Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.
Romans 15:25-26 (NIV)
We’ve been very busy writing the final early church resource for 3-11s. Close Encounters explores the closing chapters of Acts and includes Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem to deliver a gift from the churches in Macedonia and Achaia to the impoverished brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.
It’s a wonderful and heart-warming thing when churches look beyond their four walls and generously provide assistance for those in far more challenging circumstances than their own.
As we have developed the Mustard Seeds resources over the past eight years we have managed to connect with more than 2,500 churches in 67 countries. Many of these are either small, struggling or isolated. It’s been such a joy and a privilege to be able to assist and equip these churches to teach the Bible to children more faithfully, more creatively and more effectively.
We regularly receive very positive feedback about the Mustard Seeds range and it’s especially wonderful to hear how adults and children are growing spiritually through their study of God’s life-giving word.
We have also invested a sizeable portion of our limited human resources in providing ‘language packs’ to support those teaching the Bible in non-English speaking countries. We currently do this in nineteen languages and although at this stage we might only be helping one church or a small network of churches in a particular language we are delighted to do so.
A few of these translation projects have progressed beyond language packs to full translations; we now have over two year’s worth of resources in Arabic and a growing range of Italian products already online.
There is also a steadily growing backlog of fully translated French and Russian resources with Latvian and Spanish in the pipeline. All of these products need to be individually typeset and our small team simply cannot keep up with the demand.
We have therefore recently decided to totally overhaul the way that we deliver content in order to meet this growing demand. We are building a new subscription-based website that will include the following benefits:
- remove the need for users to enter payment card details for every purchase
- provide full access to our entire range of resources on a ‘fair use’ basis
- move away from the use of bulky PDF files and make it possible to distribute lessons by simply sharing a link
- allow users to select only the elements of the lesson that they wish to use and generate their own more compact PDF files
- allow seamless switching between various languages as they become available for each series
- make instant, cross-platform updates possible
- make localisations in language and page formatting possible (eg. US English with 8.5” x 11” page layouts)
- provide a portal for our partners to enter translations directly into our database circumventing the need for our team to typeset every product
- make content much more accessible to those who have smart phones, but not desktop/laptop computers (this is especially the case in Africa)
The sliding scale subscription model makes it possible for larger churches to cross-fund smaller, struggling churches because they will pay slightly more to use the new platform. This increased revenue means that TnT can afford to continue making the material available at the unbelievably good value of £1 per lesson.
Our announcement about these changes provided an opportunity for churches to express their sincere appreciation for what we do. One person wrote, “Thank you for your work and worldwide vision” and another, “We don’t always use your material as our children’s work follows the adult preaching programme, but we’d love to support this ministry fully for those who use it more than we do”.
As mentioned in our December newsletter we managed to finalise the Elisha series which we published on Christmas Eve!
Despite significant struggles with her health Laura was still able to pull another amazing six-part study for 11-18s out of the bag. Ephesians is Christ-centred, gospel-focused and would make a brilliant addition to the armoury of anyone teaching the Bible to teenagers. Can we warmly commend the study to you and Laura’s health to your prayers?
For more information about these two new resources together with full sample lessons visit our website: www.mustard-seeds.net.
It’s been a good start to the year for training with fourteen events already behind us. The diary is almost completely full for the year with only seven Saturdays still free. Attendance at the training days so far has been fairly average, but we are reminded that ministry is all about slow, patient, ongoing discipleship.
Most of the events were part of our regular annual programme, but it was also good to restart our annual training in Edinburgh and have a new opportunity in Liverpool, which is likely to be yet another annual event.
On the 1st of April Brenda took up a full-time position at Tokai Community Church (TCC) where she had been working part-time for almost a year. Brenda is particularly gifted at coordinating children’s ministry in a local church context and the opening at TCC was a good opportunity for her to use her particular skill set to benefit the local church. She will continue to fly the TnT flag in South Africa.
We are grateful for your ongoing support and prayers. Thank you for helping us to resource, encourage and equip any church, anywhere in the world to teach the Bible to children in any language. We greatly appreciate your partnership!
Items for Prayer
- Give thanks for a very productive board meeting in January and for those who serve on the board to provide direction and counsel to our team.
- Give thanks for all the training opportunities that we have this year, especially for the new opportunity recently in Liverpool and later this year in Malaysia.
- Give thanks for the time that Brenda was able to be a part of the TnT team and for her new role at Tokai Community Church. Pray that she would be able to use that position to influence, encourage, enthuse and equip other children’s workers in South Africa.
- Continue to pray for Laura’s long-term and debilitating health issues. Pray for relief from her pain and a good ongoing healthcare plan. Pray for her husband Toby as he loves and supports her in sickness and in health.
- Pray for the completion of the final lessons in the Mustard Seeds range for 3-11s. Pray particularly for the Close Encounters series, which is due for release by Easter.
- Give thanks for the many churches who have already signed up and expressed their support for the new website. Pray that many more would catch the vision and commit to supporting the broader work of TnT in this way.
- Pray for Rory and Kim’s time on team at Word Alive. Ask the Lord not only to help them conduct God-honouring ministry, but also to create opportunities to grow the TnT network.