By Alexis Vides, Church Planter, Eastern Shore
God, in His infinite kindness makes extraordinary things in every servant’s lives. He gives a vision, the skills and the opportunity to do His work or giving Him space to do it, to every one He calls. In “ministry life” there are stages, levels and circumstances which determine the results of the work.
I remember a great teacher who had a strong influence in my ministry life. It was Pedro Larson, who was a model of spiritual character with a big emphasis on prayer. This characteristic encouraged me to write a ministry strategy based on prayer, to be developed in a small town called Salama. There was a troubled church that lost almost all its membership and had just 8 people attending Sunday School and three at the worship service.
The methodology to be used was simple, practical and afforded a great return. Every day at 7:00 a.m., after breakfast, I closed my bedroom door to pray for the needs of every person in church. During that period of 5 hours, no one could interrupt me under any circumstances, because I was in my appointment with God. At noon, I was ready for lunch and headed out to visit the people for whom I was praying. Every day God showed me His mercy by solving people’s problems. I was filled with joy and enthusiasm and trusted the Lord as the one who really was doing the work, the one who was producing the growth. This small church of just 8 members grew to 75 people in three months, reorganized a second mission that reached 40 people and opened another one to reach 25 more souls for God. One of these new believers was called into the ministry.
It was a great lesson to understand: the Holy Spirit had made three churches with 140 believers (an average of 40 new believers a month) and had called one of them to continue the work in just three months’ time. This was proof that God wanted His work to grow, that He was willing to grow it and that He wants every person He calls to minister, enjoying the great wonders He desires to keep doing.
I remember a day when we were walking through a city in the state of Delaware along with our brother, Chad Cravens, and we saw this Latino woman coming to us. We asked her if she knew any Hispanic churches around the area. She said no, so we asked her again if she would attend one if we started it and she said yes. I asked her if she would like for us to pray for God to bless her and she agreed. It was incredible to see how she was crying, and asking God for His forgiveness and protection for her family right there in the middle of the street. She was touched and said she would love if we would start this church soon. Once again I realized how intercessory prayer is the way for God to break people’s hearts and bring them to Him. God’s desire is for us to be dependant on Him and not on our own skills.
One of Iglesia Nuevo Amanecer’s primary characteristics is prayer. We don’t emphasize the offering or the money, even though we know it’s good and needed; we don’t emphasize the church’s health, even though we know that too is good and needed. We don’t entertain ourselves in activities and traditions; rather, we emphasize our dependence on God through prayer, if we want to see the best of a plentiful, whole and victorious life. We don’t define prayer by what we do, because anyone can pray, but rather, by living out the prayer as a way of showing dependency on God.
Looking back over the last three years, we can see Iglesia Nuevo Amanecer as a church with five primary objectives: prayer, service, worship, multiplication and fellowship. We cannot say that its growth has been extraordinary, but we have been able to share the gospel with 767 people and seen ninety-two of them accept Jesus. We’ve baptized 22 new believers and have 40 disciples. By our second year of existence, we had reproduced ourselves, so we became two churches in two years. I don’t know where we’ll be when our first three years of ministry conclude this June, but we are now making plans to launch our strategy for the next decade. We want to plant ten churches in ten years. We want to have a mobile church covering Maryland and Delaware and a training center with a regional vision.
I know that we don’t have the needed economic, human or logistic resources to do this, but as the Word of God says: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” So, I trust God that He will bless us with an overabundance of what we need. I’m convinced that God commands obedience, humility and intercession to open heaven’s gates and pour out His blessing on Iglesia Nuevo Amanecer.
Alexis Vides has served as the church planter of two new churches on the Eastern Shore. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (443) 373-3177.