Sunday, June 3

How house churches get started in Guayaquil

This is a typical story of how house churches get started in Guayaquil...

Mónica was hired to clean the house of a believer, Martha. Mónica began to open up with Martha about the problems she was having at home with the man she was living with. Martha would cry and pray with Mónica. She openly shared Christ telling her He could heal her life and home if she would just trust him. Mónica thought it too good to be true what Martha shared.

One day Mónica decided to invite Martha to come to her house to share the Gospel with her family. Martha took along Marlene, a gifted evangelist from the house church she attends. Marlene and Martha arrived at Monica's and gathered the family together to dialogue about spiritual matters. Monica felt strongly that she should give her heart to Christ. She was certain that she would be the only one to do so. Much to her surprise, Medardo, her daughter Aneida, and her live-in boyfriend David ALL gave their hearts to the Lord! From the very beginning, Medardo and David were changed dramatically by the power of Jesus working in their lives. Monica and Aneida were overcome with joy in the Lord.

That was September 2006. Marlene, Martha and others began 45-minute weekly bus trips to disciple their new converts. Both couples decided early on that it would be best to get legally married. Recently they were all baptized (see video here.) In Mónica and Medardo's home they proudly display their framed new believer diplomas--Baptism, Discipleship I, Discipleship II, and Christian Marriage Certificate. In all I counted TEN framed certificates on their walls! Several others have since been won to the Lord. These new beleivers are being discipled by Medardo and Mónica. Both just completed our 7-week COSECHA to help them with their own church planting. They will now proudly add their new "Church Planter" certificate to their wall collection!

This past Sunday, Barbara Rivers and I were invited to visit the new church that meets in their home. We sang song after song as everyone wanted to make sure their favorite was sung. Medardo shared his testimony and a short devotional thought on faith. It was evident that he had worked hard on it all week knowing his "teachers" would be present. Prayers were voiced, the offering was collected, and words of encouragement were shared by several. Medardo and Monica shared that just this past week their other daughter, Maria, had also accepted the Lord!!! They are overcome with joy that their whole family--including grandpa--has joined the family of God!

After a lunch of chicken and rice, everyone gathered around Monica's sister, Rosa, to share Christ with her. She listened intently to all the testimonies of how Christ had changed everyone's life. Words cannot describe how precious it was to hear testimony after testimony of how Christ has totally transformed their lives, brought them happiness, freed them from the shackles of sin, and given them a purpose for living. Medardo even shared he had lost 20 lbs. since becoming a Christian. He called it "sin weight" that was taken away when he gave his heart to Jesus! Monica's sister Rosa has SEEN the change in her family's lives, and knows it is for real. Yet she was not yet ready to give her heart to the Lord. She will though, it is just a matter of time!

After worshipping, sharing, eating, picture taking, and visiting together for nearly three hours everybody went home happy.

This is how house churches get started in Guayaquil. For all my years of studying and preparation, reading books, attending conferences, strategizing, fussing and fuming, church planting boils down to...

1) Someone going to share the Good News of the powerful life-transforming life that is found in Christ.
2) Making disciples of those who respond by walking alongside them in their initial steps of life in Christ.
3) Baptizing as soon as possible those who believe.
4) Teaching them to observe all Jesus commanded.

Should church planting really be any more complicated than that? If we will do our part, Jesus promises to do his part and BUILD HIS CHURCH.

21 comments:

Tim Patterson said...

Guy,

You prove the point that church planting is not easy but it is simple! Thanks for that story. The one crucial element that we tend to overlook in the process is that someone must share their story of life-change. We can do everything technically correct, but if we miss that, we strike out.

S.A.M. said...

Guy,

This is the kind of thing I attempt to explain to those who wonder what we will be doing on the mission field. Many people seem to think we are going to build our own church and go door to door converting people. I guess that is the perception that many people have about being on the mission field. And like Tim said, it is not easy, but is very simple: life change and testimonies are crucial to sharing Jesus with others, and all they really are is stories. Plant the seed and let the Holy Spirit grow it in the hearts of those who hear. I love hearing your stories and look forward to having many more to read, as well as write about our own experiences on the field.

SAM

OC Hands said...

Guy,
I am posting this report on my blog at www.vopraise.blogspot.com
How do we link to the video? When I clicked on the link, it took me to another version of the same post. I am clueless, Help!!!
Milton

Strider said...

Thank you for this very encouraging post Guy. I don't know whether to praise God or be jealous. I think I will praise God. To him be the glory! We do the same thing where we are only instead of people accepting Christ they look at us with utter confusion for several months and when they do finally understand they are scared to death. Still His Kingdom goes forward even here. Thanks again for all you are doing and your very encouaraging way of sharing it.

jeff w. said...

Thanks.

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

I like that, "church planting is not easy but it is simple." And you are right, unless we share the Gospel, how will they ever hear and respond?

SAM,

A person's personal story of how Christ has changed their life is a very powerful tool in sharing the Gospel. All our people are taught to naturally share their testimony. Nothing speaks louder to lost people than a life transformed by Christ.

