The Xingu Mission (XM) is taking intentional steps to plant a Church Planting Movement (CPM). When we first started this mission us missionaries met together to pray about some goals. Planting churches that plant churches and working ourselves out of a job were among those goals. Other specifics included planting 1,000 churches that were healthy, growing and planting more churches.
In the business world this is sometimes called a BHAG, a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. We realized that without God we could not reach this goal. In the fifteen years since those meetings God has continued to grow this movement. Countless people have pitched in to help. The Brazilian leadership is rising up. We have over 50 churches and church plants. Some are very small, but some are well-established city churches. We are well on our way to 1,000.
Things are changing for us missionaries. We are learning we need to pass the leadership baton over to the maturing Brazilian leaders. We still have much work to do as we continue to reach into new regions to plant new churches and raise up new leaders.
As I think about this mission and movement it feels like it is alive, growing and healthy. As we raise our four girls, when we finally get comfortable with one stage of their lives they are already moving into the next stage, from diapers to children to adolescents to teen-agers. In a few weeks we will have a 20 year old daughter! This is how this church-planting movement feels to me.
PS This is a photo of a leadership conference in Altamira earlier this year.
What is the best way to help people with significant long-term help? There are lots of good things going on in the world.
- health care
- stopping exploitation of children
- clean drinking water
- environmental stewardship
Now imagine these types of good works coming under a healthy local church. You get all these practical benefits plus:
- Family relationships are restored.
- People have hope for the future.
- People learn how to be generous, forgiving and loving.
- People learn how to care for their families, and to help their neighbours.
- Most importantly, people come to peace with God.
Why I love church planting.
- Healthy local churches bring healing to a broken neighborhood like nothing else.
- Healthy local churches last for generations.
- Healthy local churches provide a safe environment for families and individuals to celebrate, to get help, to live life.
We can do the good things without the local church but how long do they last? What provides the motivation for people to live altruistically? Jesus said that those who live whole-heartedly for the kingdom of God will be greatly blessed in this life PLUS they will have eternal life. (Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30).
- Christianity is good for individuals, for families, for communities and nations.
- I love the local church. If we do this well good works will follow.
- We each have a limited amount of energy, time and resources.
- I want to spend mine planting churches.
A healthy local church is good news for neighbourhoods. I cannot think of a better way to help people.