Sexual Culture in Latin America

My wife and I had the privilege of living and serving in South America for 10 years (8 years in Argentina and 2 years in Peru). There were many things we witnessed and experienced, so the thoughts throughout this article do not come from governmental statistics but from personal life.

Growing up in the Midwest, some form of pornography was available whether it was from a magazine at my friend’s tree house, stories or language in the locker room, an occasional movie my friend got his hands on or rummaging through magazines at the drugstore. Although there was availability, most every form was taboo in society, something you did in secret or with buddies but definitely not with parents or other adults present. In no way would I say the US is at a high spiritual status, but there is somewhat of a morale still in the country in which much of the larger scales of perversion are done in secret and not openly.

When I arrived to South America, I noticed that the sensual edge of life was much more open, common and accessible than when I was growing up in USA. Local news stands offered porn magazines in the open instead of behind a counter or with a paper covering nudity up until the purchase. Newspapers had sections in the back with very provocative pictures and contact information for sexual services. TV talk-show hosts spoke openly about sex or being bi-sexual and hosted barely-clad women. The common soap operas had straight out sex on public TV. Advertisements with nude or almost nude women were distributed on the street or placed on vehicles.

A mom at one of our churches in Argentina told us about one of the classes her 11 year-old girl participated in at school. The teacher had all the girls open a condemn and place it on the stuck-out finger of a boy in the class. The goal was to show the kids how to use a condemn and protect themselves as they prepared for being sexually active. I could continue giving examples, but the point should be proven that the sexual culture in Latin America was flaring.

It was far too common to see a girl already expecing a baby as young as 12 years of age or my wife counseling a young girl who had repeatedly been sexually abused by uncles, dads, cousins, brothers or friends of the family. Lovers were common, young girls were abused and women were toys and objects offered openly and freely. Although these situations angered me, what could I really expect since they were only reacting to the food society had been feeding them?

Sexual culture in Latin America is alive and well but just knowing the sexual culture of Latin America is not helpful without advice on how to be cautious if you are working in Latin America. I would like to offer two suggestions to my missionary friends on how to avoid falling into the devil’s sensual traps while working in Latin America.

First of all, stay close to God. Sounds cliché, simple and almost so understood that we don’t need to mention it. According to the wise king Solomon, the person who is abhorred of the Lord is going to fall in a deep sexual pit (Proverbs 22:14) but the person who pleases and loves the Lord is going to escape from that sexual pit (Ecclesiastes 7:26). The common denominator of falling or escaping from the sexual sin is the Lord. Love the Lord, stay close to the Lord and live for the Lord will cause you to escape from this sexual pit, but ignore and don’t listen to the Lord will cause you to fall into this sexual trap that, according to Solomon, is “more bitter than death”.

Sexual sins are open and available for everyone (especially and specifically in Latin America), and it takes more than just a strong or good person to avoid the temptations. I don’t need to remind you that mighty, wise, good, God-fearing men have fallen prey to the sexual temptations. And lest we think we are too good to fall, I remind you of what the apostle Paul said, “take heed lest ye fall” (I Corinthians 10:12). Any man, working in his own strength and power can fall, but God offers His supernatural assistance to help us win the sexual battle. We can talk about meditating on His Word, memorizing His Word, crying out to Him in prayer and other very important steps, but the point is to realize that drawing close to God is the answer to avoid the temptations, traps and pits of sexual sins. Make time every day to communicate with Him through prayer and reading Scriptures and live conscientiously walking and pleading His help. The key of escape from sexual sins is knowing that God is where you should look for strength!

The second way to avoid sexual sins is to stay close to your spouse. Proverbs 5 says that a man is to rejoice with the wife of his youth (vs.18), to get all of his sexual satisfaction from and only from his wife, being “ravished (enraptured, enchanted, delighted, charmed, enthralled, captivated, entranced) always with her love” (vs.19). God made man to want and enjoy sex, God designed sex, but sex was made for the perimeters of marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

The devil is the greatest con artist, imitating all the marvelous things God has made but offering only a shell of beauty filled with poison. The missionary who serves in Latin America will see and be offered a large portion of sensual pleasure, but the offers are mere mirages in the dry desert of sin. The missionary should be sexually fulfilled through his wife; this is God’s divine method. A missionary should constantly work at growing in his marriage by reading books on marriage, making time for dates and always studying his wife. A thriving, healthy marriage is one of the greatest defenses a missionary has to avoid falling into the pit of sexual sins.

