“We have worked in Holland for decades. We have worked in Latin America for over a decade. But we’ve never planted churches in the Caribbean. Is God inviting us into a new place? It’s full of the same post-Christendom we see across Europe and the Americas.”
Last year, Eric Curtiss, COO of Communitas International, asked the question above. He joined a group of Communitas workers in the Dutch Antilles islands of Aruba and Curacao for six days to pray, hear from God, and meet with the locals to sense what God might be doing. The scouting group, led by our Chief Field Officer, Kevin Johnson, deeply enjoyed getting to know the people and culture. They also assessed the spiritual tone of the land. They returned convinced there was an enormous need for grace-based, Jesus-centered churches that would reach out as Christ’s hands and feet to the lost and lonely.
Yes, it may seem like paradise, but imagine a majority people who are devoid of God in everyday life yet desperate for authentic and life-transforming community in a post-Christian culture. Local Christians expressed a need to BE the Body of Christ in a fresh way on their islands.
We were asking, “Is God leading us to start a church here?” After meeting dozens of people from both existing churches and those seeking a new expression of church, the consensus was that a fresh aroma of Christ was indeed needed.
People were expressing a desire for faith communities that would have more grace and less legalism, ones with fewer high-power structures and control, with a greater focus on people and grace, all while staying committed to orthodox Christianity and Jesus’s love for people.
Communitas International has been starting churches like these in Europe and Latin America for over fifty years now. These are the kinds of faith communities we want people to experience in their culture and context.
Eighty-five percent of Arubans and a majority of those on the sister island of Curacao are nominal Catholics, with very few having a personal faith. This is very similar to many places where Communitas is currently working in Europe and Latin America, so we are aware of the needs and challenges of ministering in such cultures.
Other religions are infiltrating the land as well, slowly but surely. But many people are asking for less religion. They are looking for a lushness of spirituality that would fill the landscape, like the islands themselves… and they are very open to a vibrant encounter with Jesus!
We began the trip asking, “Is God leading us to start a church on one of these islands?” We left saying, “The fields are ripe on ALL of these islands for multiple church plants. Lord, please send us the workers!”
Please pray with us as we love like Jesus in neighborhoods around the world, working together to be a reflection of Christ to a world looking for a God that is with them and is for them.
As we plant churches and Christian communities to reach our modern world, pray with us that lives would be changed, cultures would be impacted, and transformation would occur for God’s glory alone, that people may experience and enter a true Paradise, a joy-filled life with Christ.