Almost two years ago, I was blessed to be a part of the ministry in the Europe, CIS, Middle East leadership conference. In the concluding service, I listened with interest to the testimony of the pastor of the Emmanuel Church in Kiev as he shared the testimony of their vision of the past year in planting more than 1,000 new churches. I was amazed at the joyful response of the congregation in celebration with the Holy Spirit at the miraculous fulfillment of their faith. I was unprepared as the pastor used that testimony of the miraculous as a spring board to challenge his church once again for the new year and new expectation of planting another 500 churches. A few weeks ago, I sat in the same church as a witness of the celebration in fulfillment of that goal at the direction and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I was not unprepared this time as he once again issued the challenge concerning the great need of the harvest.
We see this same commitment to church planting through the pages of the book of Acts among the believers in the Early Church. For most of our history, church planting has been in our DNA as a movement. When the Great Commission says, “Go ye into all the world and make disciples of all nations” (Mark 16:15), we contend that it literally demands that we go and plant bodies of believers, communities of faith, where lost and bound people can be healed, delivered, restored, and empowered as ambassadors of Christ. Church planting is the unique ministry that did all of this throughout Christian history. In these past few years we have recommitted to challenging leadership at all levels to plant new churches. And as we invest in the harvest in this way, we anticipate miraculous results.
The miraculous rising in Latin America in a fresh commitment to planting churches is moving rapidly. This past fall as a guest minister in leadership conferences in Central and South America, I personally witnessed some of the growth explosion we are currently experiencing in both of these areas.
In cooperation with the Multiplication Network, Bishop Vidal and the leadership of South America have been training church planters at all levels of ministry. Currently, more than 50 church multipliers have already been trained and will be used to train the next generation of church planters. Their church planter mentoring program is designed to teach pastors of mother churches to mentor and build up church planters within their congregations. The projection of South America is to plant over 700 new missions and churches in the next three years. This projection includes all of our national ministries and missions in South America. The nation of Peru has initiated the goal of planting 500 new missions in the next three years. Bishop Vidal’s excitement is contagious. His prayers anticipate the direction and intervention of our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this vision to be accomplished within the time expected and petitions harvest prayer warriors in every ministry opportunity. You will no doubt hear his excitement in his testimony included in this issue.
This same phenomenon of growth can be witnessed in the ministry among our national works in Central America and the Spanish Caribbean as well. Bishop Feliz shares the excitement in his testimony of Dominican Republic as they have witnessed more than 50 new churches organized this year. That same impetus is moving in the nation of Nicaragua and their projection to plant more than 105 new churches before the International Assembly scheduled for July 2014. Honduras has stepped out in faith, projecting 1,000 churches by the year 2020. In the same way, South America is intentionally training their people with faith and expectation, Central America has established a church planting school in Guatemala that is building great momentum. That Spirit-momentum is transforming the nation. Additionally, Central America has seen the establishment of a new Gordon Conwell Consortium ministry school in Honduras and a continued growth of the Leader of Leaders school in Santo Domingo with an expectation of 60 students there this year. Bishop Feliz will tell you that great things are happening in Central America and they are witnesses to God’s movement in every nation.
One miraculous testimony in which I have become personally involved concerns a pastor from Nicaragua who recently moved in obedience to the Holy Spirit from his local leadership in a thriving church in Nicaragua to plant a church in Ecuador, South America. His passion to follow the Lord in this step of faith became the lost souls in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where we currently have no church fellowship in operation. Pastor Fredy Guillen is in the process of moving his family in faith from their home in Nicaragua to respond to the call of God.
Among our statement of beliefs we contend that God wants every person, everywhere, to be reached with His life-altering message of salvation. Our vision of what God desires for human beings is not limited by personality, geography, nationality, language, culture, race, education, income, or religion. Its scope is universal, its reach is global, its intent is world encompassing, its perspective is personal, and its purpose is transformational.
As you read and encounter the stories and testimonies from throughout our global network in this missions emphasis issue of the White Wing Messenger, I pray you will also celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit globally among our family, anticipate the miraculous, and be challenged to discover afresh the positioning of the Holy Spirit in your life and ministry. The celebration, anticipation, and discovery are a reflection of our heart of harvest among our people and our faith in Jesus that drives and compels us to reach the nations in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. And the Lord will surely help us to remember, and never forget that this mission effort concerns rescuing souls for eternity.