CLI Student Ben Gonzaga enrolled at Chrisitan Leaders Institute for Effective Church Planting Training. He has been involved with Church Planting for a while now and wanted to enhance his skills and education for more effective work in Church Planting. Here is his story…
Effective Church Planting Training – Ben’s Story
I’m Ben D. Gonzaga, a CLI student since December 2013. I live in Western Visayas Region in the Philippines, and many Protestant churches are already surrounding our place. But because of economic development in our area, there are also lots of emerging subdivisions potential for church planting work.
I came to know the Lord when I was 17 years old in a small house church. It was planted by my former teacher in high school who also became my spiritual mentor. We don’t have a resident pastor, and we only invited a preacher every Sunday and whenever there are special occasions. As a new believer in that local church, I appreciated so much how everyone is functioning faithfully in consideration of membership size. Everyone is expected and has given the opportunity to serve.
I have combined the INDEPENDENT PIONEER and COLOIZING MODEL in my church planting work. I have already used this model in the past and I’m learning a lot about this model. Honestly, it was not easy for me. I endured a lot of criticism and I really lack financial support during the initial stage. The Lord however turned it out for the good of the church I’m planting. There was only a slow and yet genuine conversion. The new believers were also growing fast when it comes to the quality of their spiritual life. But one thing that I can boldly testify is the reality of God’s abiding presence and empowerment in my work. It was only after six months that I formally got a support from a local church. The works is now being maintained and develop by ministry team from my local supervisory church.
I like to use this model again because this is simple and did not require a lot of recommendation, approval and easy to be started. Some local church also needs a little assurance about the possible success of a church planting work that they will support. Once there is already existing Bible study group, it will easy to ask support from a willing local congregation.
Church planting is appealing for me as a calling because of my passion for the lost and my gift of teaching. By planting a new congregation, I can share more about Jesus and develop more Christian leaders.
I was doing my daily devotion way back on my early years after conversion when I realized the value and necessity of church planting work. The verse is John 4:34. My food said Jesus, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Reaching out the lost is a priority to Jesus. He compared it to food. Just as food is vital for the nourishment and health of the body, so it is with our spiritual life. I can’t live healthy without Church planting work.
Some of the unique challenges for church planting in my geographic area are the presence of many false teachers and economic situation, but I praise the Lord for giving me my family who is very supportive in the ministry.
The free ministry training at CLI makes me ready and more effective in church planting work. I learned a lot of techniques and the necessary attitudes for church planting work.
Please pray I can continue my study at CLI NOW that I have some additional roles to do as a pastor.