The sexual culture is wide-awake and going strong in Latin America and the devil would love to destroy as many servants of God as he can.  If we put on the whole armour of God that He has given us, stay in love with God and in love with our spouse, we can avoid being another casualty in this war.


Jeffrey Bush

Keeping Missions First & Foremost in the Church


Getting the Gospel to the lost is what the church is all about, both at home and abroad. Most of us are able to keep home missions in front of people, but it’s a bit more challenging when it comes to world missions. Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to visit many great churches and glean off their ideas for keeping world missions in front of the church.

  • Read prayer letters or updates. Before offering or during offering, have someone read/update the church on one of your missionaries. Place the prayer letters somewhere where people can read them.
  • Skype missionaries to give a live and personal update. This is very effective for mission’s conference.
  • Hold a missions conference every year. If we say missions is important, we should put time in our calendar and room in our budget.
  • Place maps and missions posters on the walls. Posters with statistics of a country, need and Bible verse so that missions is in front of the people. Instead of just a pretty picture on the wall, put a missions poster that carries a message of the need to get the Gospel to the world.
  • Use illustrations, examples and stories of missions in your preaching and teaching.
  • Plan a mission’s trip for your youth group or church every year or every other year. A mission’s trip should be well planned, not just thrown together at the last minute.  Give your church people time to start saving back the money for it. Seeing the mission field firsthand will radically change someone forever.
  • Schedule missionaries in at least once a month to visit your church and preach. Many missionaries are now serving the Lord because of how they were influenced by a visiting missionary preaching, showing a video, sharing a story or challenge about the need on the foreign field.
  • Make sure you have Sunday school curriculum that speaks about missions both to the adults and to the children. I remember hearing missionary stories when I was younger and those stories stuck in my mind and heart for years.
  • Make missionary biographies available at the church. Whether you have a church library, bookstore or just have them on a back table to let people borrow, making missionary biographies available will encourage, challenge and help young people have a desire to serve God.
  • Special offering for a missionary project. You are communicating to the church congregation that missions is important to you and to your church when you have a special love offering for a specific need or project.  The children can also learn during Vacation Bible School how important mission’s work is when the offering goes to a certain need.
  • When a missionary visits, have them spend time with the youth. When a missionary visits and the youth are in another service, it communicates that missions is for the older people and not important for the youth. If it is a mid-week service or Sunday school class, bring the youth in with the adults to hear the missionary. It would be worth having the missionary arrive a day early to have a special time to be with the youth. Some have planned a youth night a couple of hours before or after the service with time for the missionary to speak specifically to them.
  • Encourage the people to correspond with the missionaries. Our home church has a missionary of the week to keep the missionaries on a rotation and in front of the church. Make their email address or other contact information available to the church family and encourage them let them know you’re praying for them.
  • Keep faith promise in front of the people. Whether in announcements or bulletin, every once in a while give a reminder about faith promise. Teach even the children that they can give to missions as well no matter the amount. When people give to something, their heart follows it.
  • Have missionaries visit the children’s class for a couple of minutes when they visit your church. Children make decisions that affect their entire lives. Do not think or belittle a child when he/she wants to serve God; encourage and congratulate them.
  • If someone in your church says they want to be a missionary, give them special attention. Place books in their hands, put them in contact with missionaries, take them on a trip, spend time talking to them about it and help them start a missions prayer group.
  • Pray in each Sunday school class for your missionaries. Our home church weekly provides every class with a card that has the missionary family’s picture on the front along with 2-3 prayer requests and spaces on the back for each person in the class to sign. Someone then collects the cards from all the classes, then sends them to the missionaries to let them know they were prayed for.
  • Have your church get involved with various ethnic groups in your city. Find out what nationalities live close to you and find out what you can do to reach them. This will give your people a burden for the outside world. Missionary Micah Rastelli was working drywall with Bosnians and had such a burden that now he is going to Bosnia as a missionary. Missionary Brady Van Winkle was doing ESL classes with Turkish people at our church and now is a missionary going to Turkey.
  • Properly care for those who are sent as missionaries from your church (financially supporting them, but also mentioning them frequently, praying for them, sending them care packages, etc.).
  • Keep missions in front of your youth. Encourage them to give to missions. Encourage them to be missionaries. Encourage them to realize the need, go on a trip, contact missionaries, read about missions and fall in love with God and what God loves.


