There are few things that get me as excited as seeing normal, Jesus-loving, Spirit-filled men lay down their lives to plant/replant a church. For every pastor whose name is nationally known, there are 1,000s who are faithfully slugging it out in the trenches whose names you will never know. In fact, the overwhelming majority of churches throughout the history of Christianity have been planted and pastored by such men. I am often disturbed when I hear guys resist, suppress or deny the calling to plant/pastor because they can't live up to the standards set by those that are often platformed at conferences. Having high standards is good, but its important to know those guys are atypical.
God's primary avenue of advancing his kingdom is through normal, every day men who have been called and qualified by Jesus Christ to plant churches that plant churches.
One of my hopes is to increase awareness of church planting and church planters, nationally and internationally, by interviewing guys in the trenches of whom you've probably never heard of. Please (1) pray for these men, their families and churches (2) consider financially supporting them, and/or (3) consider moving to join them as they set-out to plant a new gospel work.
Today I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Jay Bauman, who is currently on the front end of planting a church, Igreja do Redentor, in Rio de Janeiro.
"Tell us about your church plant."
Our church, Igreja do Redentor, is located in Rio de Janeiro. Rio is one of the largest cities in the Americas. Our church plant will be in an area very close to Olympic development.
"How did you know you were called to plant a church?"
I was part of co-planting CrossPointe Church in Orlando Florida, and so I've had this experience before. But the Lord impressed on my heart that this was the next step for us here in Brazil. It's a bit crazy, given that everything is in Portuguese, but the Lord is providing everything that we need.
"Can you share a story of how you have seen Jesus show up so far?"
The biggest surprise has been the profound life changes we have seen in the core, and the excitement. By God's grace, we baptized 4 people after only being in core group training for eight weeks. We are also surprised at the number of young men that have engaged in our work. At least half of our congregation is young and under 30.
"How would you say international church planting is same/different as planting stateside? What are the unique challenges?"
Int'l church planting is difficult because as a missionary you will always be a foreigner. You have to work harder to make sure that you are culturally sensitive. You have to be certain that you are not imposing American ideals on everything. At the same time, you have to be free to be who you are (in Christ).
The language also makes it a challenge. Preparing for messages takes 3x as long as it would in English. It's getting better each month, but I've got a couple of years ahead of me before it all becomes secondhand. In preaching, you can't afford to make grammatical mistakes or have a terrible accent. So it makes for some hard work.
"What would you tell someone who is considering church planting in a foreign context?"
We need people from all over the world in global cities to plant churches all over the world. I believe the mindset that westerns shouldn't plant churches overseas because it is better to have only indigneous planters is misguided. Certainly we always want to encourage nationals to plant... but who's to say that someone from Columbia can't plant a church in NYC? Or someone from London in Bangkok? The problem is that we are moving into a truly global world and the complexities of global cities create a vast opportunity for church planting in multiple languages in these cities.
"What are your current needs? How can others help and/or get involved?"
We ask for prayer for our daughter Sophia, who is a bit behind in her development of speech. Also, we are a supported ministry, and so we are always looking for financial supporters and prayer partners. Lastly, please pray for our church plant as well, that the Lord would continue to guide and direct.