COSECHA is the Spanish word for harvest. It is our step-by-step method for training in church planting. The entire process can be taught in a single 5-6 hour workshop. However, we prefer to teach it over 7-10 weeks in weekly 2-hr. sessions.
Each letter of COSECHA stands for a module that must be understood and applied if there is to be a church planted.
“C” is for concientización [to make conscious] where our goals and vision are shared and HOW we are going to reach them. If people don’t know what they are expected to do, they will usually flounder. Clarity is of utmost importance. In the “C” module we show that the way to reach our goal of 500,000 baptized believers in newly planted house churches can be accomplished in the coming five years by every believer winning, baptizing, and discipling eight others per year. New believers are taught and trained to do the same. Everyone has an entire year to concentrate on their “eight.”
“O” is for oración [prayer]. We teach two prayer emphasis: 1) pray for the lost on the prayer lists each has made out of at least ten people who they know who are not saved and live around them, 2) pray the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into his harvest fields. Many of us talk a lot about prayer, but the key is to actually spend much time in prayer about the new church plant.
“S” is for servir [serve]. Those we are praying for must be served by us. It is in this third module that the heart of our strategy, Luke 10:1-9 is covered. This is the strategy that Jesus used to prepare his own 70 disciples for the work they would do after He returned to Heaven. In becoming aware of the needs of those we are praying for, we look for ways of serving/ministering to them. God uses these acts of love to open their heart.
“E” is for evangelizar [evangelize]. As we are praying and serving those the Lord has placed upon our heart, we ask Him to show us the best way we might share the Gospel with them in God’s time. We teach a “tool box” approach of some 20 different ideas and methods for sharing the Gospel. It is up to the individual and the Spirit to use the best method for each of those they are praying for.
“C” is for conservar el fruto [conserve the fruit]. This is a crucial step and one that if not heeded will be the cause of a loss of everything done up until this point. We must conserve the fruit the Lord has given us. Within a maximum of 48-hours, any new convert must be followed up—no exceptions! If the Lord has given you a convert it is YOUR responsibility to follow-up immediately. We teach four follow-up steps which include going over their decision for Christ, answering any questions/doubts that they have, helping them to fill out their own prayer list of lost family/friends, and setting up a time to begin the discipleship lessons.
“H” is for hogares [homes]. We meet in the home of the one making a decision for Christ. We teach a three-part outline of what takes place in a house church meeting. The new believer is encouraged to invite all their family/friends to participate in these discipleship meetings. From the very beginning this “church in formation” is intentional about being a church. They do everything a church does (yes, even with non-believers fully participating.) When the first baptisms are performed, the Lord’s Supper is also partaken of. The group ceases to be a “church in formation” and the new church continues to meet in the same way they have from day one. They cease from “becoming a church” to “being a church.”
“A” is adiestrar [discipleship]. The new believers continue in their own discipleship for ten weeks. If they are living and practicing the first ten lessons, they are expected to win their own “eight” and begin the process over with those they win to the Lord. Nobody is expected to leave their own church, rather they become parts of a growing network of local house churches. These small house churches relate to one another and share times and people with one another for the building up of the Body of Christ. New disciples continue to be discipled throughout the year (there are 52-lessons.) In this way everyone is being discipled by someone, while at the same time discipling someone else.
While it is far from being a perfect model and certainly does not work out as neatly in the “real world” as described above, the model continues to serve us in our local context. For those critical of methods and formulas, and who are quick to throw out these kinds of approaches, I would point out that last year the Lord used this model of training to start 31 new churches and another 44 outreach groups in varying stages of church formation (according to IMB definition of church.) This is not to boast, but to point out that people need guidance and help in doing church planting. We have learned that many people are willing to plant a new work, but simply do not know how. Until the Lord shows us a better way, we will continue to train people in COSECHA.