About 100 people from Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay came together in Buenos Aires this last weekend for the 2010 Grace Brethren Southern Cone Church Planters Conference, organized by the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches in Argentina and sponsored by Grace Brethren International Missions .
Leadership and Teamwork
Most everyone arrived by lunchtime on Saturday and that afternoon we were introduced to the theme of the week, Leadership and Teamwork. Three church-planting teams, our team here in La Plata Argentina, a multi-cultural church planting team in the city of Corrientes in Northern Argentina, and another multi-cultural church-planting team in Chile, all made presentations. We all explained how each of our teams are structured, how we work as a team, along with advantages and disadvantages of these models and how we handle conflict. After each of the presentations there was a robust question and answer time with each team. This was a great way to start off the conference.
Each day would begin with a light breakfast of coffee and toast followed by devotions in small groups (according to the color of notebook one got when you arrived). After going through a small study with a few others we would gather for worship. The worship band from the GBC church in Marmol (in Buenos Aires) lead worship. What an amazingly talented group, they did so well helping us focus on God through song and music, we had such a wonderful time in worship through the whole weekend!
On Sunday the main topic was looking at the scripture to see what God said about leadership and structure. The role of elders and deacons in the church was looked at, as well as the role of the giftings mentioned in Ephesians 4 (apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, teacher) has in the local church and in church-planting. What does God say about leadership and teamwork in the church? Understanding these principles is vital to the health and sustainability of new churches and works. During the day there was also plenty of free time to strike up a game of “Bocha” (In the States we’d call it Bochi Ball), or a game of Soccer. Of course any and all remaining time was well taken advantage of by all to catch up, talk, chat, hear about whats going on in each others lives, to encourage another and be encouraged…these relationship are what this conference is all about. This kind of work can be so grueling, not many people can understand, really understand, this life, but for a few days out of the year we all can relax a little and fellowship with like-minded people going through the same issues together.
Monday (this last weekend is a long weekend every year, it’s a national holiday here in Argentina-not sure about elsewhere-called “Race Day”, celebrating the coming of the Caucasian race to South America), was the day to start packing up. After devotions and packing and another wonderful time of worship, we were left with a final challenge. To those who were present from local churches, the challenge given to be a doer and put into practice what God had put on their heart this weekend. Many others, myself included, were challenged by the remembrance of Samuel Dadje. An amazing man of God who died just a couple months ago, he died due to complications of being caught in the desert in northern Africa for too much time. He was on his way doing exploratory work, trying to see the best way to penetrate Libya with the Gospel.
Here are some pictures from the weekend