Tuesday, July 30, 2019
TEMPLE BAPTIST SEMINARY A PLAN FOR CHURCH PLANTING IN BARREIRAS, BRAZIL A CHURCH PLANTING PLAN SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF TEMPLE BAPTIST SEMINARY IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE COURSE INTRODUCTION TO CHURCH PLANTING AND GROWTH (ICST 6423) BY Barron Mason JULY 27, 2011 INTRODUCTION Beginning a new church-planting project is a task that requires much responsibility and effort. It is not a light-hearted venture. Nor is it a task that has a one-size-fits-all model or method.Each church plant has unique elements because it reaches unique people in unique places throughout the world. It is a humbling yet exhilarating experience to be called by God to this task of planting a church among a specific group of people. This paper will discuss the work of planting a church among the poor in the city of Barreiras, in the country of Brazil. Included in this paper are demographic data that influence the strategies and methods chosen for planting the church. Also included are var ious factors of strategy and methods to be implemented in this church-planting endeavor.May God be glorified in this work and may the local body of Christ in Barreiras, Brazil one day be a shining light that reaches people with the gospel of Christ and reproduces itself in other church plants throughout the region and the world. DEMOGRAPHIC DATA OF BARREIRAS The city of Barreiras is situated in the Northeastern part of Brazil, in the state of Bahia. The region is a plains region where farmland is abundant. The climate of Barreiras is arid and hot. There is a rainy season from November to January. The rest of the year has little to no rainfall.Even though there is little rainfall during most of the year the region makes itÃ¢â¬â¢s living by agricultural farming and cattle farming. Some of the crops produced in the region include sugar cane, corn, soybeans, cotton, and coffee. Irrigation is used in most farms and is a process that was introduced to the region in the 1990s, which aide d in the population explosion of the city and region.  According to the 2007 Brazilian Census there is a population of 137,427 people in Barreiras. This census also reports that the size of the city is 7,859 square kilometers (3,034 square miles). 2] The city lies between natural geographical barriers. It is located in a valley between higher elevations, with various rivers surrounding and running through it. The rivers that make up part of the city include the Rio Sao Francisco (Sao Francisco River), Rio de Janeiro (Janeiro River), Rio das Femeas (Females River), and the Rio Boa Sorte (Good Luck River).  Based on personal visits to the city there is a clearly visible contrast in the financial classes of the people. The farming industry has led to the wealth of many people in the area.Yet, there is a large gap between the rich and poor. Albeit a rich city, a majority of the population of Barreiras is poor. The common citizen of the city struggles with providing basic needs for their family. Most of the poor women are the ones who provide many of the public services to the city, such as maids, custodial work in stores and hotels and market vendors. The men work as builders and farmers. Often the men work in the fields for weeks at a time, coming home on the weekends every two weeks for a couple of days rest.The average family income for the poor population is approximately R$800. 00 per month. That is the equivalent of US$500. 00 monthly. This figure is based on two working adults in each household. Because of this low income most people do not own a car and live in a very small house made of wood or block. Often the homes are unfinished. As families can afford to complete construction on the home they will. Because it is common for men to work in fields for days or weeks at a time, their absence in the home creates many obstacles to ministry and church growth.One of the common situations in a church in the region is that it is full of women and children and greatly lacking in male leadership and example. This, along with the other factors mentioned above will have an impact on the strategy to planting a church among the poor of this city. FACTORS OF STRATEGY AND METHOD Before the work begins, a strategy must be put in place and methods must be decided. This section will outline and describe how the church plant will begin and unfold. The beginning stages and the factors most important to it will be described in this section as well.The plan will serve as a guideline to the work that will be done to see that the church is carefully given over to national leadership so that it may continue reproducing itself in the region and throughout the world. The Prayer Factor The first factor that will be implemented in the church plant in Barreiras is prayer. As Jesus demonstrated in his earthly ministry, prayer is a vital part of a successful