Equipped for a mission-focused
Journey With Jesus

Nurturing the Health of a Church

A Glimpse into how we use the Avenues in Bogota, Columbia.

By Paulina Barrero and Juan Barrero. Bogotá Colombia.

I remember a tug-of-war match at a high school activity once. There were two evenly matched teams. The struggle began with a strong tug, with all of them giving their best to control the rope.

Unexpectedly, after a few seconds, some teammates from one of the teams simply “gave up” and, surprising everyone, let go of the rope in the middle of the struggle.

The opposing team fell back to the ground and won the game. Why did they give up so easily? For many, it seemed the team that gave up was actually winning. I saw how the team’s dissatisfaction and lack of motivation affected them as they lost once more in round two.

Similar circumstances exist in our communities, though slightly different. The key distinction is that we rely on the unwavering love and tenacity of our cornerstone, Jesus Christ, who has the ultimate grip and hold, assuring us with love and strength that he will always be there on our team. Teams that trust Christ, guide the community better, fostering healthy rhythms and habits. Each Avenue works towards unity and a commitment to the foundational principles of the Christian faith. When we consider healthy church, we include the Pastoral role with the Hope, Faith, and Love Avenues.

Hope:  Worship. Luke 24 ends with a perfect example of what hope is – Jesus resurrected, restores us to the Father. The disciples were worshiping as they were praising God. We worship God, and we reflect Jesus’ hope to all those who attend the Sunday gatherings. Our hope in Christ is rooted in his sacrifice, redemption, grace, and his never-ending love for us.

In Bogota’s congregation, we are intentional in gathering with all the ministry leaders and teams during the week, having clarity in what is happening in the church services, and writing down an effective meeting minutes report to inform other Avenues and ministries of the events and plans based on our calendar. This allows us to join forces and “tug” together towards an activity or event.

We use time efficiently, discuss the important points and end with a short prayer. The secret lies in the planning. The meetings are positive and purposeful. This way of meeting and planning allows us to intentionally give hope to the families and members of our weekly gatherings.

Faith: Discipleship. Jesus equipped his followers to become “fishers of men” and instructed them to share with others the good news of salvation by teaching others, so they teach others (Matthew 28:19). The Faith Avenue involves members in reading and studying the Bible along with the foundations of trinitarian beliefs while enhancing intergenerational relationships where spiritual growth is nurtured.

Every year in our congregation, we open several groups called “Discipulados,” very similar to connect groups. We study the “We Believe” curriculum, as well as other GCI materials. Difficult questions, Bible formation, and discipleship equip the members towards a better understanding of our theology.

We want to establish good, healthy relationships that create disciples of Christ who have the motivation to open a group on their own.

Love: Christ defines love with his sacrifice (John 3:16). Love is a core value in GCI because it reflects the Christian emphasis on the unconditional love of Father, Son, and Spirit, and the call for believers to embody Jesus’ love for others. We reflect Jesus’ love to others as we testify in missional activities and events.

In our meetings, we prioritize important celebrations throughout the year that could potentially include new families and members joining our church. Children’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other events that can possibly have a positive impact in our neighborhood.

Pastoral: The pastoral team engages church members to participate in the ministries. They work to develop and mentor new ministry leaders, creating room for participation in the church’s rhythms and activities with support, motivation, and encouragement. The goal is to preach the gospel while setting a good example of a Christian life (1 Timothy 3:1).

We talk about every ministry. We are currently preparing young people and including them in some parts of the Sunday gatherings, such as giving the first prayer, giving the church announcements, the children’s prayer, offering, and the sermon occasionally. We pray for new leaders, and we plan to motivate them so that the church grows.

The Avenues empower us to focus on each ministry and objective. It organizes our church and gives us clarity on how to work better as a team. We are grateful to GCI, Pastor Heber, our president, Greg Williams, and each leader who has taken the time and Bible-based inspiration to make the Avenues the best way to organize a church. As we continue to enhance our Avenues and trust in Jesus’ grip, we continue to grow and impact individuals and communities, contributing to the overall health of our neighborhood.

  • Do you know someone who is letting go of the rope? How can you help?
  • How can the Avenues strengthen and refresh the mission and vision of Christ in your church / community?
  • Have you used the MAP to make communication smarter and better in the Avenues?

Blessings from Bogotá, Colombia!

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