In my recent trip to Myaguez, Puerto Rico, I was blessed to see Ephesians 4:11-12 in action. Ephesians 4:11-2 states, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”
On one day in one room, I saw a team of men gathered together who plant, lead, and serve the churches of Puerto Rico. It was a privilege to sit beside David Dickson, who in 1994, planted a church in Guayama. That church, “The Church Without Walls,” became the mother church for six more churches. All six were represented in the meeting I attended. Most of the pastors of each church were men who had served under David’s leadership and then left to plant a new church.
On this particular day, we were celebrating the organization of a new church in Mayaguez. The church was planted by Angel de Jesus (cool name, right?). Angel’s gift is planting churches. Much like the apostle Paul would plant a church and then raise up leaders to take over, Angel loves to start new missions and then turn them over to leaders he has disciple.
As we all celebrated the new church’s organization, I marveled at the way God had brought all of these pastors together with different gifts and skills. David had the vision for planting a church with a reproducing DNA. Angel joined in the effort through his gift for evangelism. Others used their gifts of leadership and shepherding to oversee the new churches and help them grow.
The bottom line is that God has made us all with unique skillsets and gifting. And, none of us can do everything. Therefore, we need each other in order to obey Christ’s great commission. When men dwell together in unity –and work together by sharing their gifts and abilities with one another, beautiful things happen while God gets the glory.
On this particular day, although we were celebrating a church that Angel had planted, it was obvious that everyone had a hand in the work. Further, because of the close-knit partnership these men enjoy, there is no doubt that this new church will have a team of support from day one.
The next day, I had the privilege of preaching at the Cabo Rojo mission being planted by the new church in Mayaguez. (That’s right, they already have a mission!) In Cabo Rojo, Angel has appointed two men to lead: Carlos and Alex. Both men work together as a team to grow the mission and reach more people.
The music in the mission church was wonderful. It turns out that two of the musicians took lessons from Angel as an outreach of the church in Mayaguez. He gives free lessons every Saturday to anyone interested and uses the service as a means to share Christ and invite families to the church.
On the Sunday I was visiting the mission, a man walked into the rented building after the service. He explained that he lives across the street and has seen the people of the church gather for worship each Sunday. He requested that the leader come to his house and pray for his mother who is struggling from Alzheimer’s. I had the privilege of joining Carlos and Alex in visiting the man’s home and praying for his mother. I was struck by the powerful testimony of their worship services to the man and his family.
Carlos and Alex’s leadership was the next generation of what David Dickson started years ago with the Church Without Walls. Even more, it’s a continuation of what Jesus prophesied in Acts 1:8 declaring, “You will be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.” That includes Puerto Rico too.