communion with God. In Matthew 14 Jesus had just finished performing the miracle of feeding 5,000 men plus women and children. In verse 23 he Ã¢â¬Å"went up into a mountain apart to pray. Jesus also spent special time in prayer before his suffering and death. Ã¢â¬Å"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayedÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ (Matthew 26:39). In The Book of Church Growth: History, Theology, and Principles, Thom S. Rainer confirms the importance of prayer in the life of the local church. He stated, Ã¢â¬Å"There is simply no more important principle on Church Growth than prayer. Ã¢â¬  Reflecting on the early church, it is clear that prayer was fundamental to their Christian life. Acts 1:14 speaks of this truth, Ã¢â¬Å"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. In the church plant personal and corporate prayer will be emphasized. Along with motivating prayer times personally and corporately, sharing responses to prayer will also be vital. As the church body is gathered for worship there will be time for prayer requests and praises for answered prayers. It will be important for the believers to have those times because they will be encouraging to those who are still waiting on answers to prayer. Perhaps the best way to encourage believers in the church to pray will be the personal example of the leadership.The church planter will need to record and report on his personal prayer life, for example, with a list of requests and their answers. By relating this personal devotion to prayer the church will be motivated to incorporate it into their daily lives. The Vision Factor The second factor to be incorporated into the church planting effort is vision. According to Tom A. Steffen, the vision statement is a tool that is useful for allowing the church planting team to see their final destination and how to get there.  The vision statement can be likened to a road map.Before taking a trip the driver acquires a map that outlines the destination and route to arrive there. In the church plant the vision statement will serve as t hat map. The statement will be the destination Ã¢â¬â what the church should look like. Using the vision statement, the church plant team members can effectively plan the trip Ã¢â¬â how to arrive at the destination. The vision statement for the church in Barreiras is: Ã¢â¬Å"This church exists as a local body of saved and baptized believers in Jesus Christ to bring glory to God Almighty through its worship, witness, walk, and work.This church is to reproduce in this region as well as throughout the world. This church will fulfill its vision by practicing the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Ã¢â¬ Fulfilling the Vision With the Great Commission The Great Commission involves both reaching people with the gospel and teaching them the Word of God. M. David Sills thoroughly treated this subject in his book, Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience. He argued the importance of both evangelizing the target group as well as spending the necessary and often difficult time to teach them, as s clearly mandated in the Great Commission. Sills highlights the missionary ministry of the Apostle Paul, showing that he spent a great deal of time and energy in teaching the churches that he founded. Ã¢â¬Å"Paul stated that he longed to preach Christ in the unreached areas so that he would not be building on another manÃ¢â¬â¢s foundation, but his ministry reveals that this was balanced with staying to preach and teach, writing letters, or sending disciples in his place to continue the essential ministry that remained.  The church will have set times for evangelism as well as training to equip the believers to evangelize on their own. Fulfilling the Vision With the Great Commandment The church will be involved in the discipleship process. This will be vital to the life and growth of the church as the believers are challenged and taught to live a life pleasing to God. Through teaching believers to love Go d completely and to love their neighbors as themselves, the vision will be fulfilled. The Accurate Gospel FactorOne existing danger in a church-planting project is preaching an inaccurate gospel. When the gospel message is not presented accurately to the target group the resulting church will be negatively effected. Perhaps the target group will believe the gospel in hopes of it bringing health or good crops. Or perhaps they will accept it as just another belief system to add to their list. If this is carried on from generation to generation then the church will continue preaching an inaccurate gospel. Therefore, the gospel presented to the target group must be accurate.Steffen points out that the gospel presented to the target group has a direct relation to the type of church that is planted and their understanding of the Bible. Ã¢â¬Å"The fundamental key to understanding