Episode 548

Celebration of New Missionaries, Nicaragua’s Crackdown on Catholic Church & Steps for Starting New Groups

Feb 19, 2024

62 new missionaries were commissioned last week by the International Mission Board. The celebration took place in Phoenix, Arizona. In a concerning turn of events, the situation for the Catholic community in Nicaragua has deteriorated. This year alone, nineteen priests have been forcibly expelled. And, Lifeway discipleship expert Ken Braddy offers tips on starting new groups in your local church.

Transcript

62 new missionaries were commissioned last week by the International Mission Board. The celebration took place in Phoenix, Arizona. The IMB has thousands of missionaries spread across the globe.

IMB President Paul Chitwood said, ““As lostness grows, so must our response.“ Our mission force must grow. Our generosity must grow. Our prayers for the lost must grow. And our willingness to send our very best to the nations must grow,” he added.

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In a concerning turn of events, the situation for the Catholic community in Nicaragua has deteriorated. This year alone, nineteen priests have been forcibly expelled. Reports of harassment and sacred spaces being violated are escalating, leaving rural communities bereft of worship and vital social services.

The crackdown extends beyond Catholics, affecting evangelical groups as well, as President Daniel Ortega’s government intensifies its grip. The repercussions? A silence that’s growing deeper, voices of dissent disappearing from even the sanctity of the pulpit.

Martha Patricia Molina, a lawyer and recent recipient of the U.S. International Religious Freedom Award, reports thirty church desecrations in just the past year. Fear has become a barrier even to reporting such attacks, with those seeking justice facing hostility instead of help.

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Every day, hundreds of thousands of people die without the hope of Jesus. Your faithful prayers will make a difference. That’s why the IMB created a free 18-month calendar, called “Impacting Lostness Through Prayer”. It provides guidance, reminders and encouragement as you pray for individuals and communities who have yet to hear the gospel. Learn more about this free resource at IMB.org/prayercalendar.
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Lifeway discipleship expert Ken Braddy offers tips on starting new groups in your local church.

He says:

1. Know your possibilities

This first step is all about seeing the possible future of your group ministry. During this first step, you identify what underserved people groups you could reach if your groups agreed to franchise themselves. Check to see where you have “gaps” in your Bible teaching ministry.

2. Enlarge the organization

Once you know how many groups need to start, make sure you have the support structures – like childcare – in place to support them.

3. Enlist and train leaders

New leaders must know what is expected of them, what curriculum resources the church will provide for them (and how to use them correctly), and when regular training will take place.

4. Provide the space

Perhaps you have empty rooms on your church campus. If not, you may want to start new groups at an off-campus location.

5. Go after the people

Once you’ve accomplished steps one through four, you are ready to go after the people. Make calls, visit potential new group members in their homes, use social media to announce the start of new groups, send out mailers, and encourage your church members to tell their friends and neighbors that your church is starting new groups.

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