Jeffrey Bush

Ideas for Church Plant (Gardner) 2 of 2


  1. Train at least one usher to stand in door/ listen/ help control service/welcome people
  2. Use a minimum of 2 ushers. Choose a spot during break
  3. Print welcome on door or walk have wet down before each service
  4. Have ushers ready to take out chairs
  5. Are you using visitor cards?
  6. Get information by giving away Bibles but need info
  7. Get away prized based on faithful attendance
  8. In Sunday school teach how to read the Bible Sword drill/ book of the Bible
  9. Break up service/Sunday school in short parts to not let them get bored
  10. Gospel tracts need to be available so that can take them
  11. Need invitation read for next service to anyone & give them.
  12. Some sort of bulletin. Children lesson to take home. Drawing/life truth
  13. 8 under 12, 6 teens,    39
  14. Back ground music playing before, after, and between services
  15. Practice with usher, helping them get to seat
  16. Set up the nursery- children’s area
  17. Ushers gives those that leave early material
  18. Train people to sit with visitors & help them find verses in the Bible
  19. Do other churches have tea or snack for children
  20. Make Sunday school and everything like TV program, grab interest, make classes, interest to study
  21. Install ceiling fans
  22. Work on venting for air flow if possible. Consider where you have crowd
  23. Shorter break – so they don’t leave
  24. Sing some songs so they all sing. Spread out those that they know
  25. Due to outside noise use PA and set speaker up high – Hand held mic. Background noise ruining everything
  26. More light over and towards pulpit
  27. Have some sort of greeting time -10 seconds- they love to greet apparently
  28. Write Baptism tract with graphics explaining for them to give out
  29. Static web page set up to mobile they can get to
  30. Set up to text announcement to all each week
  31. Set up Facebook page from web
  32. Put all video and audio lings on web page
  33. Speaker outside for nosy people
  34. As soon as possible Sunday school class for young adults. You write the lesson. Teach in teachers and workers meeting. Sunday school divided.
  35. Divide Sunday school time.  Never a segment longer than 12 min
  36. Have people stand to sing
  37. Put up a calendar of church events /social
  38. Get giving envelops
  39. Plan charter organizational service in the next year
  40. Visitor cards or something. Must learn who came
  41. Decision cards
  42. Train councilors
  43. Work all week- practicing what each will do. They have to be there. Prepare with them
  44. Explain every move. Even how to use a song sheet- until all learn
  45. Order of service given to all who will participate including ushers
  46. Explain all Bible & reference words at all times
  47. Think of how a believer first time hears everything
  48. Remember the biggest enemy.
  49. Have practice sessions or everything. Ushers, Music, choir, specials, Bible verses, welcome, helping others find things in their Bibles. Sundays we run the plays we practice during the week. Get as many people as possible practicing each thing. Get subs ready
  50. Have Bible reading in service. Teach them to read. They need to practice his reading. Give attentions to reading
  51. Explain silent prayer. Praying is everything. So I learn what is helping.
  52. Always make sure you can look everyone in the eyes
  53. Get sign up sheet for disciple. Set up a time for all new believers to tell
  54. Have each of your guys look for 3 guys they can teach to do all they can do. Their job- find others train them and then move up.
  55. 6 circling fans
  56. Find jobs for anyone that comes semi-regular. Don’t worry if they miss.

