Church Planting Requires New and Undiscovered Talents
In the world of cross-cultural church planting there are many things to consider. In our case it very quickly becomes obvious of the need for sowing and evangelism. Unlike in the US where if you open "they will come", in Italy when you open the door the only thing that enters is perhaps a bit of wind. In the US we are blessed to have centuries of a strong gospel presence so that almost all people, in one way or another (TV, radio, billboards, Christians, neighbors, books, etc...) have been exposed to the Gospel. Much of our evangelism in the US can happen within the church building because there is still a culture of people who come to hear what the preacher has to say; it's accepted, it's normal and almost everyone in some phase of their life attends an evangelical church to "taste the water".
In Italy there is no culture of going to church, mostly because the evangelical church still has little to no presence. This means that we must bring the church to the people. We must get on the streets and find or create ways to bring the Gospel message of Christ to the individuals. As the Holy Spirit works in their life, and only then, will they be able to cross the spiritual barrier of stepping into a church atmosphere where they can hear the Word of God preached. In most cases they must be evangelized and born again of God before it's even possible to want to come to church and experience the things of God.
All that to say, our main focus for starting any church plant in Italy is always to Sow the Word of God and to Evangelize. When we say evangelize we mean actually engaging people in the power of the Holy Spirit to present them with the Gospel so they become aware of their condition before God and the only way of salvation available; faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins. Those born of God we then engage in personal discipleship, meeting one-on-one on a regular basis.
The point of our blog message today is simply to say that aside from preaching the gospel, sowing, evangelizing and making disciples we all, as missionaries, must also wear many other caps. We all do cleaning, distributions of tracts, and anything else you can think of. MUSIC is another thing we've recently added to our list, and I must say that worshipping God in this way has now become one of the favorite parts of our day. In all that we do we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit, and truly in church planting you begin to learn the marvelous thing it is to be indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. Even as we now engage in worship we're seeing how the Holy Spirit empowers and enables us.
To God alone be the glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!