What does starting new churches “actually” look like?
So often we mistake starting new churches with starting new church services. Within Communitas, our driving questions whenever we start a new church are this: How and where is God already moving in our neighborhood? How can we join Him in making new disciples?
Making disciples takes time and won’t be rushed if we are going to start churches that truly reach their neighborhoods with the Good News of Jesus. Our mission is to start churches who follow Jesus in transforming their world. In Caxias do Sul, Brazil, one of the couples on our Communitas team came into relationship with five couples and invited them all over for dessert, even though none of them had met any of the others. Amazingly, all five couples showed up. (One of them later admitted he almost didn’t come because he thought it might be a pyramid scheme!).
As they went around the circle introducing themselves, a bond immediately began to develop. Though there’s a fairly wide age range, they discovered that they have all been previously divorced. They’ve all had challenges in parenting. Only one of them has had any significant experience with church. Several are “spiritists”–a common form of New Age-type spirituality in Brazil–and most post-Christian contexts.
They all agreed they wanted to meet again, and thus began a weekly Thursday night gathering where this group continues to share their lives, caring for each other, praying for one another, and beginning to explore Biblical truth in a meaningful way.
Fast forward two years of relationship and studying the Word together. Two of the couples, who had been living together for extended times, have decided they should get married. And most encouragingly, over the past months four members of the group have made first-time declarations of faith in Christ.
This is the kind of story we love in Communitas! Starting new churches usually does NOT look like renting a building, getting chairs and musicians, and then inviting people into OUR context. Starting churches that will impact their neighborhoods means understanding and responding to the neighborhood… and joining in God’s redemptive work already underway. On behalf of over 100 churches and church-planting projects in Communitas, thank you for your partnership in this Kingdom work!