10 May Q&A: Aristides Sanchez, Church Planting Team Leader
We sat down with the leader of our Church Planting team to get an inside look at what it takes to plant self-led, self-sustaining, and self-replicating churches.
Q: How has our method of planting churches changed in recent years?
A: In the beginning we would enter a village or community where there was no church of Christ and put on an evangelistic campaign. Later, we realized that it was not the best tactic to start a new work. Our new approach is to go to a community where a member of the church has family and start working with this family and friends. Before it was the work of the team, but through brothers who come from different congregations inside and outside the country, we have little by little disseminated the seed of planting new works.
Q: What do we do to promote self-sustainable churches?
A: We are making use of our training programs such as CREO and CRESCO. At CREO we give a week of intensive training and talk extensively about how brothers can start a new project in their surrounding communities. In CRESCO we teach a 2 month segment on this topic. Additionally, CRESCO has branched out and we now offer it outside the country (El Salvador and Guatemala), which will make it possible for more people to be reached with our vision.
Q: Have CREO and CRESCO had a visible impact on the churches in and around Western Honduras?
A: From the testimonies of brothers and sisters we have realized how both programs have impacted their lives and have benefited local congregations. We know that there are those who work full time, secular jobs and without receiving money from the church have become the leaders in the local work in their communities. Cases such as: Octavio Pérez, Eusebio Martínez and Santos Mejía, graduates of CREO and CRESCO who now run the church in Las Crucitas, S.R.C .; Waldemar Madrid, graduate of CREO and CRESCO, now preaches in Amates, Guatemala; and, Dionisio Sánchez, graduate of CREO and CRESCO, now preaches in Suchitoto, El Salvador and runs a branch of CRESCO in his local congregation.
Q: Besides CREO and CRESCO, what other things are we doing to train and equip leaders?
A: A 3-day mini boot camp is being held in Chinacla, La Paz. We also maintain contact with graduates who have shown greater interest in continuing to learn, through telephone calls, visits to their communities of origin to give them feedback and inviting them to events such as the Baxter seminar. We also conduct seminars on evangelism, preaching, and special events like retreats, evangelistic campaigns, etc.
Q: Where do you see the Church Planting team in 5 years?
A: I see us all over the place! Scattered in different places inside and outside the country (in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua) with branches of CREO and CRESCO where men and women are being trained to go out to work in the Lord’s harvest, reaching the white fields for Christ. Offering Bible boot camps of intensive weeks in CREO to train women as well.