Ideas for Church Plant (Gardner) 1 of 2


  1. Regularly consider what a total outsider sees, hears, smells when entering
    1. Maybe a greeter at the door
    2. Not enough song books
    3. Water not working in bathroom
    4. Couldn’t see song leader and only occasionally could see the preacher
    5. Have Bible for visitors to use with help
    6. Helpers need to be ready at all times
  1. You could put a monitor on post and telecast from camera
  2. Consider doing all night meetings with those that come
    1. Retreats
    2. Trips
    3. Camp properly, camp out
  1. Take them other placed to pass out tracts
  2. Have weekly staff meetings with your people
  3. Possible business card for you and your wife with web or Facebook address to give to literally every person you see and do business with
  4. Ask attendees to take several tracts after every service to share with friends
  5. Have prayer over map of area, city, valley, country, world
  6. Get a monthly men’s meeting- youth meeting- prayer meeting with leaders
  7. Take your guys to where they burn bodies – Look – make them feel more & preach Gospel
  8. Get them over the city to see lights and day time to pray over city
  9. Make sure preaching is full of Bible stories to hold interest and be memorable
  10. Take tour, people to other churches to motivate them
  11. Constantly remember they do not know the Bible stories like you do
    1. Use them to teach the truth
    2. Don’t get too doctrinal like teaching but exactly like a story
  1. Practical lessons – applicable. How does this truth change my life?
  2. Work on music.
    1. Make it fun- music service
  1. Don’t be academic
  2. Do they understand the words we use like normal?
  3. What material are available?
    1. Print
    2. Audio
    3. Video
    4. Tracts
  1. Change stories to their culture. They don’t understand our culture or care.
  2. Watch local TV to learn how to explain emotions
  3. What does grace, gospel, ect mean/translate
  4. Repetition, redundant. Simple pictures, illustrated or they will not get it
  5. Act out message when you can
  6. Stay on salvation for a long time in main service
  7. Salvation, assurance, baptism, righteousness, prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, all basic stuff
  8. Other meetings to slowly go forward
  9. Preach children’s church message
  10. Don’t preach American message
  11. Don’t preach too much
  12. I would end service with a song so the ending isn’t so abrupt.
  13. Have children’s Sunday school class upstairs
  14. Arrange chairs to see better
  15. Give out Gospel materials to take home every service
  16. Raise speakers
  17. Put TV screen out on street
  18. Record all services -audio & video- to put on web page and Facebook
  19. Give hand out so lesson goes home
  20. During Sunday school try to participate
  21. Have a memory verse and someone to teach it
  22. Have special music by children/choir
  23. Get young ladies to help – schedule
  24. Have workers meeting- set schedule. Ask all to participate. Cleaning/decorating/nursery/verses/ teachers
  25. Change decorations every month
  26. Put quote on wall like Budda quote by Jesus
  27. Set up special meeting about felt need
  28. Have people help read/ act out/ lesson. This is different than preaching service
  29. If need to hire a maid ect. For nursery so Amber can teach kids Sunday School
  30. Get info printed on windows
  31. Get banner across street

Ideas for 1st Year of Church Plant (4 of 4)

Free New Testaments.

Find out if you can give free New Testaments or John&Romans to schools, placing a tract in each one of them. Take people from your church (even if not saved or very faithful) to help you. It’s a good teaching point to help those with you and gives you more helping hands while at the school. You can do the same at police stations, fire stations, hospitals and work places/companies. Take some free snacks and/or water bottles will make it to be very well received and gives you a good relationship with the local authorities.


Everything has a Purpose. 

Remember that everything has a purpose —  for both evangelism (getting new contacts, sharing Gospel and making the church presence known) as well as discipleship (using the activities to help and teach your people and let them be involved in the work). VBS, kids carnival or any kind of special event can grow both your contacts and your church. Know your purpose for having the special event and make the most of it.


Gather Messages. 

Try to collect as many messages as possible so that you can work more on fishing for new people than you do studying for a message. Of course you need to study, but it would be better to have a lot of people and preach a halfway prepared message than to have only a few people and a preach a super prepared message.


Teach your people the 3-minute “rule”. 

Before speaking to people you know after service, spend the first 3-minutes greeting visitors. It is natural to talk to those that you know, but teach the church people to be friendly to visitors.


Touch Base Weekly. 

Touch base with your church people every Saturday (or day before a service) or at least once a week. The natural thought is that people should be mature enough and you shouldn’t have to coddle or remind them to come to church, but remember that they are baby Christians. For probably the first year or more that we were in Argentina, we would text or call most everyone who attended our church to encourage them to be at church on Sunday. Instead of hoping someone will be at church, give them a little nudge to be at church.


Scripture Verses.

Put Bible verses on the walls of your church and front of your building. After someone looks so many times, they have the verse memorized, but a verse can also emphasize the purpose of your church.


Cover a Large Area with Tracts & Flyers.

Find out from the mail system how to pay to place tracts or invitations in every house and business in a five mile/km (or whatever distance) radius. Even if the city does not have a mail system, there are businesses that will deliver flyers. And if there is no business that does this to your knowledge, there are always people looking for various jobs… if you have the money and plan, they have the time and need for the work and money.



Get big signs, banners, posters or any kind of signage and pay to have them put up all over the city. For a small amount, in Argentina we use to put up banners that go across a road. Even though it may be ripped down in a month or two, it was worth paying to have the people see it. I have noticed in almost every country, there are signage for political agendas, big concerts, plays, religious and communal events.


