In Latin America Caribbean we enjoy a myriad of ministries—university ministry, unreached people groups, compassion ministry, children and others. All are vitally important arms of outreach for us at AGWM and throughout Latin America Caribbean. But we align all of these ministries around our mission of “Establishing the Church among all people in Latin America Caribbean.” Across LAC, our goal is to establish churches by making disciples, training workers and mobilizing for the worldwide harvest.
This is nothing new. The Assemblies of God has always associated establishing local churches as the means to “the greatest evangelism the world has ever seen.” We prayerfully seek the Lord’s direction, then we get up off our knees and we go out and we plant churches, train leaders for those churches, and mobilize for the harvest.
Even while working on meaningful ministries, we risk mission drift if we lose sight of the primary mission. We are about the church! We plant churches strategically, establishing churches where they do not exist. Sometimes we go to large cities where even 100 churches would barely begin to meet the need. There are only 30 AG churches in Mexico City, for example, wholly inadequate to reach the 28 million people living there.
We want to focus all ministries, whether compassion, children’s focus, or university ministry, to be integrated with a local church. We urge our missionaries to focus their prayer and energy on church planting, and we want every LAC missionary to be engaged in establishing the church.
This brings us back to our roots and places us on a path that has always defined us. Over the last few months, we have been casting the vision to prayer partners, asking them to commit to faithfully intercede for LAC church planting. How many people are willing to pray for missionaries, countries or a region called LAC? We want prayer to be the energizing spiritual foundation of church plants across our region.
Our vision is to see 1,000 churches planted over the next four years. We are praying that God calls another 175 missionaries to labor across our region to help us plant these new churches. We are burdened by the spiritual needs across LAC — 550 million people who are spiritually lost in unreached cities and unreached regions, unreached people groups and unreached language groups. It is the unreached who compel us to go to the deepest and darkest corners of our cities and our jungles, our mountains and our villages.
Let me share some recent success stories. In Brazil, Builders International is sending teams to work alongside our missionaries to plant and build 100 churches along the Amazon River in gateway jungle cities. This area of Brazil is the size of Texas, with hundreds of tribes yet unreached. In communities only accessible by boat, we are seeing powerful AG churches sprouting up, new communities with thriving groups of believers. May we see this multiply 100-fold!
I’m also excited about our church planting teams. One of our highlights is a church-planting team in Cusco, Peru. The team will be planting churches among the Quechua within an area of the Amazon jungle of Peru best known for the iconic Machu Picchu ruins. Imagine the impact of dynamic churches planted in such a world heritage area!
Another means to establishing the Church in LAC is our international churches. These churches are reaching expatriate and business communities in our larger cities. I am rejoicing for three recent international church plants, but I am also praying for five new international churches across LAC.
I believe God is giving us a unified heart for this dream of concerted church planting. At a recent meeting with our area directors in Costa Rica, I asked them what their big dream was. I had not shared mine. Around the table, every one of our five area directors spoke of their commitment to church planting. They are all passionate, committing themselves to being a part of a church plant personally even as they lead their areas.
Will you join us in praying that AGWM Latin America Caribbean will see a resurgence in church planting? Within every country, we have been given a window of time — for harvest and for planting. May God grant LAC the greatest years of spiritual harvest we have ever seen!