Thursday night we had an official unofficial organization of Word of Truth Baptist Church. My first thought as we started the service was "this is ridiculous! there is NOBODY here!" but then I had to tell myself to look around and really verify if that was true. We were there, our co-worker was there, the pastor of our mother church was there and the family of five that came from the mother church to help us with the new church plant was there. What I really meant was that nobody who had been coming from the neighborhood was there and it was, well, really disheartening to say the least.
And then the pastor began to speak about his first church planting experience and how for weeks he preached to empty benches and then finally one day...a horse arrived to hear his message! He had the chance to preach a conference in another part of Brazil and while there was able to visit a booming church plant. He was curious to see what had made this church grow so rapidly when his own had, well, no one. As he sat through the service on a Monday night with 300 people, it became very obvious how the church had grown so fast. Those in charge had completely distorted the truth of the Bible to appeal to what people wanted to hear. As he left that church and was on his way home, he asked the Lord, "what was the purpose in being at that church?" And it was as if the Lord spoke to him and reminded him that preaching the truth and staying faithful to God's Word was the most important thing even if it meant your church was small.
That was exactly what BJ and I both needed to hear! The last few weeks have honestly been super discouraging, but we were renewed and reminded by the pastor's message that numbers is not what matters, sticking by the truth is!
So Word of Truth Baptist Church has been officially unofficially organized as a congregation of Baptist Church of Campo Grande. (it is officially unofficial because we are a congregation at this point and not a church in the eyes of the government) And I have finally come to recognize that starting a church is exactly like having a baby - exciting? yes. painful? yes. worth it? yes.