Plan a Big Evangelistic Conference. 

Rent a tent, arena or banquet hall and go big with an evangelistic effort. Promote it! Drawing a crowd is a great way to get the Gospel out as well as let them know your church presence.



Plan and promote a series on interesting and needed topics. Offer what people need, capture their attention. Be a wise fisherman. Subjects such as family, creation, marriage, kids, finances, learn to pray, how to be successful, etc. catch people’s attention and are very needed.


Get Small Ads in the Newspaper. 

One about your church and another maybe about starting a small series that will interest people.


Use Outside Advertisement. 

Put your church website, times and info on the windows or walls outside of your building. Put a big sign that lights up at night with the church name and info on it.


Nursery Workers.

Make sure to get nursery workers right away. You can use volunteers and teach your people immediately. You can even pay outsiders to watch the kids, but make sure you have nursery workers at the beginning.


Bike Parking.

Put a bike rack bolted to the cement outside of the church. This will make it inviting for people who come on bicycles or motorcycles.


Transportation Routes. 

Find out which buses or transportation comes by your church and put that information on your tracts, website and everywhere else so people know how to get to your church.


Preaching Points & Bible Studies.

Start preaching points and Bible studies throughout the city. It gives you an opportunity to know people and then invite them to church. It gives you an opportunity to take any young man you’re training and gives them opportunities to be involved in ministry.  Church families can invite their friends to their house and let you go share the Gospel or a discipleship lesson for one hour.



Plan an evangelism blitz, saturating an entire area, once a quarter or a couple times a year. You can pay people (many countries and people deliver restaurant flyers, sometimes there are companies that dedicate only to this) or do it with your church and volunteers. It is a great time to sow the Gospel as well as make people aware of the church.


Movie Nights. 

Plan a service in which you invite people specifically to watch an evangelistic movie (there are several good Christian movies you can use). Make flyers, prepare popcorn, or some snack, and then give a short challenge after or even during the movie (stop it at some point and explain). Give out the Gospel clearly and send every visitor home with a guest packet (tract, bulletin, pen and a thank you letter from pastor).


Thank You Letters. 

Every time someone visits the church, get their address and follow up within a week by sending  or personally taking a letter thanking them for visiting the church. This is a extra touch and almost guaranteed to get the visitors to return at least one more time. One of the men in Argentina said that he was so impressed we gave him a personal letter that he returned back for another service… and now he is pastoring! Most countries do not send personal letters (outside of a bill), so this follow-up letter is a very effective.


Hospital Visits/Evangelism. 

Go to the local hospitals and pass out a small gift bag with a tract, water bottle, a pack of gum or mints. It is very effective and thoughtful since most people do not receive free gifts. My wife has walked through the newborn section of the hospital passing out diapers with a church invitation. It was very well received.


Christian Tracts & Literature in Your Country. 

Find the Bible society, Baptist Union, Christian bookstore or any other Christian presence in your country (online or physical location). You do not have to agree with what they believe, but many will offer some tracts and other good material you can use. Before translating your own tracts (or other materials) find out what they have available, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you can borrow the work of others. You can get a cheap rubber stamp made with your church address and info on it so you can easily place it on your tracts or whatever you purchase or print.



Ideas for 1st Year of Church Plant (3 of 4)




Find out their holidays and do something that shows you are one of them, such as putting out a flag on their Independence Day or recognizing a national historical day. If a holiday is something where you can’t biblically celebrate it because it is paganistic, sensual or sinful, plan another non-related activity. It could be a special  youth meeting or activity at the church or go to the streets to pass out tracts.



Pay to get advertisements everywhere you can – on public transportation, street signs, billboards, etc.  Likely big city busses are too expensive but smaller businesses (taxi companies or smaller busses) would accept your advertisement. Get something printed up that they need or will use and have your church name/info on it.


Be Specific.

Teach how to do offering, announcements, be a greeter or anything you want done. Be specific how you want it done and show them. Remember they have never seen it done or know what you are thinking. Show them how to receive people at the door, how to pass offering baskets down every aisle, how to give announcements or everything else you want done.


Everyone should Take Something Home. 

