From Newlywed to Newly-Sent

Imagine getting married and eight days later being presented as pastors of a church; the same church you just planted the year before. This is the amazing story of Sammy and Jessica Martinez, the new pastors of the Open Door Church of the Nazarene in Arequipa, Peru. Married on March 14th, 2015 and presented to the church on March 22nd, 2015, this new couple has begun a challenging and yet rewarding journey. SammyJessica2 Although this is the first church in which either one of them has been the lead pastor, they are blessed to be surrounded by other pastors who can come alongside them and offer them counsel along the way. They also have a strong and growing team of eight main leaders who have been trained and are underneath their care for church leadership and 10-12 other leaders serving in roles such as usher, cleaning, offering, security, etc.

Pastor Sammy describes one of his main focuses right now as investing in his leaders and teaching them what it means to lead others. “I want them to understand that they are not in leadership because someone put them there or because they simply completed their requirements. They are there because together with the pastors, they help carry the responsibilities of the church and bring the church higher. I want the leaders to learn how to do follow-up and have people that they are discipling themselves.” His passion is not only for his leaders, however. “The command for everyone in the church is to make disciples. It doesn’t mean you need to leave your job or your country; it means that in your work and studies, you do not miss an opportunity to share about your faith in Christ.”

Being gone for a year means that there is much to catch up on and several new ministries to explore. The church has seen a lot of success with a marriage ministry, which is a special challenge for the newlyweds. However, being surrounded by other great ministers, they are stepping up, learning, and leading by example.

It is the desire of the Martinez’ that every ministry of the church be outward-focused. So often churches become a “club or a group of brothers” that stay the same for years. Pastors Sammy and Jessica are simply not satisfied with that. Their desire in ministry is that every event, program, and service be geared toward reaching those outside the church.SammyJessica1

Pastor Sammy explained that there is a great purpose in being the pastors of this church. “We are not here because we were the only option as pastors. We know that God will be with us, supporting us, and we are here until God says, ‘No more.’” Because prayer has always been the foundation of their ministry, these new pastors hope to inspire a stronger understanding and practice of worship and prayer. They have seen God provide in big ways already, and look forward to the ways they will see Him move in the future.

Please keep the Martinez family in your prayers, and stay tuned for more exciting updates on how their church is growing and expanding the Kingdom!

DSC_0484-2written by: Chelsea Weber For two and a half years Chelsea served on the field as a 40/40 Church Planter in the Ecuadorian city, Ambato. She has recently started working on Extreme’s Messaging Team to excite others about mission work. Chelsea is currently in Nebraska raising funds for her work and spending time with her cats, one of the which snores loudly while she works from home. You can follow Chelsea on her personal blog at: