The Caminemos Juntos (Let's Walk Together) Americas Conference entitled "Multiply: New Models and Testimonies of Planting and Revitalization”, took place in Santiago de Chile, from April 3 to 6, 2019 as a gathering of around 100 leaders from more than 10 countries. The conference was put on in partnership between the Anglican Church of Chile, the Anglican Church in Brazil, the Anglican Church in North America and the Gafcon church planting network.
Bishops, pastors, lay ministers and participants arrived from Panama, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina and Chile and shared a time loaded with passion, joy, unity and vision, welcoming practical tools and resources to take back with us to our different contexts.
Through plenary meetings, morning bible studies, workshops and presentations, we discovered different church planting and revitalization models, relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and depending on God more than set programs.
As a result, more than 30 people have made a commitment to start a process of planting new churches, 10 have shown interest in becoming cross-cultural missionaries and others have joined intercession and communication teams!
Also with great joy, the new album of Adoremos Juntos (United Adoration) was also released during the conference. It includes songs in English, Spanish and Portuguese which were written by latino Anglican worship leaders and songwriters from throughout the Americas at previous Caminemos Juntos conferences. You can hear the songs and download the lyrics and chords here: www.unitedadoration.com/adoremos-juntos/ These original missional songs are being sung throughout the Americas and serve to mobilize the Latino church and the global church more broadly toward mission.
The most relevant topics shared were those related to church planting, revitalization and developing new leaders through intentional discipleship and formal training. One encouraging testimony shared was that of 27 new churches that have been planted in Brazil in these past 13 years.
Two models of church planting were presented: The Spontaneous Planting Model (Brazil) and the Deep Planting Model (Chile) both offering similar characteristics regarding the required process needed. The key is to train disciples who will make new disciples. Each require time and training; prayer (including prayer walks); showing God's love in practical ways and engaging in new friendships. In summary what is required is to living a missionary lifestyle! We were encouraged to change from inviting people to church or church activities / meetings. Instead today the challenge is to meet the people where they are and start discovery bible study groups were they gather (houses, coffee shops, places of work, etc.). It's time to mobilize our churches, unleash lay leadership and boost collaborative team work.
Many workshops were offered, all with a vibrant and practical focus: Equipping and Forming Leaders, Campus Ministry, Women's Ministry, Church Planting and "Semillero" / CEP (Chilean training programs). The conference ended with a communion and commissioning service.
For those of us who travelled from Argentina, it was a great blessing to be there. We came back to our country renewed in our faith, encouraged and full of practical tools to apply in our local churches.
These are some of the comments we received:
"It was a wonderful gathering where we've been taught and equipped by the Holy Spirit to revitalize God's church. We were given good tools and testimonies for church plantation. Thank God for this gift!" Andy Lenton - pastor.
"Each conference of Caminemos Juntos is different, but the expectation of hearing God's voice is always the same! Each devotional, plenary meeting, workshop and time of praise and worship has been totally enriching. Sharing with brothers and sisters from different countries and learning about what God is doing is so encouraging. I can't wait for the next conference!" Adrián Torres - lay minister.
"A lovely time packed with learning and sharing. We've come back renewed, inspired, with new ideas, contacts and more challenges ahead. We must continue working together as an Anglican family in unity and growth, walking together!" Andy Del Bueno - lay minister.
We look forward to gathering again soon! The next conference of Caminemos Juntos Américas, will take place next year in Brazil in September or October of 2020.
Sylvine Macdonald lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina and together with her husband Adrian is a member of the Caminemos Juntos Embassador Team, one of the leadership teams tasked with providing vision and direction for the movement.