Plan to have both visitors and church people take something home with them. Give first-time guests a visitors packet with a pen, Gospel brochure, calendar or other little gift. Pass out sermon notes they can either read to follow along or fill in the blanks. If they take something home, others may read/see it.  You can print up brochures or booklets on how to read the Bible with a “Read you Bible Through in a Year” plan.  You always want people to take something home from church to remember activities and to be able to influence them throughout the week.


Record All your Preaching and Teaching

You can upload it to YouTube or Sermon Audio, put it on the church’s website or make it available on CD, but make sure to record everything you teach and preach.


Get your Family Involved.

Let your kids stand outside to invite and help pass out tracts. Your children give the impression of life, fun, healthy and family friendly. Kids attract other kids, other families and just about everyone that sees them.


Encourage Everyone to Evangelize. 

Have tracts available and easily accessible. Make it fun and a challenge for everyone to pass out 10 tracts a week.  Teach them how to invite people and be excited about bringing new people.


Teachers and Workers Meetings.

Hold a teachers and workers meetings every week (before or after a service is probably easiest). Allow anyone interested to come whether they are working in the church yet or not.  Give practical, ministerial lessons on how to receive people, how to disciple someone, how to evangelize, how to teach a lesson, how to study your Bible, why be faithful to church, etc. The goal is to teach the people to become faithful workers and to do ministry.


Give People Jobs Immediately. 

Someone doesn’t have to be saved or spiritually mature. Their are many things a new Christian or even an interested unbeliever can do.  They can be greeters, set out chairs, be ushers, turn on projector (or put out songbooks), pass out bulletin, turn on lights, sweep the floor, count attendance, prepare front entrance, decorate, help with cooking meals for special days, etc.

Here’s a little flyer that we used in Argentina to encourage church people to get involved:



Start on time. 

To help people arrive on time, offer free tea (or some drink) and cookies before service. Have a fun atmosphere and short prayer time before the service begins. Start your welcome or first song right on time, even if there’s only one person there. You can make it appealing to arrive early but that means you have to be early yourself. Have people with responsibilities get there early to turn on lights, music, open doors and be at door to welcome.


Attractive Children’s Area

Have a nice, attractive children’s area. Make the nursery very appealing to both kids and parents. Colorful paint on the walls, a big rug on the floor, toys available, a baby crib, a rocking chair for mothers that nurse and a door or gate that will keep the children from escaping. When parents see a safe, clean and attractive children’s area, they are much more likely to bring their children and entrust you to watch their children. The Gospel shouldn’t be hindered by Don’t allow something so little as an uninviting kids area be the reason that a family doesn’t come to your church… the Gospel shouldn’t be hindered by something this small.


Information Available Outside.

Make a little rack or shelf that can hang on the outside of the church building in which you make tracts and other literature available. Have a little roof on top so it doesn’t get wet in rain and place a sign above that says “please take one”. Whether you place Gospel tracts or other literature there, the idea is that curious people walking by can learn more about what your church is and offers.


Let Visitors Draw a Crowd

Make a big deal of any visitors that come visit you. Print up flyers such as, “Special Speaker from North America” . Use their talents and abilities to draw a crowd. They can do a VBS, sing specials, play instruments, whatever it may be so use it as an opportunity to invite the community.. Even a group of teenagers from your home church going around the community with flyers will help draw attention and most likely get some visitors. Obviously your goal is to preach the Gospel and get visitors, so take advantage of every possible opportunity.



Ideas for 1st Year of Church Plant (2 of 4)


Plan Big and Special Days. 

Use calendar holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, etc.) as well as any other idea to generate excitement amongst church people, get new contacts or teach your people the need to bring in visitors. Some ideas are: friend day, picture day (bring family and get their free picture in a frame the following Sunday), neighbor day, etc. Offer gifts for whoever brings the most people. Stir up excitement in the church. Offer snacks, cake or a light meal after service for everyone.

Here is something we made up and used when planning a special event in Argentina:

2 months before – 

Put it in the church bulletin

Plan the theme and design the flyer

Start practicing a theme song with the choir and choose a song for the choir or special groups to sing

Start working with the children on a special song to sing

Plan other special music groups

Check on bookstore contents and who will be working in the bookstore, make bookmarks, etc.

