The season of many little BIG things

Firstly, my apologies for having not updated the blog in ages! Here are some of the highlights over the last two months.

On Tuesday 19 May, I set off for northern France, dropping off our top mate Parveen in Marles-les-Mines en route to my little Première Classe motel for the week. The latter was not the original plan, but having spoken to my hosts the night before departure, I hadn’t realised that they weren’t going to be there that week; a slight assumption on my part! Nevertheless, the crossing was booked, I was giving a mate a lift so I booked the cheapest motel I could find, which was over 30kms south of Lille in Hénin-Beaumont and there I spent the week, trying to be as constructive as possible in applying for jobs from my little tablet. 



The following week, I was able to stay with my host family, Jean & Marie-Hélène Ruff in Coutiches, a little nearer at 28kms from Lille. I was based there for the following two weeks and this family were so kind to me – a real blessing from God to support me so self-sacrificially! Small family, BIG blessing!

I spent my time searching and applying for jobs and having meet-ups with various church leaders from the Nord region. I had no idea at the time that it would take less than three weeks to find a full-time job – little time, BIG miracle! It was through a contact of mine from the BCCI (British Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Lille) that referred my CV to a language institute that were recruiting. I called them on Wednesday 3 April, had an interview on Thursday and was offered the job on Friday! And what’s more, to start on Monday 8 April! Talk about whirlwind provision from Jehovah Jireh! 

Thankfully, I had a window of time that weekend before starting work to fly from Lille to Geneva for the wedding of our dear friends Joey and Nikki Natali! It was such an honour and privilege to be there to witness the God-glorifying union of a gospelising, nation-shaping couple! Here follow a few photos of: the beautiful Lake Geneva, the church in Genthod and the happy couple! Image







In six weeks of teaching English I have taught 150hrs face-to-face with adults and racked up about 1,500kms of driving to get to the classes all over the Nord region! It has been fascinating! My students range from working in insurance, to cheese factories; bio-sciences to lawyers; directors of an international DIY firm to quality technicians in a leading bakery production line. I have been glad to receive positive feedback regarding my lessons and am really enjoying this new challenge. It was great to enjoy a team-building day with work earlier this week at a cooking workshop! Suffice to say, my George was thrilled to hear that I might pick up a few tricks in the kitchen, and although we did cook a knock-out three course meal, it may be hard to replicate…



From my first day at work, I have been staying with my second host family, Helen and Tony Banton in Tourcoing. Once again, an amazing provision from God – I have known few people as generous as these former Sheffielders! 

I have had the opportunity to visit Christ Church Lille a couple of times; once by myself and once with George & Mim when they visited me for the weekend. I also had dinner with the chaplain there, Debbie Flach, and I am encouraged by our mutual passion to see people saved and discipled.

I also visited the Eglise Evangélique de Lille Métropole last Sunday, although, I haven’t been able to meet anyone there yet. A very impressive building and about 500 in attendance! So good to see God at work in Lille!




However my church-visiting highlight so far was to the Christian Outreach Centre church plant in Marle-les-Mines where Parveen is staying with the key plant couple, Jonathan & Sandrine Civel. Having only spent a few moments with this couple in the past, we soon realised we had quite a bit in common in the way of persuasion for church planting. I was amazed but gladly accepted the offer when Jonathan asked me to preach at their next meeting! I felt God lead me to preach on the gifts of the Spirit, as it was the Pentecost weekend after all (N.B. Holy Spirit moves 24/7, 7/7, 365/365 – thank the Lord!). I managed to preach in French for 40mins and they all stayed awake, smiled and nodded throughout! Another miracle! I led us in a response time for people to be filled with the Spirit and following a word of knowledge I had about someone suffering from nightmares and that God wanted to set them free from that, a guy stepped forward and we all prayed for him! Great stuff! Here’s a pic of the gang who were there:


So you’re pretty much up to date now!

George finishes her job in Canterbury next Friday and so she and Mim are ready to move out in June. I continue to look for a place for us to live and we would appreciate your continued prayers for the right place to come through for us.

I have regular communication with a variety of people from differing nations who are interested in the church plant, which is thrilling! Please pray for God’s continued establishing of our hearts with others who He is calling to join us at this foundational stage.

Thanks for your support!


The mundane, yet no less mandatory

Another freshly-baked offering from the fabulous George!


