Redeemed Lives. Beautiful Churches. Transformed Communities.
Why do we long to see “beautiful” churches? Kirk Ogden says the following about the word “beautiful” as a descriptor for churches: “Beautiful offers a richer, more robust vision for the church. We are not discarding words like ‘vibrant’ and ‘dynamic’. They tell us a lot about what we hope for and work towards. But beautiful moves us to consider more than size, quantity or activity. Beautiful beckons us to consider what Jesus desires and is himself creating in his bride, the church.”
Our vision for church planting and for the establishment of church networks goes beyond the physical buildings and the detailed strategic plans. It is not enough for a church building to be constructed and for a church body to gather; we long to see bodies of believers living in God’s magnificent glory here on Earth so that others see these churches and say “let us go with you for we have heard that God is with you.” – Zechariah 8:23
This month we pray over the churches and church networks in South America that are working as one body to offer the hope of Christ to their local communities. We see God’s presence in the gatherings of believers in the lowlands of Bolivia as well as in the growing church plants in Lima and Bogotá. We also grieve for the division and heartache that many churches face in their ministries. In all things, we have hope that these local manifestations of the body of Christ can pursue righteousness and unity as Paul charged the church at Ephesus: “… to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each on of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” – Ephesians 4:22-25
CHURCHES & CHURCH NETWORKS PRAYERS
1. Pray for Iglesia de la Ciudad in Lima, Peru. As the church plant has continued to grow in La Molina, Lima, they are looking to establish a second location. The team has identified 5 key sectors in the city of Lima for church site multiplication: La Molina, San Isidro, Miraflores, San Borja, and Barranco. Pray for Iglesia de la Ciudad, that God would lead them and direct them to the location of their next church site. Ask God for an executive pastor to join their team, as this need is key to enabling their expansion.
2. Pray for Ciudad Corazón in Bogotá, Colombia. This vibrant group of house churches is a tight-knit community actively working to bring peace and redemption to the city of Bogotá. Ask God for more house church leaders and for the expansion of his church in this city. Pray for the Ciudad Corazon team as they discern new pockets of the city for the movement to grow into.
3. Pray for the body of believers within the Ayoré people group in eastern Bolivia. The gatherings of believers within this community reflects a hunger for God’s word. Pray for the development of a church body within this people group, that they would continue to represent the grace and truth of the gospel to each other as they establish church leadership. Ask God to use their involvement in helping to build the discipleship center (Chochis, Bolivia) to inspire their believers and raise up the right people from their community to participate in theological training once the center is established
4. Pray for the Ayacucho Church Planting Team in Ayacucho, Peru. The Ayacucho team is still in the research and networking stage of church planting. Pray for their outreach efforts, particularly in cooking classes, ESL, and kids’ ministry as they continue to get to know families in the city. Ask God to create the necessary strategic avenues for the team to be introduced to influential people in Ayacucho as they look to establish a church body. Pray also for Club Exploradores, the kids’ outreach effort, as they rent out a meeting space and minister to children in the community each week, that God would bless these efforts and use this ministry to create relationships with the families in the community.
5. Pray for Las Misiones church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Pastor Felix Pedraza has been a longtime friend and partner with SAM in Santa Cruz. Pray for Pastor Felix’s ministry as he leads the congregation of Las Misiones, and for their ministry of hosting and nurturing a primary school within the church. Las Misiones is a member of the Asociación de las Iglesias Evangélicas del Oriente (AIEO), an association of churches founded by local church leaders and SAM back in the 70s which continues to connect church bodies and pastors in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia.
6. Pray for the Lima Initiative in Lima, Peru. The Lima Initiative participates with City to City Latin America in gathering and training church planters for urban church outreach. Pray for the current pastors participating in Lima in the “Incubator”, a church-planter training program facilitated jointly by City to City and the Lima Initiative, with pastors traveling to Lima from all over the country of Peru. Ask God to raise up new church planters for the next Incubator program beginning in Lima next year.
7. Pray for INDIEWACOL, an association of Wayuu churches in La Guajira, Colombia. Pray for the current group of Wayuu indigenous pastors participating in INDIEWACOL’s pastoral training program. Ask God to raise up the future leaders of the Wayuu church to be trained and equipped through these efforts. Pray also for the current church leaders as they begin to make preparations for the association’s annual worship gathering and business meeting in December.
8. Pray for the indigenous church leaders trained at Ammi in Brazil. The Ammi Training Center’s vision is for there to be a flourishing church in every tribal group in Brazil. For 2018, Ami has seen 18 enrolled pastoral students representing 8 people groups. Praise God for the new believers who have come to faith during their time at Ammi! Pray for the current students at Ammi, as they train in their second language (Portuguese) and continue to develop pastoral skills. Ask God to protect the recent Ammi graduates who have returned to their villages and begun to share the gospel with their tribes.
9. Pray for the church plant in Gaira, Colombia. Ask God to bless their current process of applying for legal status and registration with the government. Praise God for their recent VBS in La Paz, Colombia and for the participation of so many families! Pray that God would raise up committed servants from within the church to come alongside Frank, Luz, and Fernando who currently lead this body of believers.
10. Pray for City to City Latin America’s Intensive. The first Intensive ever in Latin America will be held in Monterrey, Mexico in September 2018. The “Intensive”, a training program developed by City to City, prepares church planters to establish and multiply churches in urban centers. Pray for the 25 urban church planters from across Latin America invited to attend. Ask God to develop long lasting relationships between the attendees which will enhance church planting strategies across Latin America.
11. Pray for Dalmiro & Laura Ortiz as they have recently returned to Bolivia. Pray for Dalmiro’s service of shepherding pastors in eastern and rural Bolivia, as he continues to develop and implement theology and discipleship programs. Ask God to continue to provide resources and partners to Dalmiro’s ministry, that the churches and pastors would be blessed with an abundance of support for their growth.
12. Pray for Marcelo Robles, a friend of SAM and pastor in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a member of City to City Latin America’s network of pastors, Marcelo is a key partner in the plans to start an Incubator church planting training program in Buenos Aires in 2019. Pray for Marcelo and his church, La Mision, as they operate in a key sector of Buenos Aires. Pray that God would sustain Marcelo as he is a bivocational pastor, and that God would use his work at the university to continue to grow the church and draw university students into relationship with Christ.
13. Pray for the church plant, El Camino, in Arequipa, Peru. TEAM missionaries Craig and Sue Querfeld began this church alongside two other couples back in 2001, and for the past four years the church has been run under Peruvian leadership, with Pastor Arcadio Vilchez as their Senior Pastor today. Pray for Craig and Sue as they continue to minister alongside this church body. Pray also for the next two church plants currently at work through El Camino with two other missionary couples: Jason and Sarah Sheets, working to see a church body established in an under-resourced neighborhood, and Seth and Jessica Malec, starting a church plant in a middle class neighborhood alongside their missionary partners Eward and Esme Zarate. Ask God to bless these efforts, that His Word would be proclaimed in Arequipa through these church plants and that the city would be transformed by the redeeming hope of the gospel.
You can download this month’s prayer guide as a PDF: July Prayer Focus