Things are slowly moving forward for Todd and the rest of the team involved in the national alliance for church multiplication in Panama. As the national team leaders for Cru Panama, Todd, and his wife have spearheaded efforts since August 2022. Their previous experience as Global Church Movement leaders in Panama allowed them to establish connections in GACX, eventually leading to the alliance’s launch, despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.
Key leaders of this national alliance include Cru Panama, Evangelical Alliance of Panama, Movement Panama, City to City Panama, GACX, NGPA, and 4 Local Churches from Veracruz, the target area. Together, they develop a comprehensive strategy to guide their efforts and achieve tangible change.
Recently, Todd and his wife had the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree through GACX member Global Academy of Transformational Leadership (GATL), which they completed in April 2023. Todd’s focus for his master’s thesis centered on achieving social and spiritual transformation within a specific target area, utilizing a partnership platform similar to GACX. He was inspired to see change through the expansion of the Gospel and to foster unity among the various stakeholders and organizations involved in Panama.
Organizations and churches are abundant in Panama, but the challenge is to encourage unity and avoid redundancy in organizational efforts. Todd wrote a Target Area Transformation Strategy (TATS), which involves focusing on a smaller area like Veracruz, Panama, to develop best practices that will expand to apply to a larger scope. The objective is to apply principles that will address critical issues, like crime rates, and needs, like church growth, relying on the power of the Gospel to bring transformation.
In an April meeting with the key leaders, Todd presented the TATS, and the leaders wholeheartedly embraced the proposal and entrusted him with the role of the project director. Each organization has been assigned a specific role within the strategy.
The alliance hosted a follow-up meeting in Veracruz in late May, gathering with the 24 churches in the area. While they have the vision to start new churches in the future, their first focus is to foster long-term impact with the already established churches. During the meeting, there was a workshop focusing on forgiveness and reconciliation to encourage unity among the pastors in the area. Todd summarizes, “Around ninety pastors and leaders attended. Reconciliation began as some of these estranged pastors began to approach each other, and conversations of healing have begun among some of them.”
At the end of the workshop, seven churches in Veracruz decided to join the team and agreed to the TATS. On June 24, 2023, there was a meeting with the key team leaders, local teachers, health workers, pastors, Christians, and non-Christians in Veracruz to gain a deeper understanding of the realities and needs of the area. This meeting focused on motivating local involvement while acknowledging the contributions already being made by individuals in Veracruz. A formal update from the meeting will be written in the next article.
Based on the insights gathered, the alliance will develop a report and proposal, combining the information from the field with extensive research to update the TATS. They will then invite additional ministries and GACX members to help implement the TATS.
Todd concludes by saying, “I am thoroughly convinced through this experience that God can and does use missional strategies to bring church health to the forefront at the same time as Kingdom expansion work. The two go hand-in-hand.”