Monday, December 04, 2006

The BIG Meeting

Well, we had our meeting on Saturday with the mother church pastor. It was sort of a mixed bag as far as results.

Let's start with the positive aspects of the meeting. First, all of the relational issues appear to have been resolved. I saw this as absolutely essential for the survival of the work - after all, Jesus said that if we aren't unified, we have nothing. Also, there appears to be a clear direction for the future, which is good. Alexandre, one of the original members of the church planting team, has been officially designated as the leader of the work. Alexandre shares the CPM, simple church vision and if he steps up to the challenge, has the potential to really see the work take off under his leadership. I saw Alexandre as the only one who could really keep the work on course and who had the gifts to keep it going.

Unfortunately, we also took a couple of steps back. During the meeting, frustrations about the simple church model were expressed by several of the original team members, who, in their effort to get back in the good graces of the mother church pastor, took pot-shots at our methodology. The mother church pastor, while he stressed his commitment to church planting and his desire to see churches spread rapidly throughout the city, also insisted that all of the members of the various home groups be brought into the mother church for services on Sunday night. In other words, he wants to bring the work closer to a single, traditional church plant.

On the other hand, everyone agreed that our strategy has been highly effective. The pastor went so far as to state that once the work was more structured and established, he would like for the church planting team we trained to move on to another neighborhood and start over. He also invited me to move my focus to another neighborhood and start another new work there.

So...where does this leave us? Well, we have semi-officially handed over the work into the hands of a Brazilian leader who shares our vision. We leave 5 home groups (some of which could probably be considered simple churches, and some not) and a group of new believers. The structure between the home groups is still a bit loose at the moment, although there are plans in place to tighten this up shortly. Also, the relationship with the mother church has been fixed, although the new leader will have to push against the tendency to make this a single, traditional church plant.

We have felt for some time now that God was telling us that it was time to put the work into the hands of Alexandre. The timing was right, and the transition is being made, although we will still be involved in a more limited capacity. So what will the long-term future of the work be? Only time will tell. Pray that the work will thrive, that God will give Alexandre wisdom and boldness, and that we will all be able to continue to rejoice together in what God is doing in São Leopoldo.

1 comment:

GrayDawn said...

Just finished a book -- "The Future Present" -- where the author contends that the church culture is dead. It has no influence in today's world.

He does not mean the church, ie. the body of Christ. He means the current culture grown up around how we have defined church.

I guess I am realizing that the church culture is not just in North America. It is all over.