Counting the Wins in Baby Steps

As a preacher of the Gospel, how do I measure “success”? How do I know if I am actually fulfilling my calling?

I have heard some say that you should not talk about numbers because God just wants us to be faithful. Yes, that is true to a degree. Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). If we are faithful to abide in Christ, He will give fruit in due season. At some point, there will be some fruit (which cannot always be counted in numbers) if we are being faithful to do God’s work, God’s way.

I used to think that a salvation “decision” was a way to measure success. And then, I witnessed so many walk away after they prayed a prayer. Then, I decided that someone making a public commitment of baptism was a win. Yes, it is a tremendous step of obedience, but it is not the end of the journey; it’s only the beginning.

next stepsToday, I would say that a win is taking the next step. When someone trusts Christ as Savior, we celebrate that. When someone gets baptized, we celebrate that. When someone commits to studying the Bible with a mentor, we celebrate that. When someone decides to join the church, we celebrate that. When someone gets to the point in their spiritual growth to begin mentoring a believer younger in the faith, we celebrate that. When someone commits to greater training and leadership, we celebrate that.

During the month of April, we set aside time for a “Celebration of Service” to recognize all those who are actively serving in worship, evangelism, and discipleship. We used the opportunity to encourage everyone to take the “next step” in their own spiritual journey.

2019.4-celebration

Church Planting Strategy

A few supporters have asked why we need to purchase property now, at this young stage of the church plant.  Here are the major reasons why, taken from https://ibamissions.wordpress.com/ministry/

The Current Need – With a church established and growing, our next major goal is to purchase property and build a building.  The strategy in this is in order to:

  • Give room for growth – We have outgrown our current facility and are going to two Sunday services.  Having an adequate building that gives plenty of room for growth will free up that time for other disciple-making opportunities.
  • Establish a permanent presence in the community – In Argentina, many “evangelical” (the name given to any non-Catholic church) churches rent a facility and come and go quickly. However, owning property gives a sense of permanence in the community and security to its members.
  • Be wise stewards of our resources –  Loans are not only difficult to obtain in Argentina, but their rates fluctuate and can run 30% or more.  Rent is increased 10% per year and is renegotiated after 3 years.  This makes it unaffordable and unfeasible to stay in a rented facility for more than 3 years.
  • Prepare the groundwork to hand over the work to a national pastor – Once the church is alleviated of the burden of a rental contract, it frees up funds to pay a national pastor’s salary.  We want the church to be prepared as soon as possible.