Have a meeting with anyone who wants to work in the event and assign jobs (see list of jobs at the bottom)

1 month before – 

Print the flyers, encourage people to invite their friends

Send a special letter to every contact that has come to the church

Send a letter to invite other churches in the area (even those who you may not agree with doctrinally), along with a few flyers and a large hang up flyer to put in their church

Choir practice

Arrange for lodging for people coming in from far away

Make the song book (if using new choruses, etc) or prepare the slides for power point

3 weeks before – 

Decide on decorations, form a team to decorate

Put a banner on the window of the church

Announce it on the radio and/or newspaper

Plan the meals for people staying at the church, etc

Put someone in charge of any children’s activities – Bible Club, etc

Make sure nursery workers are signed up for every meeting going on at the church

Make sure the bus is in shape for picking up visitors (if you have one)

2 weeks before – 

Send out an email to the church list

Have a day of passing out flyers all day long

Decorate the church

Check on bookstore contents and who will be working in the bookstore, make bookmarks, etc.

Plan the program for each meeting

1 week before – 

Send out another email

Have another day of passing out flyers all day long.

Visit people who haven’t come in a while

Call all contacts and invite them

1 day before – 

Send another email out asking for prayer for the conference and inviting people

Call any other people who need to be reminded of the conference


Teach Church to Give to Missions. 

Have a missions conference by the second year of church’s existence. Don’t support other Americans, find local pastors/missionaries/church planters. You may have to ask other missionaries, but you can likely find someone even if they live many hours from where you are working. Let the people know that you have come as a missionary and other countries and areas need missionaries as well. Talk about the need to get churches planted all over your city, but someone has to support them to begin. Missionaries do their church on the field a big mistake by not letting them feel the weight of giving (church of Macedonia was in deep poverty yet still gave according to II Corinthians 8).


Start Youth Meeting Right Away. 

Make it fun, interesting, a place where they can get questions or doubts answered and a place where they want to bring friends. Friday or Saturday evenings are good options. They do not need more games than preaching and teaching time. Offer free drinks. Don’t make it infantile and be clear that they’ll learn Bible and get their doubts or questions answered in this meeting. The youth meeting will likely be the training grounds from which your future leaders come from.


Your Preaching. 

Preach messages that are basic, helpful and that will attract people. Of course our preaching should be based on Bible, but remember that preaching is not for your own good but for the good of the people. Don’t use big words without explaining the meaning. Teach basic discipleship lessons and truths. Don’t try to be deep, go wide (lots of truth and reachable for everyone). People are curious about certain subjects/topics and as long as you stem from the Bible, you can hit on topics that draw and help people (creationism, family, finances, success, who is God, what happens after death, etc.). Stay Basic. Use object lessons. Use stories. Look at the people. Include them in your preaching. Find topics that are going to help and attract people.  Keep it on the bottom shelf. Preach children’s church style, don’t go deep. Remember to give spoon by spoon bites, not an entire plateful. Let them take one thing home, not many things. Follow the old acronym “K.I.S.S.” – Keep It Simple Stupid.



Offer free Bibles at church for people to use. Offer to give them a Bible if they come to church 4 Sundays in a row (gets people back and you want them to have a Bible anyways). Using the same Bible will help people at the beginning so you can tell them what page number to turn to until they grow and learn where books of the Bible are located.


Begin Discipleship Immediately. 

Find a system that works best for you and encourage everyone to go through it (there are many good discipleship curriculums). Talk about the discipleship you offer in the service and have a volunteer with copies available every service. Give a special certificate for anyone that finishes the lessons (we had 26 lessons in our 1st level). Discipleship helps people learn about salvation, baptism, faithful church attendance, tithing or giving and much more without you having to keep repeating and preaching on it. You may have some lessons you do together (later teach them to take others through it once they’ve finished) but have a entire level of lessons with fill-in-the-blanks so they can take it home and do it on their own pace (Bible passages they look up and the spaces is a phrase or word from that verse). As they finish one lesson, they bring it back and you give the next lesson to take home (checking the lesson they turned in and later talking to them about any misunderstandings). When they finish you give a certificate in front of the church and give them back their lessons all stapled together. You can do another level where it is one on one with the person. There are many ways to do discipleship but goal is to make sure they do it (and you have to be strategic since you only have so much time to offer every person).



Make a small and cheap entryway in your building (use plywood or drywall) as to silence street sounds (just as some bathrooms have a small wall/division so you can’t see in). Church people get distracted too easily with others coming in, people talking outside or vehicles driving by, so you have to try to silence out the distractions. You have prepared and ready to preach and you need their attention, so  minimize distractions. Making a small entry way (even if it’s just 1 or 2 meters) doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will double your efforts in teaching and preaching.