While chatting to a friend the other day about all the different decisions we are making in our move to France he said “it’s funny how when you hear about church plants going on around the world it’s usually about the amazing numbers they got at their first official meeting, or the numbers saved at an amazing evangelistic event, or how God provided the most amazing building; not the days, months and years of mundane and “normal” life that goes on prior to these times’.  
I’m not sure if I’d been boring him but it’s safe to say that life isn’t mundane for us; far from it!  I suppose what my friend was meaning was that there’s so much more to church planting that just rocking up in your new town or city, finding a meeting place and getting the hundreds hearing about Jesus and through the door.  Jobs have to be found, neighbourhoods researched, houses purchased, packing done and undone, schools and nurseries looked into, a car bought, public transport systems worked out, local supermarkets located, friends made etc. “Normal” life has to take place as far as possible (especially if you have kids).
In all honesty I suppose I’d not really thought about just how many “big people” decisions we’d have to make in moving; the same decisions whether you are moving abroad or down the road.   We’ve never done this before! We don’t really know what we’re doing but somehow, step by step, decisions are being made; the mundane and the necessary.
So, we’d love your prayers on some of the mundane but necessary decisions we are making. We need wisdom, and lots of it!
We are currently looking for a house to rent in Lille (hopefully one turned the right way up!) and are very much torn as to the right area for us.  We really like a central area called the Vauban.  As I said, it’s central, bustling, near a large university, walking distance into the centre, on a metro line and near a large municipal zoo etc.  Also on our radar is an area further out of the centre which has some new housing in our price range with a garden, larger rooms, nice quiet streets, a nearby park, much better parking facilities and on a bus route.  A mundane decision you may think and had we not had a young family we wouldn’t be thinking twice about being in the hustle and bustle of the Vauban.  We so want to be where God wants us.  Please pray that, quite literally, the right door opens up.
Thanks so much, we need your prayers, we need your support, and we need God’s wisdom in the mundane as well as the thrilling.

George Eaton

Beginnings, ends & beginnings


As I seem unable to have sat down to update the Newfrontiers Lille blog recently, I called upon reinforcements to pick up the mantle (namely, the beautiful Georgina Eaton!). Church planting is all about the team! 

Life is somewhat strange for the Eaton family at the moment.  There seem to be a lot of beginnings of ends and even more beginnings of beginnings.


Roger began a new job in Lille, teaching English to businesses all over the Nord region just 3 days after an interview, having only been in France for a total of about 9 days. I have handed my notice in at work, my last day will be Friday 31 May, which means we are beginning a season of being apart for a number of weeks, but the end is in sight.
Until these major decisions had been made I’d been feeling fine about leaving, but there wasn’t a specific end, and now there is.  A date; a date to the end of our life here in Canterbury and a date for the beginning of our adventure in Lille. Here we are, at the beginning of that end and yes, the emotions are running pretty high!


I love this city – I’ve lived here for over 11 years. Came to uni, met a guy, fell in love, got married, had a baby, been to countless weddings, held lots of friends’ newborn babies,  laughed a lot, cried quite a bit, danced loads, eaten some great meals, waved goodbye to special people, and made some life-long friends.  Not to mention how I’ve been emotionally, financially and spiritually blessed and encouraged by our family, not only at The City Church but by churches all over Kent. I’m doing my best not to burst into tears every time I’m with a friend or even dropping Miriam off at her fantastic child minder. I’m sad, scared, excited, nervous and energised for the adventure ahead (depending on what day you ask me!).
This is the beginning of an end, but it’s also a HUGE beginning of a beginning.


So raise a glass (preferably of a fine French red if I were you), to ends and beginnings; life would be rather dull without them!

George Eaton

Why plant another church?

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Newfrontiers France Younger Leaders weekend in Melun, not far south-west of Paris. This was a gathering of about 70 people, mostly in their 20s & 30s who are in some form of leadership within the New Ground Churches apostolic sphere, part of Newfrontiers. In this new era for Newfrontiers, I was there under the banner of Relational Mission but felt incredibly welcomed in these exciting times of pressing forward together on mission.

Dave & Liz Holden of New Community Church Sidcup and Stuart & Livy Gibbs of Emmanuel Church Greenwich were the main speakers for the weekend and led us superbly, essentially teaching on how we can hear God and mature in His ways, developing a Gospel-centred nature in all that we do, especially through our leadership.

