Good Soil Plays Key Role in Planting and Growing a Colombian Church
“I’m Catholic and not interested in a new church or religion.” Jose had come to the Saturday night Bible study to get his friend, who would not quit inviting him, off his back. He wanted Dan Mee, the missionary leading the study, to know that this was a one-time thing. Dan warmly welcomed him and handed him a copy of The Story of Hope, praying that the study of God’s Word would have an impact on his life.
When Dan and Jennifer Mee, ABWE missionaries to Colombia, set out with their local partners to plant a new church in the Soacha area of Bogota, they knew they wanted Good Soil principles, practices, and resources to be key ingredients. They had witnessed in their work with the mother church, Gracia Abundante (Abundant Grace), the dynamic impact of family and friends studying the Bible together in homes. As they evaluated their evangelistic outreaches, this method was the one that clearly had the most success in yielding both faith responses and lasting fruit in people’s lives.
For a year they prayed, prepared, and trained a core team, before launching two Bible study groups in their targeted neighborhood, to study The Story of Hope. Their goal was to see the church grow through the conversion of unsaved members of the community, rather than from those just unsatisfied with their church and looking for something new. After four months, those in the study asked them to start a church for them, and Esperanza de Soacha (Hope of Soacha) was birthed. Even after the church began, they continued to open all their small groups with a study of The Story of Hope. Dan says they have found it to be a very attractive study for the Colombians, one that gives them a clear understanding of God’s redemptive message in the Bible’s big story. They have seen many make faith responses in these studies, including a good number who believed they were saved but realized they had never really understood the gospel.
Jose kept showing up after that first night and his wife, Lili, joined him. Jose told Dan, “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I think I am changing. The thing is, we never study the Bible like this in the Catholic church.” At the end of the study while they were going through the Chronological Bridge to Life, Dan asked if any of them would like to make a faith response to these truths, and in front of the whole group both Jose and Lili responded, “We do! We believe this and want to give our lives to it and be baptized.” Their two sons have also made faith responses, and the family is active and serving in the church. Dan shares that he, Pastor Julian (their Colombian co-worker), and many others in the congregation could recount many more stories of transformed lives.
As they seek to make disciples, the Esperanza de Soacha church has integrated Good Soil into that process. The first level is a thorough study of The Story of Hope, the second level takes a person through The Way to Joy, the third level is a church membership course based on the 9Marks resources, and a fourth level trains them in Good Soil Evangelism & Discipleship. Then they move people through other levels as they continue to mature. Everyone who comes to be a part of the church goes through these steps. This contributes greatly to making sure the local church body is on the same page as relates to vision, capacity for outreach, and ability and resources to train others. Dan says that it has been thrilling to watch God greatly work in all of this.
Would you and others in your church like to know how Good Soil can help motivate, train, and resource you in worldview relevant evangelism and discipleship? Presently, we are offering the Good Soil Basic Seminar and Trainer Workshop Certification in October for free for any pastor who comes and brings two or more members with him. Sign up today.