The New City Network is working on two church plants in Europe. One called Église Chemin Nouveau launched in France in 2019 and Redeemer City Church of Rekjavik, Iceland is launching in late 2020. This blog is deeply concerned with the issue of sexual abuse inside a foreign church plant or other missionary effort.
“Desperation, weakness, vulnerability – these things will always be exploited. You need to protect the weak, ring-fence them, with something far stronger than empathy.”
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NLT
Clint Clifton of the New City Network
Clint Clifton leads the New City Network which is the church planting arm of McLean Bible. In addition he is a city missionary for the North American Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. If you would like to read more about Clint you can do so in, “Who is Clint Clifton of the New City Network? Is the New City Network Prepared for the Issue of Sexual Abuse?” The New City Network is launching its first foreign church plants in 2019 and 2020 in both France and Iceland respectively. Lets look at both of those international efforts.
Église Chemin Nouveau
Eglise Chemin Nouveau is French for New Way Church. It launched in Normandy in late 2019. The pastoral family of Eglise Chemin Nouveau is Mauricio and Rachel Pruneras. Mauricio was born and raised in El Salvador which is where he found the Lord. His wife Rachel found the Lord while living in France. They both met at a Bible institute in Argentina and were married in 2006 and have two children. They served in El Salvador for ten years dong pastoral ministry and sharing the Lord in schools, jails, medical campaigns, dramas and musicals. They also did youth ministry in the capital of El Salvador which is San Salvador. In October of 2016 the Pruneras family moved to Normandy, France. The goal was to plant a French speaking Bible church. They hold regular Bible studies in their house. They rent a room in a hotel for services. Beatrice Marie also volunteers and works in the church as well.
The church in its introduction draws parallels with the Allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944 and planting a church to fight sin. The area that Église Chemin Nouveauis planting in has about 30,000 people in the greater area. McLean Bible sent a mission trip to Église Chemin Nouveau in April 2019. You can read more about that here. It also appears as if Fellowship International Mission is also supporting this church plant as well.
Redeemer City Church of Rekjavik
Redeemer City Church of Rekjavik is a church that is launching in the fall of 2020. The person leading the church plant is Logan and Carla Douglas. They met in Mississippi and were married in 2016. Logan served on active duty with the Mississippi Army National Guard for almost twelve years. He has also deployed to Iraq. Carla is a missionary kid who grew up in Italy. Her parents served with the Southern Baptist’s International Missions Board. Before moving to Iceland Logan served as the Young adults Pastor at First Baptist Church of Ridgeland, Mississippi. Logan felt like more had to be done in Iceland to reach the lost and decided to plant a church in time. The Douglas moved to Iceland on March 29, 2019 Logan earned his MA at Liberty University and is ordained as a pastor inside the Southern Baptist Convention. His wife Carla lived on the missionary field for 18 years. The churches supporting this plant in Iceland include: Loftstofan Baptistakirkja Iceland, First Ridgeland Baptist Church of Mississippi, Pillar Church of Dumfries, New City Network, McLean Bible Church and First Baptist Church of Lyons, Georgia. The church planting timeline for Redeemer is from 2018 until late 2020 when it officially launches.
According to Logan’s newsletter this is his description for 2019.
2019 has been an exciting year, to say the least! Here is a quick recap:
- We moved to Iceland.
- Logan was installed as an Elder at Loftstofan Baptistakirkja.
- Carla was installed as the Deaconess of Children’s Ministry.
- We started to learn Icelandic (still a long way to go!).
- We had 12 teams come to Iceland between April and October.
- We have been leading a College Ministry since August.
- We have been participating (and sometimes leading) weekly prayer gatherings on the University of Iceland campus.
- Logan has been leading a Men’s Small Group.
- We both are involved in multiple Discipleship Groups.
- We have shared the Gospel with several non-believers.
- We have hosted a Fall College Intern who has lived with us for 3 months.
- Logan has been preaching half of the month alongside Pastor Gunnar.
- Logan has been conducting pastoral marriage counseling.
- Carla has been developing volunteers in the Children’s Ministry.