One part of the weekend involved a lengthy Q&A section, which was filled with weighty questions for the panel to answer. As I set forth to plant a church in Lille, I have been asked several times recently why I am going to plant a new church when I could join an existing church and help them out? I decided to ask the panel what they thought and although I didn’t record what they said during the Q&A, I did get an opportunity to video Stuart Gibbs the next day to capture his thoughts on the matter.


The story so far (cont’d)…Jan to Jul 2012

January 2012

A small group of us went again in January, including my wife and daughter, George & Miriam, to visit and pray. It was after this trip that we decided as a couple, that ‘yes, we are going to commit to this.’ It hasn’t meant that it has been easy but it has helped to resolve in our hearts together and before God for this – ‘God has said and we have agreed.’

Shortly after this I had the opportunity to join Mike Betts in presenting the journey so far for the Lille initiative at the Newfrontiers Prayer & Fasting conference in Peterborough. When you share your heart on the matter before some 700 leaders, it tends to galvanise something in you; a kind of point of no return! And with each step in faith, God opens yet more doors.

March 2012

In March, Graham invited Silvain Biville, leader of Ciel Ouvert, Lille, to preach in Ashford and I interpreted for him. It was a joy to minister with him and his wife, seeing people healed after a powerful presence imparting message.

We produced a promo video for the initiative in English, with an 18-30s angle, to launch at Mobilise in April. God was clearly bringing the plans for Lille to the fore as, slightly embarrassingly, the plant was mentioned every day from the platform in some way, shape or form. It was thrilling for me to be interviewed by PJ Smyth and find myself in many conversations with people interested in finding out more.

Mobilise 2012 - interview

A lady prophesied over me at Mobilise saying that God was going to give us breakthrough in forming relationships with the Catholic community by His Spirit and that George and Miriam would be key to opening this up in ways that I alone could not.

There are many people groups in this city – it is very multicultural. I want to see a church built here that welcomes the nations of the world, becomes one in Christ, equipping and sending people to the ends of the earth from this place!

May 2012

In May, a small group of us came to Lille to prayer walk around areas of the city. A well respected prophet by the name of Keith Hazell, who works closely with RM and has an incredible anointing, felt he had God impress the name ‘Charles’ in his mind one evening and thought nothing more of it. The next day, he awoke with the clear sense that God was highlighting this name for the Lille initiative, so he faithfully passed this on to Mike and Graham, who in turn shared this with me. I decided to search for the significance of this in the city and sure enough, came across a church on the map called église St Charles, in the Bois Blancs area to the west of the city. We decided to investigate and came in May to pray at this church and in this area. On arrival, the doors to the building were locked shut so we stretched out our hands to the doors and prayed ‘Lord, open these doors for us.’ A moment later, whilst chatting to the lady behind the bar in a café opposite, she pointed me to speak to the priest next door to the church. I went to do so and a chap came out of that house as I approached. I had barely finished saying hello and that I was interested in the church when he strode over to the church to open it up for us to have a look around!

The significance of this church or even this area remains unclear in God’s purposes for us. However I know that when we pray, God hears and acts – sometimes very quickly! Journey with us as we push on the door for what this ‘Charles’ word means.

In May we returned to Lille to meet with another Lille church leader called Eddy Wallez, a Belgian pastor whose church is based in the north-east part of the metropolitan area called Wattrelos. This church is part of the Destinée family of churches, the name given for Salt & Light churches’ work in France. Again, we were thrilled to find another man of kindred heart for the gospel and the clear favour of God upon apostolic movements fellowshipping and honouring one another. Eddy had received a really powerful picture, just the day before, that clearly illustrated how we could work effectively together:

  • Eddy Wallez: “I had a picture of a large, galleon sailing ship, with many masts and sails. All the sailors on the ship were manning different sails, with several working in a team for each sail, ensuring that it was clean and pulled taught by the ropes; kept in good repair and ready to be gathered in if need be. And although each team were primarily focussed on their own sail, there was an awareness and even working together or sharing of teams for certain sails. All were guided by the captain and his direction caused them to work in unison to guide the ship with maximum efficiency.” This is a clear picture of how God seeks to build His Church, through many churches that primarily are to see to the condition of their own people, goals, fellowship, mission etc but also to be mindful of other churches and indeed to work together when God says to do so. And all is guided by Jesus, our great captain.

