In its first years of being planted, a new church looks and acts differently from an established, mature church. The pastors of a baby church have to use different strategies with a different focus from their peers to reach out to a community without the history, traditions, or manpower of a developed church family. These differences are even more exaggerated in our churches within Extreme because we use a specific model a team of foreigners. Sometimes it can be hard for us to fit in with the other churches on a district. By God’s grace and the work Extreme did with district leadership before we arrived, the Córdoba district has always been supportive of our work here in the capitol. They showed their support and approval once again by asking us to host this year’s district assembly. We aren’t even an official church yet, but we are the most centrally located. Aside from convenience, our district superintendent really believes in our pastors and the potential of our impact on the city. We were more than honored to be asked to host, but we quickly realized that it would be a challenge to fit everyone in our sanctuary. Our own congregation is growing, but we haven’t yet gotten to the point where we needed to expand our space. It is unclear who had the original burst of brilliance (probably Rachel or Pastor), but the brilliance is unquestionable. Our church building is actually a house. When we first moved in we removed a wall downstairs between the living room and the kitchen to create a sanctuary space. The pastors live upstairs with three bedrooms, a kitchenette, and an open terrace. The brilliant idea was to set out chairs and a projector on the terrace and skype into the service on the main floor. Technology is the enemy of any church function, but this time everything worked perfectly. The experiment even opened our eyes to new options when we need to expand. Some of our church leaders are already constructing a roof for the terrace. We are very excited for a build team from Michigan to come and continue the work next year.
On Sunday, pastors and delegates from around the province began to arrive at around 3:00. The assembly began with pastoral interviews by the district superintendent Pastor Croce. Pastors are interviewed (quizzed) every year on their doctrine and the practices of the Nazarene church. This also provides an opportunity for Pastor Croce and his wife, Pastora Mabel, to pray with each pastoral couple for their families, ministries, and the coming year. Field coordinator Pastor Zani arrived from Buenos Aires at 6:00 and the assembly portion began. The district leaders and each pastoral couple reported on what God had been doing in their ministries during the year. It has been a year full of challenges and victories. These congregations are small, between 15 and 60 people, but their pastors are persevering and passionate. They shared about events in their youth groups and compassionate ministries. We can get so focused on what we are trying to do, it was encouraging to hear about how God is working in other parts of our own province. The most heartbreaking testimony was Pastora Angelita. Her husband died of a heart attack last summer. Even though she is in her sixties, she continues to lead her disciples, pouring her life into theirs. Seeing her, a true warrior of the faith, seated next to our delegates, some of whom have given their lives to Christ within the last year, was a bit mind boggling.
After the assembly, we had our normal Sunday evening service. As our church members arrived, we filled the terrace with people and filled the kitchenette with food. Pastor Zani preached about the importance of church planting and multiplication. The Córdoba district was established only fourteen years ago with three churches. That number has grown to seven. On January 7, 2017, our church will be “organized” as the eighth official church on the district. We are grateful to God for the opportunity to join ranks with the other pastors on our district. Our church members took the first step of building districtwide friendships with a potluck dinner after the service. The Córdoba District of the Church of the Nazarene is a growing family.
MEET THE AUTHOR Brooke Thomas is a 40/40 Church Planter in Cordoba, Argentina. She is originally from Idaho where she was a teacher before going to the mission field. Check out more about her and her team and click here PHOTOS FROM THE ASSEMBLY