An entrepreneurial church
June 7 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

An entrepreneurial church | Friday, June 7, 2002

Friday, June 7, 2002

An entrepreneurial church

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

North Carolina Baptists celebrate the contributions we have made to the country of Honduras, and rightly so.

But we must also recognize the contributions that Honduran Baptists have made to us.

I have yet to speak with a mission volunteer who did not return from Honduras as a richer and deeper person, blessed by their encounter with the people of that beautiful land.

We can also learn from pastors and churches that refuse to be satisfied with simple stability, and stretch themselves to bring life and growth to others.

Pastor Cesar Pena and the members of Iglesia Bautista Comunion (Communion Baptist Church) are a case in point. The Comunion church is located in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, but its reach extends far beyond the city.

Pena was the church planter for Comunion when it was birthed 15 years ago. Since then, the church has grown to 400 active members (not counting children) and has sponsored nine missions, three of which have become self-sustaining churches.

Missions are invited to partner with Comunion in beginning new works, and encouraged to become self-sustaining, self-directing and self-expanding.

When the Honduran government planned a new community near Tamara to resettle people left homeless by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Mitch, Comunion bought lots for 32 houses and a church in Nuevo Sacramento.

Across the valley from Nuevo Sacramento, the Spanish Red Cross has built hundreds of colorful homes for the new Agua Blanca ("White Water") community. Comunion is already holding services in the area, has purchased land for a church, and has a classroom building in place. In late June, Deep Impact volunteers from North Carolina will erect a temporary sanctuary.

On the other side of Tegucigalpa, yet another burgeoning community is growing, as rows upon rows of new homes have been built to replace temporary shelters that have clung to the mountainside in Santa Rosa for the past three and a half years.

Comunion already has a growing mission church in place on a prominent lot. But Pena also played an important role in writing up the large relocation project and soliciting land-acquisition funds before turning the actual construction over to Red Cross organizations from Spain, Honduras and the United States.

Pausing on the steep hill leading into the community, Cesar says 460 homes are complete and hundreds more are on the way. Santa Rosa may one day be home to 10,000 people, he said, "in a place where there were no people and no Baptist church. But here we stand."

Leadership for the mission churches is homegrown. The Baptist seminary in Tegucigalpa is not currently functioning, but Pena has organized a "Servant's Academy" at Comunion to train church leaders and future pastors. The academy currently has 38 students, including 27 from Comunion.

Pena not only designed much of the curriculum for the Servant's Academy but also writes and publishes a series of studies for use in the churches. The materials are affordable and address particular cultural issues pertinent to Honduran life.

The church is so productive in part because it has a clear sense of identity. It has adopted specific mission and vision statements, sets annual goals, and works toward fulfilling them through a functional structure consisting of ministry teams.

Most of us could learn from that.

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6/7/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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