Ideas for 1st Year of Church Plant (1 of 4)

Just recently I had the opportunity to visit several missionary friends in Asia. One of my friends started a church a few months ago and is doing a phenomenal job. While there, my mind began to race to the days God allowed my family and I to start churches in Argentina. I wrote down several ideas that I did or learned during the first couple of years in a church plant. These ideas were not written to appear I knew something but to create momentum in the mind of my friends who are currently church planting. They are tiny seeds of ideas that can be grown into much bigger and better ideas. So, here’s part #1…



Gospel Tracts Always Available. 

Carry tracts and have them available at all times. Carry them on your person to give out in taxis, stores or wherever you go and also place them in a visible and easily accessible spot at the church.


Audio Outside.

Have music playing outside the church along with someone from your country giving out Gospel tracts and inviting people to church. If it’s not illegal, it sure wouldn’t hurt to try.


Online Presence.

Use Facebook ads to invite people.

Make a webpage. You can run it yourself or pay a local guy to run it, but definitely get one. Place your address, church times, contact info, testimonies of others, tracts, articles to read, your archived sermons and anything that could be a help to others.


Music Before & After.

Have recorded music going on in the building 30 minutes prior and after each service, offer free tea and have someone at the door to welcome people.


Get on radio. 

  1. Have someone do a 10-30 second commercial in the language inviting people to church. Maybe a question that says “have you ever wondered what happens after this life, have you ever wanted to have a successful family, have you ever considered what God is the real God,… visit us at blank Baptist church to find out the answers”. Have this commercial loop five or 10 times a day every day of the week.
  2. Maybe start a 5 or 10 minute Bible study when you get better in the language – there’s no competition in almost every country when it comes to Bible teaching and preaching. People are hungry to hear about the Truth even if they are lost.
  3. Here is a short article I wrote about why to have a radio ministry:


Have you Tried the Radio Ministry?!

Around March 2009, the Lord opened up the doors for a radio ministry here in La Plata, Argentina.  It goes Monday-Friday from 8:00 – 9:00am, giving me the opportunity to preach to a possible crowd of close to one million people!  In this city of La Plata and surroundings of over 1 million people, the Lord has opened the doors to preach on a radio station that reaches this entire city and extending outwards.  I must say that at first I was very excited, but never imagined all the work it takes to prepare a one hour a day message. It is one thing preaching while looking at people but another when you are talking only to a microphone. Let me give you a few reasons I believe every missionary and church should take advantage of getting on & using radio:

  • Whereas you may pass out hundreds of tracts, the radio allows you to get into thousands of homes that may never receive a Gospel tract.


  • Whereas a church may never grow to one thousand in attendance, using radio can reach people with the Gospel and let them know about your church in a way much bigger than a sign, tract, or invitation.


  • The Gospel can be easily heard by people that otherwise would have to take 2 or 3 buses to get to your church. The city I worked in was large, making many areas a long distance to visit, but the radio was accessible immediately inside their house, car or handheld device!


  • Christians that are sick, disabled or elderly can hear the radio and use it as a discipleship course to grow more in their spiritual life.


  • People that are away from the Lord can hear the sound doctrine and hear about a Bible preaching church where they can get on their feet and begin to go forward for the Lord.


  • Both you and your local church realizes the radio is a means in reaching the city and doing what they were made to do, fulfill the Great Commission!


  • It helps you as a preacher realize that God can do bigger things than you can imagine!



Find out what the leaders in your country wear and follow suit. If they wear ties, a special shirt, a special hat, copy it. Every country has a way to show who the important people are and I would find out that way. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is or what the normal people on the street do; find out how the leaders dress and imitate.


Get the Name of the Church Out. 

  1. We bought plastic grocery bags with the church’s name on it and gave them out free to little stores. Give something out free that people like or need to get your name all over.  They will keep it and remember the church.
  2. Set up a booth downtown and offer free waters, tea or coffee.
  3. Offer English classes, music lessons, free marriage counsel, etc. Anything that will draw people.
  4. Make some cheap t-shirts, bracelets, free calendars, New Testaments, notebooks for schools, pens, market bags, etc.



Put up maps and study the city/area, not only for you to think stragically but also of your church people. Pray to reach the entire city and beyond and plan for churches in the future. Don’t settle on just reaching your neighborhood, but the entire city and continue from there.