Global Faithfulness

Certain moments have a profound impact on how are we view fruitfulness and faithfulness. I remember during the first year of Downline, it was March 2007 and we were preparing to take a team to El Salvador. Kennon Vaughan, JB Selecman, Danny Hinton, and I were meeting with Herb Hodges over breakfast at McDonald’s to discuss the upcoming trip. As we eagerly talked about what this trip would look like, Herb, a veteran of more than 180 trips at the time, paused and reminded us that we go for “one man.” Meaning that while we pray for many if one man is truly faithful to the heart of the Great Commission to make disciples, the trip would be a great success. That statement has impacted the way I understand our role globally ever since. And little did I know that the one faithful man we prayed for that day would be the Senior Pastor of one of the largest churches in El Salvador.
After five days of discipleship training with Oasis de Gracia Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador, Pastor Mauricio Barrientos humbly stood before his congregation repenting of not being faithful to make disciples and committed to making disciples. At the time Mauricio had led his church to plant seven more churches and to start several Christian schools. By most measures, he had a very fruitful ministry, but he realized that they were not making mature disciples who could reproduce. So after three years of going to train leaders in El Salvador, we entrusted their leadership to continue the work of making disciples.
Over the last 14 years, Mauricio has trained pastors to make disciples, planted more than 20 churches, and sent out several missionaries all over the world. So when he asked if we would come back and re-train the church and pastors, I was honored. He was concerned about some drift from the mission of making disciples had occurred.
So in September of 2019, we took a team of seven to lead a discipleship conference, a marriage conference, and a pastors training session. While Mauricio graciously thanked us for bringing the training, it was our team that was so encouraged by a man faithful to make disciples. Mauricio has discipled so many people including over 30 pastors who serve throughout El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and the Middle East. Now in his 70’s, Mauricio is in the process of transitioning his church to the next pastor. A man he has personally discipled for over 15 years and is focusing his ministry of continuing the discipleship of the pastors. The team was so inspired by Mauricio’s humility to ask for more training to encourage the churches to remain faithful to make disciples and his example of seeking to finish well. As we minister, it is easy to drift from our primary calling to make disciples. I pray that we will all be humble enough to pursue others to encourage us and to be faithful to Jesus returns or calls us home.