(The title is best read to the tune of Going back to Cali…)
Earlier this week, Regional Coordinator Patrick Nachtigall shared some exciting news about a new church in Bulgaria. He shared the following post on the Three World’s Facebook page:
“We are very excited to announce that Agape Faith United Church in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (an independent church started by David and Kathy Simpson), is entering into a relationship of accountability with 3W and our partners at County Line Church of God, Auburn, Indiana. The 3W Team will be helping to establish an Advisory Board, will help with the formation of church by-laws, help to create mechanisms to provide unity amidst theological and cultural differences; and provide regular instruction on leadership training, doing ministry/mission, and church organization.”
The Agape Faith United Church began as a bible study in the apartment of Dave and Kathy Simpson, missionaries to Bulgaria. The English Bible Study for Bulgarians quickly grew into a gathering of English-speaking Bulgarians and English-speaking medical students from the United Kingdom. The church launched in February of 2015, just a few months before the Simpsons came off the field.
Over the last three years the church has continued to meet together with Kenneth Morikang serving as their pastor. Recently, the leaders of Agape Faith United reached out to 3W asking for help to structure the church. Because of County Line’s history in Bulgaria, 3W asked if we would like to come alongside and work with 3W and Agape Faith United Church.
In September, I (Pastor Nate) will be returning to Bulgaria with Patrick Nachtigall and Greg Wiens of Healthy Growing Churches, to help lead the church in identifying its mission, vision, and purpose. The goal is to create an advisory board who will meet with the church leaders on a regular basis to ensure that the church continues to move and grow into a healthy, reproducing church.
As I shared in last week’s post, County Line’s history of working in Europe started with our support of the Simpsons and their work in Bulgaria. We have worked with the Plovdiv congregation, sent teams to participate in the annual youth camp, welcomed Bulgarian leaders to our church and homes, and connected with leaders and others in the Sofia and Gabrovo congregations.
Bulgaria is a unique country, with a long and storied history, that is full of challenges and barriers to the Protestant church. We (County Line) will always do whatever we can to help a new church, such as Agape Faith United, create sustainability and movement in Bulgaria. Please stand with us in prayer and support for this church and the other congregations throughout Bulgaria. I look forward to reporting back after my visit in September.
(Pastor Nate is the Mission Advancement Pastor at County Line Church. His primary responsibilities are overseeing missions and church multiplication. You can contact him at email@example.com.)