We left with hearts full and so undone by the favour and grace of God! What a picture! Can you smell the sea air? Don’t you yearn for something like that? God shows us a more excellent way!

July 2012

“Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !”

“Let’s go children of the fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!”

La Marseillaise was composed by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792 and was declared the French national anthem in 1795. The anthem is violently graphic, as it holds the vitriolic spirit that caused the revolutionaries to storm the Bastille prison in Paris in 1789, declaring independence from the monarchy.

When a group of about 20 people gathered from across the south of England for our first official prayer day in Lille on 14 July (Bastille Day), as the rain poured down, you could be forgiven for thinking that it wasn’t to be a glorious day after all! However, God was in our midst.

I lead the group on a tour of the city, stopping at various points to pray and upon arrival to Place Rihour at lunchtime, one of the main squares in the centre of the city, not only did the clouds part and the sun come out in full strength but a procession of worshippers suddenly arrived in the square. We spoke with them and learned that they were a church from Paris who had come to pray and worship in Lille for the day, so we asked to join them and asked if they could pray for us. And what followed shall remain with me always as we were surrounded by over 100 Christians, originally from French Guiana, worshipping with all their beautiful exuberance.

Impromptu worship time

We were so encouraged and strengthened by God’s coinciding of our visits, to worship as God’s children in our Father’s land (everywhere!) and to depart from that first prayer day in Lille for this embryonic church plant with great hope, for the day of His glory is here!

Some of the prophetic encouragements that God gave us that day included:

“I saw an overcast sky, then a lightning bolt and the word ‘breakthrough’. God is going to tear down the walls of spiritual separation in Lille, just like the temple curtain when Jesus died, and there will be an outpouring of His Spirit.”

Bastille Day group

“I saw a poster on a building we passed earlier that said ‘Babel’ in large letters. In Genesis, God confused the language of the people because they sought to exalt themselves, but because we seek glory for Christ, no matter what nation we’re from or language we speak, we are united in Christ.”

Shortly after this first public prayer day in Lille, we joined around 600 other believers in the south of France for RDV2012 – the francophone Bible week that unites all French-speaking Newfrontiers churches for amazing times in God’s presence. In June, we had visited Lille to film a French version of the promo video with a slightly different storyboard with the aim of launching it at RDV2012. It was a great joy to share God’s plans for Lille with the existing Newfrontiers churches here in France with the hope that God will draw others into our midst for planting a church in Lille. I gave copies of the promo to the church leaders to take back to their localities thus casting the net yet wider as we seek to catch people up on mission.


Keep an eye on the Newfrontiers France website for details of RDV2013!!

‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’


I am a man who submits himself to the Word of God and I would live no other way. Despite a resolve to live according to God’s will, there are times when we come up against some passages of Scripture that baffle and bewilder us as they confront our personal worldview. Sometimes it is through our life experiences that we are led to raise further query in light of a particular verse. I muse on such things in the following a most remarkable encounter of undeserved favour that I found myself immersed in this weekend just gone.

As we prepare to move to Lille, it has been my privilege to preach at the Relational Mission churches in the East Kent Area (in November to Ashford & Tenterden; in December to Whitstable; in January to Broadstairs; and in February to Maidstone and still to come, Faversham on 24 February). It was this weekend just gone that I preached at The Vine church in Maidstone – a recent merger of The Beacon and Loose Baptist churches, which, from what I witnessed on Sunday, is progressing extremely well!

I arrived at the church on what was a wet, wintry day, yet warmed by my travelling company, that of my dear brother Caleb Simmons (FYI a superb illustrator & graphic designer – check it out!). We joined the pre-service prayer meeting and were impacted by the genuine sense of community and the presence of God as we gathered with several hundred people to worship. It was then my opportunity to preach from the story of Jonah and God’s missional call on his life; to then cast vision for our journey of obedience to plant a church in Lille. It is what happened when I finished, probably the most amazing demonstration of grace I have ever known (save for that of who Christ is for you & me)…I had no idea this was coming my way…

Tony Faulkner (one of the church elders) spoke to the congregation, encouraging people to come forward to shake me by the hand as a sign of their support for me, should they be so inclined. I thought this a nice touch and looked forward to one or two ambling forward to press palms as people dispersed to the teas & coffees. But no. 

