impact of a church.

I understand that this new model of the church doesn’t suit everyone! But I believe that it is very biblical that a particular ministry of teacher, evangelist or prophet not be confined to only one meeting place. We have always defended the idea that these ministries should be itinerant, and rightly so. Today, there are other means of going, and the Internet gives us the opportunity. So why not seize it! Why shouldn’t the church use this technology to reach cities and even islands everywhere in the world, especially where there is no pastor!

I congratulate Pastor Yvan Castanou and ICC Church for opening up this new way. For goodness sake, let’s avoid petty criticism, and let’s try to encourage creative and innovative initiatives for the Kingdom of God, in any case, at least on Top Chretien. I count on you for that!

Allow me to ask you this question: “Do you think that the actual model of operating our churches is sacred? Or do you think that we should use all means at our disposal to spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ?” I will be very interested in knowing your opinion.