Three Generations of Church Plants Grow
This is a God-sized story about three generations of church plants: one established, one growing, and one just getting started.
Kent (Wash.) Spanish Church was one of six new church plants between 2012 and 2016. In four years, it grew from 37 members to 150 members using a small group and door-to-door neighborhood church growth model.
When this congregation grew from “company” to full church status in October 2016, the leaders committed to planting a new Spanish-speaking church in Auburn, Wash. And they did!
“We were a little surprised at how many Hispanics we met in Auburn as we knocked on doors,” remembers Francisco Brito, Kent Spanish Church pastor.
Brito arranged for four Adventist families and their new community friends to meet in the gymnasium at Buena Vista Seventh-day Adventist School in Auburn for about six months. The group kept growing, and soon they rented a hotel meeting room for church services and then another location in Auburn.
“Each Sabbath, we told the congregation, ‘We’ll tell you where we will gather next week,’” Brito recounts. “It was our desert experience.”
The small group of believers kept praying and looking for a church home and finally found an ideal, flexible and large enough location near downtown Auburn.
“We went right to work with permission to grow,” Brito says. “Each Sabbath, we have an average attendance of 100. We have 18–20 children, 30 young adults and 50–60 adults who regularly worship with us.”
The congregation has active ministries for men, women and children. The members are committed to Adventist Christian education, and many have their children in an Adventist school for the first time. Small groups are quite active, and neighborhood outreach strongly continues. The church family celebrated 20 baptisms in 2018.
“We are happy with what God is doing,” Brito says. “This is a healthy church where people feel comfortable inviting their friends. They feel loved here.”
Washington Conference recognized Auburn Spanish Company on Dec. 1, 2018.
“This is a season to keep growing, serving God and sharing in the community,” Doug Bing, Washington Conference president, told the congregation. “Be joy-givers to everyone you encounter in the community.”
Auburn Spanish Company could be satisfied with their current level of church growth, but they aren’t. Beyond 20 friends who are active in small groups and Bible studies, the church’s monthly involvement in a community homeless feeding program, and dynamic prayer meetings on Tuesday nights, Auburn Spanish leaders have bigger dreams.
Across the atrium from the sanctuary at their rental church is a perfectly sized chapel. The dream: to start an English-speaking young-adult church plant.
“We saw how our young adults were not connecting as well with the services in Spanish, and we wanted to offer them a way to be involved in ministry,” Brito explains.
On the same day as the company formation for Auburn Spanish, the young adult leaders invited Washington Conference leaders to join them for a prayer of dedication and hope.
Pioneering young adult leaders will be meeting throughout January 2019 to pick a name, define their ministry and pray together about partnering with God.