Friday, April 14

Starting House Churches in Guayaquil, Ecuador

What follows is a brief sketch of how we actually go about planting house churches in our context. Many are interested in the church planting going on in Guayaquil. This paper seeks to describe in a few words a sort of "case study" on the churches being planted giving both the positive and negative side of what we have experienced. Any and all comments are most welcome in that we feel we are continuously learning and adapting to what the Lord continues to show us.

Starting House Churches in Guayaquil, Ecuador
(July 2000-January 2006) following Luke 10:1-9 pattern

We call our church planting, "La Iglesia en Tu Casa" (The Church in Your House). LIETC began in July 2000. Our team at that time was composed of seven Southern Baptist missionaries (IMB-SBC) - all assigned to church planting. The team now consists of two IMB units, one SIM couple from New Zealand, and two national brothers who fully participate in all plans, teaching, decision making, etc. Our team is led by one of the national brothers.

None of the missionaries actually plant churches; rather, we are catalysts for church planting. The reason for this is that, if we set out to plant a church, we individually might plant 1 - 2 new churches a year. But as church planting catalysts, the only limitation of church starts is the number of people who respond to the Lord's call to go out and plant New Testament churches.

Lay leaders, whom we call "servant-leaders," lead all the house churches. At nearly any given moment, we are training between 20 to 30 men and women who are likewise in various stages of training and starting new house churches. Most of them tend to come out of established traditional evangelical churches and thus carry a lot of baggage with them in their seeking to begin new works...
We feel there are four requirements for anyone who wants to start a house church:

1) Willingness to win-disciple-train at least eight others each year.
2) Willingness to be trained in the basics of evangelism, discipleship, teaching, etc.
3) Willingness and commitment to visit, evangelize, and minister to the local community where the church is being planted.
4) Willingness to lead in the house church meetings (especially in the beginning as they are being started with non-believers.)

While there have been well above 250 new churches started since July 2000 , less than half are currently meeting and functioning as churches...While this �short shelf-life� of more than half the churches started is a source of great concern, we are nevertheless encouraged in that those won through the ministry of the new house churches tend to have had genuine salvation experiences... [read the full article HERE. ]

7 comments:

Ross Garner said...

Thanks Guy
This is really helpful. Do you have an english language version of your COSECHA manual, and would you be willing to email me a copy? I appreciate that modelling is a very important aspect of this training ... but since we are on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean we will have to just have a go and trust that the Holy Spirit guides us into practices that work in our context.

GuyMuse said...

Ross,

Thanks for stopping by. COSECHA was compiled out of our previous church planting materials we used for training. Since all our work is in Spanish we have very little material in English--sorry!

Basically each letter of COSECHA is a training module:

C=is an awareness module to help them get on board with the vision
O=prayer and how to pray specifically for a CPM
S=serve the lost people you are praying for
E=evangelistic ideas for winning people to Christ in group or one-on-one
C=conserving those won, practical steps
H=meeting in homes and how this is done
A=disciple the new believers so that they too can be part of the harvest

The whole training can be done in five hours, or stretched out over several weeks.

Rich Fleming said...

Guy,

Thank you for the information and the insight into house churches. We too are attempting to implment simular strategies. But the formation of groups of 8 is something I want to look into more as it sounds very interesting.

My question deals with how you monitor the existing house churches to gather information. Is there a network of house churches?
Rich Fleming
IMB Queretaro, Mexico

GuyMuse said...

Rich,

Monitoring the existing house churches is one of the most difficult tasks. That is one of the reasons we have moved to the "Groups of 8" in an attempt to have better networking relationships and accountability. We have a loose network of house churches that we relate to and try to have regular events where everyone is invited. These are usually some type of training event, camp, prayer emphasis, or fellowship times. We do have a master list of the house churches but it changes so often it is difficult to keep up to date.

RMc said...

This article helps me understand more! Some of the struggles you are having are similar to those that came to mind as I tried to understand what a CPM was, how they worked, developed, etc. I hadn't thought too much about the baggage a new believer brings in to the mix. If they have been innoculated with different versions of the traditional church, that would definitely cause problems with trying to do church (make disciples) a new way.

Hope you guys had a good Resurrection Day!

Rich Fleming said...

Guy,

Regarding your guiding values of LIETC. #4 mentions crossing denominational lines. What other groups or denominations do you see in Guayaquil who are planting churches? Do you believe these ones come to training because the Lord has called them (Luke 10:2) or are there denominational groups that this is part of their original DNA? I also have more questions if you do not mind.
Rich

GuyMuse said...

Rich,

Feel free to write with any questions you might have to guymuse@bigfoot.com

As for the other denominations we work with they are represented by everything from "A" to "Z". We do believe that they come to us as a result of 10:2b praying. We don't go out looking for these people, they find us and ask us for help. That is why we feel prayer is #1 on the list!