One down, nine to go.
Ambitious plans are underway in the English Field of the Mesoamerica Region
, where leaders are planning to begin Nazarene work in 10 new areas for the first time, as well as strengthen 10 existing works, identify 10 new pastors a year over the next 10 years and develop 10 holiness resource centers.
The strategy is called 10-10.
A church has already been established in the first area on the list, the Turks and Caicos islands (map left), where a Nazarene couple began a new work in 2009 that was officially recognized earlier this year as the 158th area where the Church of the Nazarene is present.
Missionaries are presently in Curacao, making contact to launch work there.
The next eight on the list will be targeted with assistance from the region’s new Genesis strategy, said field strategy coordinator Rev. Alphonso Porter, who developed the plan.
Regional leadership announced Genesis as a region-wide church planting initiative at the beginning of 2012, with the objective of planting churches in 28 major cities that have populations of 1 million or more. Genesis promises resources of personnel, missionaries and finances.
“I'm hoping it will go beyond personnel and finances to include Discipleship and Sunday School material, things like hymn books and even Bibles, since the Churches that we are thinking of planting will definitely need these things. But we plan to find these resourcesm with or without GENESIS,” Porter said.
The English Field does not has a city with a million people. Two countries have a total population over one million – Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Thus, the field plan is to target countries or island groups instead of cities.
The 10-10 plan is inspired by the denomination’s mission statement: To make Christlike disciples in the nations.
“We read that to mean every nation, that’s what we want to do. That’s the motivation,” he said.
The fields have a combined 253 churches with 23,100 members, and the leadership wants to hit a mark of 500 churches with 50,000 members.
In detail, the plan is broken down into five parts:
1. Enter 10 new areas:
· Turks & Caicos Islands
· Cayman Islands
· St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands
· Nevis, a part of an island republic St. Kitts and Nevis (we have a church St. Kitts but not in Nevis)
· Bon Aire
· British Virgin Islands
· St. Marteen
2. Strengthen 10 existing works through church planting:
· St. Kitts
· The Bahamas
· Jamaica east district
· St. Vincent
· St lucia
3. Raise up 10 new pastors a year for 10 years.
4. Establish 10 holiness resource centers over 10 years.
5. Ten Youth in Mission teams from within the fields to aid in strengthening ministry in one of the 10 existing areas.
The region’s recent emphasis on raising up missionaries from within the countries in Mesoamerica will provide potential personnel and resources for the 10-10 plan. The goal is to identify 112 missionaries region-wide. Cross-cultural training events are attracting people who are sensing a missionary call.
The timing is critical for the kind of expansion Porter envisions.
“I will be first to admit that … as close as 10 years ago, the thinking always was that missionaries came from a particular part of the world,” he says. “We have suffered as a denomination in that field because those who felt God’s call to be a missionary have been ended up being missionaries in other organizations. So it’s for the first time our young people are going to be hearing, ‘You can become a missionary in the Church of the Nazarene.’”
The holiness centers are also necessary to the development of healthy new churches. Porter says that quality holiness material is sparse, and pastoral training extension centers don’t have the benefit of theological libraries.
“One problem is that we don’t have holiness literature. So pastors use the literature from popular preachers… and it will be significantly different from our denominational interest.”
The overall plan requires raising $100,000 USD each year for the next 10 years, possibly through partnerships. Much of that will go to building sanctuaries for the new congregations, as “we have noticed folks don’t take a church seriously unless it has some permanent features about it.”
Funds would also be used as tuition scholarships to assist in pastoral training.
“We already have the major resource, the Holy Spirit Himself,” Porter says.