Growing a Healthy Church :: Panama City

Panama is a tiny but incredibly diverse country!  In a wonderful way, we could say the same about our Panama City team.  They are diverse in ages and stages of life, in gifts and strengths and ministry projects, as well as life experiences and backgrounds.  It is always a joy watching them serve together and share God’s love with their city and neighbors.

Here’s a few ways you can be praying for our Panama City team in these next months:

For our church plant, Refugio de Gracia, as we grow in depth in the Word of God. You can stay updated on our church via the website here.  

For the continued unity and growing maturity of our team. 

For the pastors we are working with and for ongoing discipleship opportunities. 

For a movement of more churches planted here in Panama, that God would turn this nation’s heart toward Him. 

For new team member Sarah Kolaczynski’s upcoming deployment. You can stay updated on her news here on her blog.  

 

For more information on how you can come alongside the ministry of the Panama City team, with prayer, financial giving or by sending a short term team, please contact team leader Jon Fowler, at jon.fowler@efca.org

How God is Raising Up Leaders Through IBAC

It’s a pretty incredible sight.

Hundreds of Latino pastors, crowded into a room, hungry for the Word and ready to grow in their theology.

They come for three day sessions, twice a year, as they work through their seminary studies.  Why is it done this way?  These men and women are already in full-time ministry.  They are in positions where they can’t drop everything and uproot their families to go attend seminary.

Many have said, nationals and missionaries alike, that the greatest need in the Latin American church is the need for theological education.  Good theology!  This is a region of the world where Catholicism has reigned for hundreds of years, but where the prosperity gospel is also growing like an untamed weed.  Evangelism is truly only the first piece, the first step.  What comes after that? Discipleship. That’s the longer step, the piece that takes dedicated relationship and a commitment to walk through life with people. Commitment to the long-haul.

The design of IBAC is discipleship of pastors and church leaders, who will (and often are already) leading people in their own local community.  Men who are leading out of their own testimony and knowledge of God, but need further training in the proper handling of the Word.

Consider how this model of multiplication discipleship affects the countries where it is being used–

IBAC has a presence in five countries – Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and the United States.  There are currently 22 locations, training between 2,200 and 2,500 pastors and church leaders annualy. That’s 2,500 men and women who are in leadership positions in their churches, so consider how many people they are discipling themselves and affecting with the Word!

The 7 year program has been completed already in five locations, which represents  about 660 graduates to date.  IBAC is planning on starting new Bible Institutes in 6 new locations (in Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama). What huge opportunities to bring people into deeper knowledge of the Word, and then have them apply it immediately in their own native setting.

There are currently  22 partner churches who have adopted a Bible Institute – 21 in the United States, and 1 in Costa Rica.  If your church, or a group from your church is interested in more information, or making the commitment to walking alongside one of these schools, you can contact Jim Wilson at jim.wilson@efca.org.

Showing Jesus’ love in Panama

by Mark Lewis

Panama

I love what get to do in ministry…in Panama this week working with our ReachGlobal team in design of a Global Fingerprints child sponsorship program. One target community has many neglected kids working to make charcoal or as drug mules instead attending school. Our partner church in the context has been focusing on trying to stem this tide, and consists of 7 adults and many dozens of kids. Their vision is to impact more that 1,500 kids with Christ centered community, holistic care and intentional disciple-making. Awesome to be a small part of envisioning this tangible and transformational impact in kids and families.