09 Sep Consecrating the Church for What God has in Mind to Do
By Phil Waldron
In Joshua 3:5 we read these words, “Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Due to a long series of events over the last two years, the local church that we helped plant in Barrio Belen Santa Rosa has struggled to thrive. Beginning in December of 2019 we lost our lease on the space that we had been renting for the previous 5 years. Even though we had just signed a new three-year lease, in August of that year the Landlord asked for the building to be vacated. We were fortunate to be able to rent a warehouse of equal size just a short distance away.
It was both interesting and concerning to us how the move affected the people regularly attending our worship. Although we were able to rent a space almost identical to the one, we lost as a persistent sense of concern permeated these members. Then the Pandemic hit, and the church was literally shuttered for months.
I am happy to report that we feel that we can see new life and energy in our little church now. We still are under mask and social distancing mandates, but despite that, we are seeing new baptisms regularly and our attendance has been climbing. During the month of August, we had one Sunday where the attendance reached 239.
The four elders of this church, two of them newly appointed in 2021, have been making a concentrated effort to help each person in attendance consecrate themselves to the Lord so that He can do “wonders” in their lives and the lives of our neighbors in the community. Those who have been visiting regularly but have never been baptized are being urged via personal visits to do so now. In addition, there are many couples attending that are living in free-unions and are not legally married. The elders commissioned a series of lessons on marriage and began a promotion of helping all couples in attendance that were living in free unions to get their documents so that we could hold one large wedding for all of them. In the past Mission UpReach has done this, and to date more than 80 couples have consecrated their marriage this way.
Another area where the new elders have been leading is in teaching on stewardship and giving. The weekly offering has increased significantly as a result.
The motivation in doing these things is to consecrate this body of people to the service of the Lord so that He can use our church to be a light among this region. Please pray for God to use the Iglesia de Cristo Barrio Belen as a missionary church like the church at Antioch of Syria that we read about in Acts.
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