During my travels I was often asked: “How many congregations did you actually found in Ethiopia?” That made me ponder, I didn’t have a number ready. Time for some statistics!
“Therefore, my dear brothers, be firm, immovable, and always increase in the work of the LORD, since you know that your work is not in vain in the LORD.” – 1Ko 15,58
The beginning of the mission in Ethiopia was not easy – how often I am amazed when I look back at how the Lord has guided and blessed us! Our evangelist project is one of these tours. The goal was to build rural communities in Ethiopia, especially in remote villages.
The beginning: planting a church
The beginning is a small nucleus of believers, first as a house group, then as a church planting with meetings and services. Preachers have to come from the outside, rarely is there a mature brother from the beginning who could do it. At this moment we are appointing an evangelist to build up this band and to preach the gospel in the place. Church planting begins to grow …
How does it become a church, what is the difference?
In Ethiopia, a community is really independent, not just on paper. This means that they must be able to take care of themselves and therefore need an internal structure (our evangelist must also take care of this). All offices in the congregation must be filled – elders, preachers, deacons, choirs and whatever else is involved. So when a church planting becomes a real church, there is far more to it than just numerical growth. Normally, the young community is already active in the area and starts new church planting in neighboring villages. In this way, they pass on the help they received from their mother church to others.
Now I have taken the time and counted in peace. I came across 99 churches that we founded as a mission with the help of our evangelists there. Who doesn’t think of the 99 sheep from the parable of Jesus? But before I could write a report about it, I received new news from Ethiopia. Another two church plantings had become independent! So, 101 new churches, and a lot of church planting is almost there. We are so grateful to the Lord for all the blessings.