Candelaria’s 17-years old (and it shows)
As I shared a couple weeks ago, I am incredibly encouraged with the New Season of life New Song has entered into. Every part of our mission is in this New Season. But today, I want to highlight what that New Season looks like for the church in Candelaria – Canto Nuevo.
In 2002, there was no (human) plan to start a mission. Just intentions to assist a local pastor (and his wife) plant a church in one community.
That community is Candelaria where our current mission base (and oldest church) are located. The Candelaria church (and mission we didn’t know we were starting) just had her 17th birthday!
In our first Friday of August Staff and Pastor meeting, I said:
“this church (and the mission) is 17 years old,
and she looks and acts like it.”
A few shook their heads (yes), others laughed, but everyone’s eyes were open and curious what I’d say next. I was also intrigued by my comment, because it honestly just came out. It didn’t leave my lips in frustration, or with intentions to condescend; just blunt Truth. And for a split second, I also wondered “what am I going to say next?”
The good news is, I didn’t have to think or even miss a beat. I don’t think anyone in the room actually knew it had taken me by surprise because everything that followed was well thought out and inspired by something far greater than myself. The Spirit took over and encouraged me and others with the following metaphorical elaboration.
“Think about it, all of you were once seventeen, and many of you have kids that are (or are close to seventeen) now. Seventeen year olds are selfish, egocentric thinkers and doers. Seeking their own ways and benefits before (and usually only) any third party. Wanting and getting, seeking handouts and putting the minimal (if any) effort into serving and giving (achieving) for themselves, and far less others. They are hard to work with, and frustrate you as leaders. Cliquish and catty more often than not. In a single word: immature.”
Now I know that doesn’t sound like the most encouraging and exhorting metaphor, but everyone was agreeing and listening so intently. And the Spirit was not done, and in half a breath after saying “immature” the Life-Giving spill came out:
“But, seventeen is a great age, it is a hinge age. The immaturity from birth through teenage years is passing away. Right on the verge of becoming an adult, and what was just days earlier immature, is maturing right before our eyes! Responsibility and being seen (and respected) as an independent. Genuine interest and concern for others before self and serving in grace and love – making room for faults and growth together. A humility that you didn’t strive for, but in maturity happened; and now, a way has been made for unity. You have strength in numbers because now you are accepting and growing. Brothers and sisters the growth is coming, the fruit is coming. We are going to be turning eighteen, and I see it through music, dance, drama, and servant leadership that has grown up in last couple months. I know you pastors and administrators can be frustrated and discouraged, but preserve this year, this year is going to have fruit from all these previous years. No one turns 18 in a day; there is a day we turn 18, but it takes 17 years & 364 days to get there!”
Every single person in the room was saying amen, clapping, and nodding their head with trust and motivation. Each person expounded on what they see this looking like in their community and their church. I was encouraged, and especially for Pastor Joel and his leadership in the Candelaria church.
Canto Nuevo Church – has always been so different than our other five churches. Our mission base is located on the church property, and American culture influence & support has given this church its share of good and bad. More than six pastors have led (or tried to lead) some with, and others without, pastoral leadership qualities and callings.
New visitors or members have felt the cliquish division (and unwelcoming distance) stunting any real growth. But somewhere during, and through, May – July 2019 there is a brand new feel for (and in) this church. The current pastor has been here for two years and the congregation has warmed up enough to accept, trust, and follow him.
Our oldest church (and most difficult church to date) is also the congregation with the most diversity in areas of discipleship and growth. Please read more about the soon to be mature 18-year old daughter of whom I could not be more proud. I am excited to see her blossom in this coming year. Canto Nuevo Church is maturing through:
Youth Outreach – Sunday School – Women’s Ministry
Counseling – Drama – Dance – Tutoring – Visits – Music
Thank you for praying for (and with) us and all the fruit God has for His church in Candelaria. Continue to follow our New Season posts on the blog and at the New Song Mission Nicaragua Facebook page.
With lots of Love,