Short version for skimmers:
--4 months of concentrated prayer
--4 months of abundant Gospel sowing (intentional evangelism)
Details for those who have a couple of minutes:
A few days ago, Geovanny and I were talking "shop" about various aspects of the Lord's work going on here in Guayaquil. In the middle of the conversation, he said, "have I told you yet that we are no longer a single church meeting at "11 and Huancavilca", but are now a network of six house churches?"
Seeing my obvious interest, he proceeded to share what had taken place over the past few months...
"In April 2008 there were 29 of us meeting together in our church. We decided to ask God for 70 new believers by year's end. From April to August we did nothing but pray. Some weeks we would fast and pray, other times we stayed up all night praying...but prayer was our focus, praying the Lord of the Harvest for laborers and praying for the "70". We prayed individually and collectively for four months.
Sometime around mid-August we started praying less, but began implementing an evangelistic emphasis every month. At first we thought a single monthly effort would not be enough. But because of the spiritual preparation make by the previous months of concentrated prayer, we were amazed at the response these evangelistic efforts were bearing in spiritual fruit.
By year's end (2008) we had surpassed our prayed for goal of 70, and were busy discipling 110 new believers --the fruit given to us by the Lord from these monthly evangelistic efforts. In Feb-Mar of this year, these new disciples began meeting in five homes closer to where they lived. Nelson is now leading the "Villa España" church, José the "Sucre y 14" group, Marcos and Tania the "Balerio" church, Juán the "Febres Cordero y 14" group, and William the "35 y El Oro" house church.
For 2009-2010 we plan to continue our PRAYER-EVANGELISM strategy and are now asking the Lord for 300 new disciples and 20 new churches by the end of next year..."
Observations. 110 new believers from an initial 29 is a phenomenal 380% growth rate. How many churches do you know with this kind of growth in less than a year? How many churches have you heard about recently that planted five other churches in less than a year?
As much as I quizzed Geovanny, the only "strategy" was prayer and proclamation of the Gospel. So much for all the fancy stuff we think we have to do to reach the lost! No surveys taken, no $150 conferences (plus $800 airfare/hotel) to learn "how to", no $$$ spent on media campaigns, no stadiums rented out, no free concerts or hot dogs...just prayer and proclamation. Sometimes I think we ought to take a year's fast from all our books, conferences, blogs, internet, and do nothing more than get serious about prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in what Jesus would have us do to reach our lost family, friends, neighbors and co-workers with the Good News of Christ.
What are your own observations? What can we learn from the above? Is there anything in Geovanny's testimony that speaks to your heart about prayer, evangelism or church planting?