As Pastor Jhon begins his sermon this Sunday morning there are almost 80 adults and children crowded into the borrowed community center in Barrio El Carmelo—just another poor area in Bogotá, Colombia. With his wife, Paola, they started this new church just 5 months ago as Jhon was completing his Church Planter Training.
He's left his work as an engineer and they survive on her work as a teacher because Jhon and Paola want this new church to thrive and grow, “The people in El Carmelo need the church—this church is the only way they are hearing the Gospel,” and Jhon adds, “and Jesus is changing their lives.”
Church Planter Training is an amazing and important part of the reach of the Gospel among the poorest, most neglected, or struggling communities today. Believers burdened to plant a church where needed most receive training and are equipped over the course of 12 to 18 months—in four intensive study sessions.
They learn from experienced church planters using God’s Word to guide their passion and reach new communities, villages, barrios—everywhere God’s Word is needed. And in the first few months of training, the planting actually begins.
It is so vital that church planters be part of their own communities—understanding the languages, culture, and people. With passion for those who need the Gospel, they share God’s Word, leading others to faith in Jesus Christ, answering difficult and important questions, and showing others the love of God.
Church planters make significant sacrifices—in already harsh and impoverished places.
They are volunteers, laboring each day to provide for their families and giving every waking hour to meeting with people, leading Project Philip Bible studies, and beginning to form a community that will become a new church.
And many immerse themselves in communities that others have abandoned as too dangerous, poor, or beyond hope. Like the barrio where Jhon and Paola live and in so many places surrounding Bogotá—there are no churches there, no beautiful, historic, and expensive cathedrals. But, thanks to your important help, there are new churches springing up in store fronts, homes, and community centers.
God has chosen these newly planted churches to transform people’s lives in more than a dozen countries. As people trust Jesus Christ they also learn to serve in their communities. This is how church planting is changing the world.