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One Way to Help Plant a Church
by Allen Finley
Many people are surprised to discover that they can play a significant role in helping to plant a church among an unreached people. In fact, hundreds of North American congregations as well as individuals are directly involved in planting churches around the world right now.
"How?" you might ask. It's all part of PROJECT 2000, a strategic evangelism effort of Partners International, formerly Christian Nationals (CNEC).
The goal of PROJECT 2000 is to join North American churches and individual Christians with evangelists in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and some parts of Europe. This partnership then engages in an effort to plant the church in a specific community of unreached people. The average time for planting a church is two years.
Partners International, in partnership with emerging cross-cultural missions in the Third World, has entered into the process of targeting 2000 communities where there presently is no viable Christian witness. As the communities are identified and selected for ministry, the national ministry works with others to develop a plan for penetration and church planting.
Meanwhile, North American partners are recruited to join those evangelists in their efforts. Churches and individuals in the West are challenged to "adopt" a people group. They agree to pray for the ministry. To encourage the workers through correspondence. And to provide the financial support needed to evangelize the people and plant the church.
In some cases, one church will take full responsibility for the partnership. Other times, churches join forces to fully support one effort focused on a community of unreached peoples.
The same thing is happening with individuals. Those who are able to give larger gifts provide the total support of the ministry. In other circumstances, donors join their gifts with those of others and as a group provide the prayer and financial support for the program.
John Dekker, PROJECT 2000 director, explains, "PROJECT 2000 Partners like to have the direct involvement with the ministry. They like receiving the quarterly update reports. They like to pray specifically about the ministry needs. And they especially like being able to respond to Christ's command to 'Make disciples of all peoples . . .' in such a direct way."
John goes on to say, "It's really exciting for churches to partner directly with one ministry. When appropriate, the worker can come and visit the congregation and give a firsthand report. The members of the church are really moved when this is possible. At times their members or church staff can visit the ministry and have firsthand contact and involvement.
"Individuals are also excited. Some people are able to fully fund a church planting project. Others give $30 a month and become a part of a partnership group. Most often the partners don't know each other. But it's so exciting to see God bringing people together like this to build His church. The partnerships are a real witness to what can happen when the worldwide body of Christ works together."
To learn more about how you or your church can "adopt" a people group through PROJECT 2000, write or call Partners International. A video tape or 16mm film is available for group or individual use. It shows you places where PROJECT 2000 is already making a difference.
"Look at the nations and watch, and be utterly amazed, for I am doing something amazing in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told," said the Lord in Habakkuk 1:5.
You have the opportunity to join in the "amazing things" God is doing in our world today by becoming a PROJECT 2000 Partner.
For further information about Project 2000, write or call: Partners International, 1470 North Fourth Street, San Jose, CA 95115; (408) 298-0965.
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