Monday, October 30, 2006

Exit strategy

God has been impressing on my heart for the last month that it is time to move forward with an exit strategy for the church starts in São Leopoldo. I met yesterday with our core team that started praying for a new church back at the end of January of this year. I told them all that I would be stepping back and that the primary responsibility for the work will fall on their shoulders.

Up until this point we have mainly been doing evangelistic and discipleship studies in homes. In those studies, we have tried to incorporate other aspects of "doing church," with varying degrees of success. We will be moving toward structuring the people who have been involved into more set house churches. These churches will have their own self contained worship and will be fulfilling all of the purposes of the church (including worship, which has been a little harder) within their group each week. The house churches will also have a network between them (you might call it an umbrella church) which will periodically bring all of the participants in the house churches together for larger group worship.

This is the vision. I would like to see it fully in place by the end of the year. I would love to be able to "put a bow on the top," fully hand it over to the Brazilian leadership and move on to the next step that God has for us.

Sometime in the next few weeks, we will be bringing the core team together to meet with the mother church pastor. He seems to be wanting to exert more control and authority, and has some ideas that could potentially take the work in an entirely different (much more traditional, controlled, and dependent on him) direction. Please pray that God will help him to see God's vision for this group, and pray that he will not start throwing his weight around to try to impress, as he did in a meeting with me a couple of weeks ago.

Most of all, please pray that these churches will be established and networked by the end of the year, that the Brazilians will step up, we will step back and be able to celebrate together in the new self-sufficient, self-reproducing, and self-governing churches that have been formed.


guymuse said...

I just finished reading last night "The Great Omission" by Steve Saint. What you write above in the post goes along very close to the main arguments the book is trying to make about the need of local believers being center stage and the missionaries on the periphery. If you get a chance to read this book, it is a good read and will encourage you in your "Exit Strategy" thinking.

Jeff Dunson said...

Guy, thanks for the tip - I appreciate it.