Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Seminary

March Seminary classes are underway with 54 students taking the Church Planting course being taught by Academic Dean David. Four of the students are new and four have not attended in a while due to difficulties of life in Venezuela. Carol has been consumed with hosting the class and making sure they have food, good water, clean sheets, comfortable beds and safe accommodations. None of this is easy in Venezuela! Ministry Assistant Samuel has been a life saver in assistance to them.

Why is a Church Planting course so important in Venezuela? First of all, 40% of the communities of Venezuela have no church of any kind. Secondly, planting new churches is one of the most effective ways to reach new people with the Gospel. This method was the method of the Apostle Paul, has been the primary vehicle of effective Christian movements in Africa, India, etc, and was the primary way the Methodists grew so rapidly in the US in the 19th century. Thirdly, and most importantly, people need the Lord! Venezuela is the most secular country in Latin America. It is one of the most politically troubled countries in the world. The Roman Catholic church in Venezuela is not advancing into the areas which do not currently have a Christian presence. Caracas has become the murder capital of the world. Again, people need the Lord!

Have our previous courses in Church Planting and Mission been effective? Take a look at the ministry of Pastor Carlos Perona who has since planted seven other churches and missions in and around Barquisimeto including a Chinese congregation. Consider Bishop Juvenal Perez of Punto Fijo who has started two other congregations in addition to the one he founded and pastors. Think of Pastor Yolanda Caicedo and the good folks at Lugar Altissimo who not only have the congregation there, but send mission teams into three surrounding communities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The work of the seminary is essential to the anvancement of the Kingdom in Venezuela. Is it working? The hungry are fed. The sick are healed. The lost are found. The imprisoned are visited. The homeless are sheltered. Jesus is glorified. 'Nuff said.

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