One of the things I am very keen to do is to interview as many church planters as I possible can to see what we can learn from their experience and to share encouragements, ideas and resources. I am currently doing an Intensive course with Redeemer City to City, with a group of about 12 or so other planters from around the globe.
One of then, Dave Furman has kindly agreed to answer some of my questions. The result is below.
My name is Dave Furman, pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai in the Arabian Peninsula. I am married to Gloria and we have three young children (Aliza, 4; Norah, 2; Judson 7 months). We left the United States and moved to Dubai 3 years ago to start this new church in downtown Dubai. You can check out our church website here: www.redeemerdubai.com and our family blog at www.lifeinarabia.org.
Tell us a little about the area you work in
We live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Over the past decade Dubai has been one of the fastest growing cities in the world. It is also one of the most diverse cities on the planet with over 200 different languages that are spoken. Dubai is also diverse socioeconomically. In one neighborhood you have the world’s tallest building and an indoor ski-slope and in other sections people are living in abject poverty. It is certainly a city of contrasts as the world has literally come and met in the middle of the world, in Dubai.
Tell us a little about how you got involved in ministry in this area
We took a quick layover in Dubai about 7 years ago and quickly fell in love with the city and the people. Our hearts were broken for those who have never heard the gospel. There wasn’t any gospel witness in the center of the city and after encouragement from several different pastors we decided to make the move.
Tell us a little about some of the difficulties of ministry
Redeemer Dubai has 50 different ethnic groups—which is a blessing and a challenge. Our church is incredibly diverse which makes it difficult as a pastor to learn how to minister to people from every inhabitable continent.
Tell us a little about some of the blessings of your ministry
The ethnic diversity of our church is by far the most amazing thing about serving here. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn and grow in our spiritual life as we spend time with people from different backgrounds. It’s also wonderful to come together each week as the body of Christ from all the around. We’re reminded that the Gospel unites and that Christ has drawn us into a new community—a new family. Our diversity and unity are sweet reminders of the gospel and a foretaste of our eternal destiny.
Do you have a team or do you work alone? Why?
By God’s grace we have a team to minister with– we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our staff team comes from four different continents (Africa, Asia, Australia and North America) and helps represent the diversity of our church. We’re also able to encourage each other, carry the burden of ministry together, and complement each other’s gifts.
Do you have a plan or a strategy for reaching out with Christ?
Everything we do is centered upon and shaped by the Gospel and so we encourage our congregation to proclaim Christ everywhere we go. We train and equip our church members to share their faith with their co-workers, neighbors and friends. Our primary equipping tool for evangelism is called Two Ways to Live. You can check out the website here: http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/
How do you do discipleship?
We have both a men’s and women’s ministry where we train and mentor the leaders in the church. The staff and elders and other leaders also engage in discipling relationships. Our hope and prayer is that our church would embody a culture of discipleship where this would be normal in our community,.
What are the best resources you have come across?
These two books are excellent guides for church ministry: Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever and Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. A helpful website that we come back to time and time again to help us with church matters is www.9marks.org.
How important is training leaders for this work?
Leadership is essential as we seek to lead our church and start more churches in the area. Trellis and the Vine reminds us that our church is not about programs or events but about people and gospel growth. Our hope is that our people would grow in their knowledge and love for Jesus.
How could we be praying for you?
There are a couple of ways that you could be praying for us right now.
(1) Leadership Development – Pray for us as we seek to develop and disciple leaders for our growing church.
(2) Spiritual growth – Pray that as a family and as a church that our affections for Christ would grow. As the great Horatius Bonar once said, “We can only be much with others, if we’ve been much alone with Christ.” Pray that we would delight in Jesus and that our ministry would overflow from our relationship with Him.