Prayer Update for April 2014

Albany Urbacad

Report to Supporters and Partners in Ministry

It has been a very busy first quarter for the URBACAD program in Upstate New York!  And we are grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord Jesus by supplying materials and oversight for discipleship groups in many different venues, all across Canada and the US.  Our goal is to equip believers to be witnesses to the grace of God, and to fulfill the plan of our Lord Jesus by making disciples of all nations (that is, all people groups).

This winter we have seen new groups started in the three-year Life of Christ program:  an independent church in Mississauga, Ontario; an inner-city Baptist church in Syracuse; a Hispanic church in southern Texas.  The Wives in Ministry program at Columbia International University is beginning their fourth group over the last five years, to equip future pastors’ wives to serve as disciple-makers alongside of their husbands.  These programs go by different names, but all include requirements of outreach and weekly ministry, in addition to classroom preparation and group participation.

Students in other groups can see the goal in sight, as they start the sixth book of the Life of Christ series:  “The Resurrection Life.”  There’s the URBACAD program at Central Baptist Church in upper Manhattan, which has been preparing lay leaders, pastors, and missionaries for over 30 years; and another URBACAD program in Grace Baptist Church, Brooklyn, which has led several cadres of students through the three-year program.  A Hispanic church plant (Southern Baptist) in Georgia is completing their first team of Life of Christ students, already winning souls, and leading them into the joy of Christian living.  And a small group in a new church in suburban Toronto is also working on the last book in the series.

Most people who know about the TEE courses (Theological Education by Extension) we offer, think of the Life of Christ series, designed for Bible knowledge and leadership development.  But there are other “graduate” courses for further in-depth study of the Word of God, and application of the Word to discipleship and church development.  The three-part Life & Letters of Paul program takes an intensive year of study, but rewards the diligent study with a great grasp of the history of the early church and its foremost Apostle.  Our ministry has provided many churches with these materials in both English and Spanish:  this winter, an Alliance Church in Ohio has students finishing up this advanced course; and there’s a small cadre of students in an Alliance church in Regina, Saskatchewan, just starting their first book this month.

I am often contacted by churches, schools and missionaries looking for SEAN materials (like the URBACAD program) in various languages, for use in discipling immigrants here in North America, or for use in teaching situations in other nations.  This winter we have helped a stateside missionary connect with Cebuano-language workbooks, through our network of SEAN partners around the world.  And on a simpler level, a sister in our local church connected with a team which prints the Abundant Life workbook in Vietnamese, to help in witness and discipleship with her manicurist.  If we keep our eyes open, and our ears attentive to the Spirit’s promptings, God can use all of us to reach people for Christ, and lead them into real discipleship.

Just a word about our family:  Sam, our grandson, is now 17, and is planning to graduate early from high school and move back to Oregon next year.  Of course we wish him all the best!   Our oldest granddaughter, Josiah, is graduating this spring, and is already in Oregon, though I think her heart is still in Florida.  Linda and I have survived another harsh winter in upstate New York, and my knee is still hurting a lot at times (where I had the surgery for a torn quad last July).  The last of the snow banks are finally melting this weekend, and we can get into yard work now.

I’m still working a full-time job besides the URBACAD program, as a computer detailer for steel fabrication for bridges.  This has limited my contact work with churches nearby, but we do continue to have contacts from interested churches in eastern NY and western Massachusetts.  We do stand in need of more supporters to back the ministry;  book sales do not begin to cover my work and expenses.  If you’d like to see URBACAD and TEE programs in American and Canadian churches expand, consider making a supporting gift to Missions Door (www.missionsdoor.org) for the Lindsey ministry account.

We have been attending the Ballston Spa Alliance Church for some time now, even though it’s a pretty small congregation.  When it looked like the church might close, a sister church in nearby Glens Falls answered the call to bring support—financial and leadership—to us.  As things are getting reorganized, there’s a new sense of hope and joy in the body, and a lot more outreach into our community.  The pastoral team (who are preaching in two churches right now) have asked me to join in by preaching once a month at Ballston Spa.  We are confident in God’s leading, and I am delighted to be able to use my teaching gifts in pulpit ministry again.

Please pray for our family and ministry, as we seek to know God and walk in the steps of his Son Jesus.  In particular:  

  • that more churches in the Capital District of New York would see the value of discipleship training in their own church settings, using Life of Christ and other programs;
  • that the Alliance Church we’re attending would bring glory to the Lord through soul-winning and disciple-making;
  • that our health and strength would increase, even as we deal with chronic illnesses and the natural course of aging;
  • that our children and grandchildren would seek the Lord, and grow in their commitment to him;
  • that the URBACAD program would thrive in the cities across the country, and strong new churches would come into existence, “so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV)

Thank you for your prayers, and for the many various ways you encourage us through your partnership in the gospel.  As always, we love to hear from you!

Yours in Jesus’ joy,

Michael & Linda