Church Planting Bolivian Style

One of the great things about the Seventh-day Adventist Church is its world-wide mission and organization. Years ago someone said “You can go anywhere in the world and find Coca Cola and Seventh-day Adventists.”

During our recent Bolivia Harvest 2006 we discovered how they plant churches in Bolivia. The short outline goes like this—

1) Every spring and fall every church has short evangelistic meetings in as many locations as possible. For example, in the district where I held meetings this March, Pastor Mesa had ten churches and groups. I held meetings in the largest church (had 650 members with 85 added through my meetings), Pastor Mesa held meetings in another church, lay leaders held meetings in each of the other churches and groups, and several lay members (including Pastor Mesa’s wife) held meetings in homes, front porches, prisons, etc.

2) If there is a good response from these meetings in a particular location then eight or ten Adventist families who have helped with the meetings begin having four weekly services in the same location (Sabbath morning, evening, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening).

3) In six months there is another short evangelistic series in that location, as well as every church and group throughout the country. If there is a good response again, the group is well on its way to becoming an organized church.

4) In December of 2004 a group of lay members and a lady lay preacher went to a section of town called “Toborochi” to hold a short series of meetings. Eleven people were baptized. In March 2005 they held another series of meetings. This time 67 more people were baptized. Then in October 2005 another series brought the membership to more than 80. When we came in March 2006 Sue Patzer preached in this location each evening. During the daytime the Montana Conference and Mt. Ellis Academy built a church building. At the end of our time there, twenty five more people were baptized and a completed church building was dedicated.

5) There is no doubt that our brothers and sisters in Bolivia are serious about carrying out the Gospel Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)!

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