the whole Bible is a correct understanding of the good news of Jesus Christ. Ã¢â¬  The accurate gospel mes sage that will be presented to the people of Barreiras will be based on and include four primary elements. They are: 1) God is holy, 2) man is sinful, 3) Christ is sufficient, and 4) man must have faith. These are simple and concise statements.However, each has a basis on GodÃ¢â¬â¢s Word and is important for understanding the accurate gospel message. Unfortunately, many gospel presentations include the following two elements: Christ died to forgive sin and unless one wants to go to Hell he must be saved. Although those are included in the gospel message, it is not a complete, nor accurate, gospel message. The above four essential elements will be explained below. God is Holy Because God is holy he is completely separate from evil and sin. God does not allow sin to be around him.It is recorded in Isaiah 6:1-3 that Isaiah saw the throne of the Lord and heard seraphims saying to him, Ã¢â¬Å"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. Ã¢â¬ It is al so recorded in 1 Peter 1:15, Ã¢â¬Å"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Ã¢â¬ When considering the holiness of God man understands that he has a problem. Man does not meet GodÃ¢â¬â¢s standard and cannot have a relationship with him in his present state of sin. Man is Sinful ManÃ¢â¬â¢s condition is destitute. Man has erred and has chosen to disobey God and go his own way.In Genesis 3 the first sin of mankind is recorded when Adam disobeyed GodÃ¢â¬â¢s command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Because of AdamÃ¢â¬â¢s sin all men are now born sinners. It is recorded in Romans 3:23, Ã¢â¬Å"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Ã¢â¬ Romans 5:12 also shows that all men are sinners, Ã¢â¬Å"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Ã¢â¬ The gospel must present this truth. The gospel does not exist to solve the health problems or vocational problems of man.It exists because mankind is sinful and cannot go to God as a sinner. However, the gospel is the good news that provides sinners with a solution. Christ is Sufficient When someone understands that God is holy and that man is sinful then he is going to be in need of some good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ has paid the price for manÃ¢â¬â¢s sin and his work is sufficient to bring salvation to man and reconcile him to God. The good news is presented in Romans 5:8 Ã¢â¬â Ã¢â¬Å"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Ã¢â¬ Other verses of Scripture relate the good news of Jesus Christ as well.Romans 3:24-25, Ã¢â¬Å"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past , through the forbearance of God. Ã¢â¬ 1 Timothy 2:5, Ã¢â¬Å"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Ã¢â¬ This good news of ChristÃ¢â¬â¢s death, burial and resurrection must be taught as the only sufficient plan for the salvation of mankind. But how does man get this salvation? Must he work for it? What does the Bible say?The final element of an accurate gospel is the necessity of personal faith. Man Must Have Faith For many American Christians, there are famous words recorded in Ephesians 2:8-9: Ã¢â¬Å"For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ã¢â¬ These verses are clear that man cannot earn salvation. Salvation is a gift. Salvation is personal through faith. Faith is the key to an individualÃ¢â¬â¢s salvation. Believe is another term used in the Bible to describe manÃ¢â¬â¢s acceptance of the gospel message. This personal faith or belief is explained in 1 John 5:11-13.And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. The accurate gospel must include all four elements when presented to the people of Barreiras. The holy God who loves the sinful man and sent his only Son to pay the price for manÃ¢â¬â¢s sin provides salvation to those who have faith in Christ.This is the accurate gospel message. The National Leadership Factor Steffen pointed out that the church plant must involve national leadership early on, if not from the beginning. He also noted the importance of beginning the church plant with a strategic plan for completely leaving the work in national leadersÃ¢â¬â¢ hands. He commented on a mission leader who attested to the fact that the church cannot keep up with the worldÃ¢â¬â¢s population growth and continue planting new churches if they are Ã¢â¬Å"reluctant to release power swiftly to those they have come to reach.  