First of all, a man leapt forward brandishing a painting his wife had painted for us (a photo of which is featured at the top), with a message of “breakthrough”, that no matter what trials lay ahead, the grace of our God penetrates the hardest of barriers to fulfil his purposes!

Wow! This was quite a welcome surprise of a gift, and as I began to speak out my gratitude, a lady stole out from one of the rows carrying an envelope for me, which she gave me accompanied by words of hope for us. I soon began to realise that these brave forerunners were the trailblazers of a rapidly forming queue of people, armed with their gifts and their beaming faces! This encounter with such generosity started to overwhelm me as person after person, couple after couple, even child after child came forward with their card, gifts, drawings/paintings and words of affirmation. I soon ran out of tears.



Now don’t miss this: very little of this display of love was as a result of what had happened in the pulpit for the preceding 40mins. This was a pre-meditated, collective decision to give out of love for who a person is, not for what a person does. I had not earned it, I did not merit such a display of affection, yet Jesus puts it in the renewed heart of man to love his fellow man with the same love that Jesus loves us; unconditionally and extravagantly!!

I departed from Maidstone a more-than-blessed man! A box full of almost 50 hand-written cards, letters and drawings/paintings (some containing financial gifts) and other gifts as well. Georgina & I cried with joy for the rest of the afternoon and have not stopped talking about it since:

@rogereaton has come back glowing and laden with blessings from preaching in Maidstone this morning #astounded #graceisSOgood

This is how the maidstone church blessed us this morning. Words, gifts & paintings from t oldest to t youngest



Just opened & read all the words of encouragement given to us this morning, about 45 envelopes. #emotionallywrecked#thorouglywashedfeet


This is what it is to be on mission together as churches through genuine relationship. It demonstrates the indescribable generosity of our heavenly Father. I love you Dad!!!

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35 ESV)


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1 ESV)


By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16 ESV)

Big vision and close friendships

Georgina, Miriam and I have been on quite an adventure this weekend just past; I thought I would take a moment to share it with you.

We set off for Folkestone after work on the evening of Friday 25 January, to catch the Eurotunnel to enable us to drive to France that night. After a delay on the crossing, we finally arrived in the small hours of the morning at our hosts’ house (the fantastic Nathan & Beki Lambert!) in St Cyr l’École, about 40kms south-west of Paris (as an aside, the town where one of my favourite bands grew up…AIR).

The next morning, we had an early start and drove into Paris for a prayer day uniting the leaders of the existing Newfrontiers churches in France and those in the process of being planted. It was thrilling to be together, united by big vision and close friendships. Dave Holden, who leads the New Ground sphere of churches, part of Newfrontiers, led the day as the majority of the churches are directly under his apostolic care. For some, such as the establishing church plant in Montpellier and the initiative for Lille, they come under the oversight of others, the latter namely with Mike Betts of Relational Mission, but all are united by our history of being part of the Newfrontiers family of churches. This has grown from small beginnings on the south coast of England four decades ago, into a movement that having reached some 800 churches in 6 regions of the world, has now decentralised  and released men into their apostolic gifting to develop more church planting movements around the globe. But it is clear that a key prophetic word for Newfrontiers still rings true in this new era:

We can do more together than we can apart

The health of this was exemplified by this excellent day of pray and fellowship together in Paris. Here is a short video of a moment in the day:

On the Sunday, family Eaton drove north to Coutiches, about 25kms south of Lille. We went there to stay with the Ruff family; Jean and Marie-Hélène and their two children. They are a wonderful family who have been so generous to us and helpful toward our next steps in moving to Lille to plant the church. To realise a big vision of seeking to plant a church that plants churches in Lille and beyond, it is through the close friendships that this comes about. God is clearly answering our prayers.

I see you stepping onto a path that you can only see the end of after about two paving slabs, then nothingness. But with a conviction of direction, as you step onto the next slab, another slab appears, enabling you to keep walking on track.

This prophetic word from Kristy De Robeck has really encouraged us, particularly as I (Roger) have handed in my notice with The City Church, having worked there for over 8 years; my last day is 28 February! We then step into our next faith step as I move to Lille to find work and a home for us.

Please join us in praying for:

  • Jobs – I am looking for work within project management for an international business
  • Housing – a 2/3 bedroom house/apartment that is connected to central Lille by either the tram or metro
  • Team – there is a growing number of people interested; please pray God fills their hearts with faith to join us

Thank you for standing with us.