Milton,

Thanks for posting on VOP! I tested the link and it works fine for me. Here is the direct link...make sure it is all on one continuous line...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYFVKi_p0wg

Strider,

The "utter confusion" part can also be part of people's experience here. However, once they decide to be baptized--which we stress early on--a lot of their doubts clear up and they tend to follow the Lord faithfully after that. For us the key is the discipleship process that is begun within 48 hours of a person making a decision to follow Christ. I wish these kinds of stories were what make the "news" amongst S. Bapt. and not the divisive issues that seem to dominate the headlines these days.

OC Hands said...

Guy,
I hate to keep bothering you, but I don't think this is the same video. Also, how do i post it on my blog? I have fofgotten.
Thanks for your help.
Milton

Gary Snowden said...

Guy,

Thanks for another great post on church planting in Guayaquil. It was good to see Barbara's photo as well. She and her sister Carolyn were at UT-Austin when I attended there and we went to the same church, singing in the college choir together as I recall.

GuyMuse said...

Milton,

You were right about it being the wrong baptism. I have emailed you the code for the correct baptism. Just plug the code into your blogger dashboard "new post" and the video should appear. If not write me back via email and we'll see what needs to be done. Thanks for the effort!

GuyMuse said...

Gary,

Yes, Barbara has mentioned several times about knowing you. Drop her an email sometime brivers[at]samregion[dot]com I know she would love to hear from you.

Jeff,

Thanks for the "thanks"!

OC Hands said...

Guy,
I wasn't able to make the code work as you emailed it to me. I just lifted the link to Youtube, and it works, just like the one on your blog.
I spent so much time trying to make this work on my blog, that I failed to comment on the content of your blog. Excellent reporting on what God is doing there!!! We do rejoice with you over these wonderful reports. And I agree with the "simple" strategy of church planting. May your tribe increase.

Alan Knox said...

Guy,

Thank you for sharing this. I especially loved the image of brothers and sisters gathering around someone to help them understand the gospel. I also appreciate the fact that this unbeliever could not deny the changed lives! Wow! If only every unbeliever was a witness to changed lives!

I hope you share more stories like this. I think the church needs to see believers coming together without the trappings that we so often associate with "church", and yet so often hinder and distract the church.

-Alan

GuyMuse said...

Milton,

Sorry about all the trouble with the baptism video link. I was glad to see that you were able to "fix" it on your own blog. Thanks for the link to this wonderful story about what continues to do here in Ecuador.

Alan,

Yes, I wish more of us M's would be more active telling the great stories of what God is doing in our midst. Maybe then we wouldn't do so much fighting and squabbling amongst ourselves over petty secondary issues. It seems controversy trumps God's works everytime, that is what we are interested in, not so much the nations coming to know the Savior, or at least that is the way it seems to this M.

WTJeff said...

Guy,

As one who is on the unlearning curve of doing church, I have one question for you. What is are the discipleship 1 & 2 classes comprised of and how do you teach them? Coming from a conventional church background, my tendency is to make things too complicated. I would be interested in how you approach discipleship and keep it simple. If you would prefer to respond via email, you can do so at jspmho[at]gmail.com

Grace,

Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

GuyMuse said...

Jeff,

Within 48-hours of a new believer making a decision to give their hearts to Christ, we begin what we call the "Discipleship Route" with them. The Discipleship-1 consists of 7 lessons which basically is to confirm their salvation experience and get them baptized. Discipleship-2 is a longer 18-week study of basic lessons every Christian needs to know (eg. how to have a daily devotional, the commands/teachings of Christ, etc.) There is actually enough material to get them through the first year of their walk with the Lord. After the 25th week, the new believer is expected to take our church planting course COSECHA so that they can begin to repeat the discipleship process with people they lead to the Lord and hopefully plant a new church with these newly won believers. That is it in a nutshell. The COSECHA church planting manual explains all of this step by step in "20 Steps to Planting a NT Church".

EL OJO PROTESTANTE said...

Bendiciones Guy.
Me alegra y motiva saber cómo están brotando las semillas del Evangelio.
Para compartor y aprender ...y porqué no, tomar ejemplo.
Un abrazo
Dany
PD:¡Que bonito quedó el encabezado del blog!

GuyMuse said...

Daniel,

Gracias de nuevo por tu visita y palabras de animo. Me costo un rato aprender a poner todo en el encabezado pero ya creo que puedo hacerlo a menudo para variarlo un poco. Bendiciones.

Dorcas Hawker said...

Guy -

What an encouraging post about God working in the world. Thanks for sharing the moment.

Dorcas

GuyMuse said...

Dorcas,

Thank you for praying for us, supporting the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Offering, helping to make all of this possible. It really is a team effort with everyone doing their part!

Martin Fischer said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I for sure had some tears in my eyes as I read through the story how the power of Jesus changed their lives. I pray, that we may see it also in Switzerland. And I hope to be a part of that story...! We desperately need Gods power here to reach the lost people.

Martin

BTW: It's a pitty, that your articles can't be printed out.

GuyMuse said...

Martin,

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments. One way to print the post would be to highlight all the text and then copy/paste into a blank document. Give it a try! If the photos don't come out you can individually right click each image and "save image as" and then reinsert them into the document text.