These two principles will be important to the church-planting project in Barreiras, Brazil. Brazil is not a pioneer mission field. One of the striking things concerning the life of the church in Brazil is that the past two decades have shown a dramatic growth among evangelical Christians. One result of that growth has been the founding of Bible Institutes and seminaries. The function of these institutions is to train workers for ministry throughout Brazil and the world. Because these institutions already exist there is really no need to establish more training institutions.Also, it is not difficult to find trained leaders for the newly planted churches. A reality for many of the seminary graduates is that upon completion of their seminary program there are few or n o ministry positions available in churches for them to fill. Therefore, there should not be difficulty in finding a qualified leader for the church plant. The search for leadership will begin with the existing seminaries and Bible Institutes. The Exit Factor The exit plan for this church plant will be modeled after SteffenÃ¢â¬â¢s explanation of and emphasis on role changes.Using these role changes, the church can systematically and successfully be given over to Brazilian leadership. The following roles will be filled by the church planter and replaced with the national leadership. The first role is Ã¢â¬Å"learner. Ã¢â¬ The learner role will be occupied the entire time the church planter serves the target group. The second role is Ã¢â¬Å"evangelist. Ã¢â¬ During this role, the church planter will have as his goal Ã¢â¬Å"winning key members of the target people to Christ. Ã¢â¬  The next role is Ã¢â¬Å"teacher. Ã¢â¬ The teacher role focuses on modeling ministry with a na tional believer accompanying him.In the fourth role, Ã¢â¬Å"resident advisor,Ã¢â¬ the church planter becomes a Ã¢â¬Å"coach on the sidelineÃ¢â¬ and joys with the team when they win and sorrows with the team when they lose.  The fifth role is that of Ã¢â¬Å"itinerant advisor. Ã¢â¬ During this role the national leadership will be responsible for the churchÃ¢â¬â¢s administration while the church planter takes leaves of absence from the target group. The final role is the Ã¢â¬Å"absent advisor. Ã¢â¬ This will take place when the church planter is completely removed from the target group and maintains contact and instruction as needed through visits and correspondence.During the resident advisor and itinerant advisor stages the church planter will make survey trips to other areas that are potential locations for new church plants. In order to maintain a vision for expansion, it will be necessary to make regular trips such as these. The purpose is to increase awareness o f areas that are in need of a church plant. It will also be important to take along some of the national leadership. In doing so, the nationals will develop a vision for other areas and for reproducing themselves there.This will enable the church plant to become mission minded and encourage them to take on personal responsibility for fulfilling the Great Commission. CONCLUSION After years of struggles and victories the church plant be administrated fully by national believers. For GodÃ¢â¬â¢s glory there will be a local body of believers fulfilling GodÃ¢â¬â¢s plan on earth. When the church plant begins to personally and responsibly fulfill the Great Commission then the job has been completed Ã¢â¬â sort of. In the completion of one church plant another must automatically begin among the next target group.Thus, the cycle of church planting continues, never really completing. By GodÃ¢â¬â¢s grace and for his glory the church plant in Barreiras will not complete, but keep going. BIBLIOGRAPHY IBGE [emailÃ protected] http://www. ibge. gov. br/cidadesat/painel/painel. php? codmun=290320# (accessed July 24, 2011). Prefeiutra Municipal de Barreiras. Economia. http://www. barreiras. ba. gov. br/site/index. html (accessed July 24, 2011). Rainer, Thom S. The Book of Church Growth: History, Theology, and Principles. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1993. Sills, M. David.Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishers, 2010. Steffen, Tom A. Passing the Baton: Church Planting that Empowers. LaHabra, California: Center for Organizational and Ministry Development, 1997. Wikipedia. Barreiras. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Barreiras (accessed July 24, 2011). Ã¢â¬âÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬âÃ¢â¬â  Prefeitura Municipal de Barreiras, Ã¢â¬Å"Economia,Ã¢â¬ http://www. barreiras. ba. gov. br/site/index. html (accessed July 24, 2011).  IBGE: [emailÃ protected], http://w ww. ibge. gov. br/cidadesat/painel/painel. php? codmun=290320# (accessed July 24, 2011). 3] Wikipedia, Ã¢â¬Å"Barreiras,Ã¢â¬ http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Barreiras (accessed July 24, 2011).  Thom S. Rainer, The Book of Church Growth: History, Theology, and Principles, (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1993), 183.  Tom A. Steffen, Passing the Baton: Church Planting that Empowers, (La Habra, California: Center for Organizational and Ministry Development, 1997), 78.  M. David Sills, Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010), 99.  Steffen, Passing the Baton, 134.  Steffen, Passing the Baton, 14.  Steffen, Passing the Baton, 22.  Ibid. , 23.