Each time I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with a church leader in the developing world I’ve come away with a nugget of leadership “gold”. This week’s visit to Quito, Ecuador was no exception.
The golden nugget this time? In pursuit of a vision that God gives us, we ought to focus on the “what”; let God take care of the “how”.
Traveling with our partners at Compassion Canada, we spent time at a local church in Quito, connecting with their founding pastor, and very quickly I was absorbing powerful leadership insights from this humble, effective church leader.
He established the church in 2003 with a small group of members, which grew to about 120 people. The church is located in one of the poorest areas of Quito. With alcoholism and drug abuse rampant, the government has designated the area a “red zone”; an official designation indicating extreme crime and poverty.
But in the face of this challenging ministry environment, God gave this pastor a vision.
“God told us, ‘I want you to feed the children in this neighbourhood.’ And I just thought, ‘How am I going to do that?’”
But he lived out the leadership principle of bringing God the “what”, feeding children. He trusted God to lead him into the “how”; the means, resources, and strategy.
During this time, he became aware of the work of Compassion, and approached them about bringing Compassion to their church in order to care for these neighbourhood children.
A Compassion project, he learned, required space enough for 150 children to meet. Their space was simply too small.
Not only did this development open the door to the Compassion project, but a nearby Compassion project had been forced to close, meaning that an additional 150 children would come to their church, a total of 300 children.
“Today our church is more than 600 people, including children. But more important is how the community is changing. As children started to be impacted by our church, many of their families have started to join us as well. They are leaving their addictions and turning to Christ.”
Now, a new opportunity has appeared. “The government appreciates our work and has asked us to take over a nearby daycare. That’s about 50 new families we can serve. We don’t have the space, but we’ve learned that God is faithful.”
So, what will they do?
With a smile he added, “I think it’s time to plant a second church.”
That’s what can happen when we focus on the “what”, and let God take care of the “how”.