The need is great and the obstacles are huge
God has assigned us to a place in the world where the need is great. Portugal is only 1% evangelical. Our experience is showing us that most people we meet don’t even know an evangelical believer. They have no clear picture of what it would look like to live with a relationship with Jesus. God has assigned us to a place in the world where the obstacles are huge. Portugal is a Gospel-resistant country. There are several additional factors that make church-planting difficult in our city. That’s great because it keeps us dependent and praying for God to come to the rescue of His name. Our city has been largely without an evangelical witness for most of its 700-year history. We believe that God wants to change that.
We’re partners in planting a church-planting church
We’re not doing this alone! Our family is planting a church with the help of a fantastic and successful 30-year veteran missionary couple. Not only that, we’re planting this church with our small group of charter Portuguese members. Another essential part of the team is our group of committed Prayer Partners in the States. This church will not be successful without prayer and our Prayer Partners are making the difference in the spiritual battle. Finally, we’re planting this church with the encouragement and support of a sister church in Portugal.
We’re not planting a church for the Portuguese people of our city. We’re making disciples in our city and helping them see the need for a church. Now that we have a small group of believers who see this need, we’re coming along side them and helping them plant their church.
A church with a future-focus
The day will come when we will no longer be able to serve in Portugal. For that reason, it’s very important that we have Portuguese believers who are part of this church plant from the very beginning. That way, when it comes time for the next church to be planted and we’re no longer around, they can plant the next one. They will have already planted one. They will be able to do it again.
A church with an outward-focus
We’re working hard to plant a church that has an outward focus. We keep saying, “God loves your city so much that He has decided to plant a church in your city! He loves you so much that He has chosen you to be part of its life and mission.” To keep us outward-focused we pray for the “four opens,” follow a simple disciple-making strategy, and require all members to annually reaffirm their commitment to the “four promises.”
As part of our weekly Bible study, we pray every Sunday, “Dear God – this week, please give us…”
- Open Doors—natural opportunities to talk with people about God, faith, Bible, life after death, truth, etc.
- Open Hearts—a willingness in the heart of the other person to consider truth as he hears it.
- Open Ears—the ability to hear and understand what the other person is really saying, thinking and feeling.
- Open Mouths—the courage and wisdom to say what I should say at the right time.
- Pray for open doors
- Dialogue with people as God grants open doors
- Invite people to something that is appropriate to them so that have a chance to experience some aspect of authentic Christianity. (We have and are developing “appropriate environments” for people to see what a true follower of Jesus is like.)
Our Charter Members have committed themselves to keeping the following promises that promote the culture of our church and propel its mission.
I promise to…
- Protect our church’s unity by honoring its teachings, by refusing to gossip (Ja 4:11; Ep 4:29; 2 Co. 12:20), and by following its leaders (Hb 13:17)
- Work to help our church grow by praying for open doors and by inviting people to something appropriate for them.
- Serve in a ministry. I will try to discover and use my spiritual gift (Rm 12:3-6a; 1 Co 12:7)
- I will strengthen our church’s testimony by attending regularly (Hb 10:23-25), by giving generously and by living a good life (1 Pe 2:12).