This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a fellow IBC pastor, who is serving in Hamburg, Germany. I met James Wentworth at an IBC meeting in Croatia in 2022 when he was an elder, but not the lead pastor, at IBC Hamburg. James was, at that time, entering a season of discernment about whether to answer the call to ministry, quit his job, and go on staff with the church, thus replacing the long-standing interim pastor at IBC Hamburg. James has since accepted that call and was installed as the pastor at IBCH in early April.
There were many reasons to make a trip to Hamburg. First, James has become of friend, and I relished the opportunity to see him, meet his family, and provide him with the chance to take a break from his weekly preaching responsibilities. Secondly, James has shown some interest in the courses that ATI offers. Therefore, I wanted to get to know him and the church as a potential ATI partner. Finally, IBCH was gracious to take up an offering for the refugee ministry of the IBC church in Romania, an offering that I will be delievering to IBC Bucharest in June.
Walking around Hamburg was a fun and interesting experience. One can immediately see the need for more Gospel-preaching churches in the area. It is also obvious that Hamburg has always been an international city. Hamburg is the major port of Northern Germany, and it was one of the major cities in the Hansiatic league, a medieval confederation of cities for defense and trade. Evidence of this history is everywhere in the city.
Photo 1: A corner in the Portuguese quarter of Hamburg
Photo 2: The belfry of the Norwegian Seaman's Church of Hamburg (next door is the Finnish Seaman's Church of Hamburg)
Photo 3: The rose window at St. Michael's Church (note the subject matter: seeking divine blessing upon the seamen)
Photo 4: Old storage houses where ships were unloaded and loaded. This canal is a mere 100 meters away from IBC Hamburg.
My time in Hamburg was a blessed time of fellowship, worship, and mutual support. The time with James and his family was a refreshing reminder of the importance of ministry partnerships, church cooperation, and convention affiliation. And despite the differences between IBC Hamburg and IBC Bonn, it was a confirmation of the unity that we have in Christ Jesus. It was also a humbling reminder of that the church (local and global) is made up of co-workers in Christ Jesus.
Please pray for James and IBC Hamburg:
Pray for James as he settles into his new role as lead pastor.
Pray for more elders and leaders to be equipped.
Pray for unity and grace in the church as it goes through its current period of leadership transition.