- Garrett and Brandy Roy and their children have committed to moving to Iceland to be a part of RCC being planted.
- Another couple from Tennessee has committed to moving to Iceland to help with the church plant, as well.
- Logan is still working on his second seminary degree (M.Div…thankful for his G.I. Bill!).
- Carla is working on a seminary certificate at SEBTS.
As we said, 2019 has been an exciting year and we cannot wait to see what God has in store for us in 2020.
And according to the same newsletter here is their description for 2020.
2020 will be here before we know it. In the month of December we will say goodbye to Hannah, our College Intern, say hello to Garrett, who will be here for two weeks before going back to the USA to spend Christmas and New Years and return with his family, and we will be blessed with having Carla’s parents here for Christmas!
Here is the timeline for 2020:
- January-Mid-March: We will continue to serve in our same capacity at Loftstofan Baptistakirkja.
- Late-March-Mid-April: We are planning, Lord willing, to fly to Northern Virginia to visit partner churches and also take care of taxes (Hooray!).
- April 26: We will be commissioned out by Loftstofan Baptistakirkja and begin our journey towards planting Redeemer City Church.
- May-August: This will be our Core Team phase, where we will focus on developing our Core Team (those individuals/couples who are committing to join us in planting RCC). During this phase, we will be focusing on outreach, evangelism and community engagement through having events and conducting survey evangelism.
- September: Lord willing, the month of September will be when we have our first public worship gathering as Redeemer City Church. Those of us who are on the Core Team will officially constitute as an official church.
After analyzing and studying the new McLean Bible missionary directory one of the missions trips announced in August of 2020 will support this effort in Iceland. The cut off date for signing up to being an indentured servant is April 15, 2020.
Sex Abuse in Foreign Church Plants or in the Missionary Field Abroad Haunts Me
There is one issue that haunts me. Its an issue that sometimes when I lie in bed I think about with fear. This blog frequently points out the issues and problems with evangelicalism. And this blog has been born out of personal experience with evangelicalism. The one issue I fear is the problem of child sex abuse in a foreign church plant, especially given the Southern Baptist track record on this topic. McLean Bible after all has had problems with this issue. This blog dragged out the story of Scott Woods. Woods was an adult volunteer who allegedly groomed teenagers for planned sexual abuse. A disturbing indicator to show the severity of the issue is when Dale Sutherland, who spent most of his career in Washington, D.C. law enforcement bungled and allegedly didn’t take the situation directly to the police. You can read more about the Scott Woods situation in, “What is Grooming? And how an Alleged Predator Operated in The Rock Ministries at David Platt’s McLean Bible” , “How David Platt Never Learned From the Mark Aderholt Situation. The Disturbing Story of how McLean Bible Mishandled Scott Woods, an Alleged Predator in The Rock Ministries” , “David Platt Apologizes for McLean Bible’s Mishandling of a Sexual Predator. While its a Step in the Right Direction the Celebrity Pastor Still Will not Name Scott Woods as the Alleged Predator” and “McLean Bible Changes it Policies After the Scott Woods Grooming Situation and Caleb Moore Allegedly Violates Those Policies. Nate Reed Communicates Coming Website Changes and Social Media Policy. And 16 Years of Sermons by Lon Solomon are Purged From the Website.”
So here is the question that needs to be asked. If child sex abuse occurred in a New City Network plant in either France, Iceland or elsewhere would that be reported to legal authorities? This blog has its doubts based on the modus operandi of McLean Bible and the larger Southern Baptist Convention. Inside the SBC covering up the abuse of a child is just business. Its how the enterprise operates. When your brand is about corporate expansion and making money the sexual assault of a child is easily dismissed. Or in other words if you really want to see what a church worships just observe how they react when its learned that a child has been sexually abused. How they will respond will tell you much about the institution. Its only been blogs like this and a devastating series about sex abuse by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express News that has revealed the issues at play. And for the record its not just church plants but also other foreign missionary efforts. Some of the most vulnerable people can exist in a third world nation ravaged by war. Its the perfect draw for a person sexually attracted to children. If there are issues with either New City Network plant this blog would like to hear about them and get the stories told.