The work is hard and slow. It takes years of prayer and being steadfastly present to plant a church in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s not a common occurrence.
Well, now is the time to celebrate. We have a new church that’s healthy and strong!
This church plant was three years in the making. During that time, God taught me (IMB missionary Mark Bustrum) some vital lessons about the world of missions and church planting: God is the Lord of the harvest and He allows His people to participate. God plants the church by His Word, through His Spirit and for His glory. Together, we get to join Him and share the good news of Jesus.
What do I mean by together? This new church didn’t start because of a single person. We are reaching the nations, together: You participated through your prayers, financial gifts and sending missionaries — long and short-term. My team, made up of IMB missionaries and national partners, were onsite and present within the community for the ups-and-downs of ministry. We saw firsthand the greatest problem in our city — lostness — and followed God’s ultimate plan of bringing His Word to those who have never heard the gospel.
Together, Southern Baptists send IMB missionaries to be steadfastly present among those who have never heard. This presence cultivates church planting and multiplication.
Planting a new church wasn’t just the crazy idea of a missionary. Our local Portuguese church, Igreja da Lapa, was the primary tool God used. He raised up men and women who took ownership of this mission. Because of your financial gifts, I was able to walk alongside co-pastors, Tiago and Filipe, as they rallied the church in service. Some families stepped up to be a part of the core group to help start something new. God used His church to raise funds as well. All the financial needs to start this new church came locally from sacrificial giving and faith. A lead pastor was even called from one of the families who helped start the church.
As we celebrate this new church in Lisbon, take time to celebrate, too. Your financial gifts and prayers helped to make this possible. You helped our friends be discipled and trained on their way to taking local ownership of the Great Commission to fulfill the Revelation 7:9 vision. You helped us be a steadfast presence and invest in peoples and places where less than 1% are evangelical.
Who planted this new church? God, the Church Planter, of course! Through this experience, He made His purpose clear. TOGETHER, we seek to take the gospel to every nation. TOGETHER, we take ownership of God’s mission.