Opportunity for Gospel Coaching a persecuted church

Spent last week on a strategic island nation near Florida that rhymes with ‘tuba’. And it’s changed me. Hope it will infect us all.

You may have heard God’s at work there. It’s true in the Los Pinos Nuevos (LPN) denomination. Thousands are turning to Christ through the faithful witness of this formerly inward, legalistic denomination that is now gospel-driven, missional, fruitful in evangelism and reproducing like crazy.

Big picture data from LPN. In 1978, according to their government reports, there were only 120,000 evangelical Christians on an island of 11 million. That doubled by 1993 then doubled again by 2001. By 2011, the number had more doubled again. Now if you are good with math (I’m not) then you’d realize there are over 1 million ‘evangelicals’ now. Wow.

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Church is different there. Resources more difficult to find. Hostility toward Christianity has slackened but there is still much government control. With no permission to build new church facilities, LPN took reproduction into ‘casa cultos’ (legally recognized house churches) and cell groups. It’s all legal and out in the open. In fact, switching to house churches and cell groups out of necessity has accelerated evangelism. It’s opened the door for many spiritually seeking neighbors (who would never be seen at a church for fear of losing their jobs) to just come over, be welcomed and investigate Christ. Is there something for us to learn here?

The LPN denomination has been working hard in the power of the Spirit and the truth of the gospel. In 2007 there were 187 churches. Same as before the troubles. Now there are 27 training centers, 3000 pastoral leaders learning the doctrines of grace in over 30,000 different house churches and cells. LPN can count over 300,000 people in their denomination now. Wow!

How did this happen? The need for and power of the gospel is spreading deep and wide in this movement.

Though pastor/leaders there have been raised in a culture of suspicion and mistrust, a small group of wise leaders there and stateside have been implementing a God-sized strategy of evangelism and training leaders in trust-building, gospel-centered workshops like CMM’s Gospel Coach. They transformed their seminary into a training center and have pushed out and pressed down training to indigenous leaders who are using tech tools like ThirdMill (Biblical education. For the world. For free.) for  training in systematic biblical grace-focused theology.  

Most importantly, the key leaders, from the president of LPN on down, have been blown away by God’s grace personally. I was honored to lead the top 13 key leaders from LPN through an adapted and extended Gospel Coach workshop to help them coach the hundreds of leaders they work with in the gospel. Then participated in another two days of strategic planning that was so clearly dependent upon God’s Spirit and His provision that it brought tears to our eyes. There God has to work and they have to depend on Him.

How I long for more of us to feel our need for the gospel, for more dependence on Christ and more urgency in our mission like these brothers and sisters!

That is a dangerous desire and prayer, but the opportunities are too big not to pray.

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Sobering Need for Gospel Coaches

 

The Need for Gospel Coaching is Serious. Very.

I walked into my local coffee shop the other day. It’s where Spencer, a pastor buddy, has his “office”. Always good to see him there. Half the time he’s networking or talking to someone, the other half he’s studying. I greeted him and the first words out of his mouth were, ‘My pastor friend from seminary committed suicide yesterday.” Whoa. What? My skin crawled. Stunned. Spencer said, ‘He was a godly man.’

Sit with that for a second. What do you conclude?

It’s unbelievable. Here is a pastor who appeared jovial, godly and devoted to the Scriptures but he took his own life. Spencer and I talked and prayed a long time that day. About how sin is insidious. About the need for pastors to stay connected, to confess how they are really doing. To have someone with whom they can and will be honest about how they are really doing. About the serious need for gospel coaches.

The enemy of our souls will do anything to take out pastors and church planters. He hates us and what we do. He’ll do anything to corner us. And Pastor Tommy from Iowa got cornered alone.

It ought never be! Christianity is a reconciled relationship with God and with each other! We should all have someone in our corner with us!

It’s our conviction that every church planter, pastor, missionary and ministry leader should have a gospel coach in their corner. Someone pointing them to the power of the gospel of Jesus. But stats say that 70% have nobody to confide in. We need a revival of our need for Christ in every pastor, planter, missionary and church leader! And we need a legion of gospel coaches!

How can you partner with CMM in changing the way planters and pastors lead? The way we confess our sins and feel our need for Jesus? How we depend on the Holy Spirit and one another? Here are two ideas:

Pray. For your pastor, for church planters you know. Pray for yourself as a church leader. Pray for humility, for conviction of sin that leads to repentance, dependence on the truth of what Jesus did for us in the gospel and the direction of the Holy Spirit

Consider becoming a gospel coach or supporting others to become gospel coaches. The mission of CMM is to train up a legion of gospel coaches to come alongside church leaders who will change the world.

Some days I feel like I’ve won the lottery I’m so overjoyed to see God raising up workers for His harvest. And other days I grieve for those who hurt around us.

May God move in and through us all for His glory.