Right from the start, we said that we were planting congregations not simply splitting our service into two services. Why did we say this?
First of all, we were making a statement about our intentions. We didn’t want to just split a service in half because it was a necessary evil. We were saying that we did not want to do it once and hope that was that. Rather, our intention was that this would become a way of life for the church that if God grew a congregation then the natural thing to do would be to plant out and multiply. This might result in other congregations meeting at the Chapel or it might lead to us planting elsewhere or even helping an existing church with revitalisation.
Secondly, we wanted to encourage each congregation to take a much responsibility for itself as possible. We saw this as a way of involving people in decision making and encouraging the growth of new leaders.
We recognised that different congregations could take on their own identity with different styles and ways of doing things. This was not about offering consumer choice for people to pick and choose based on preference, rather we acknowledged that people do have different needs. Also we did not want to divide by age or ethnicity. All ages are welcome at our meetings though we may cater for children differently at each, The Saturday evening congregation use Spanish as the primary language but as with all of our meetings, they seek to welcome all nations. As well as people form different parts of South America, we also have Eastern Europeans, Portuguese and English people attending that gathering.
Each congregation has its own leadership team who are responsible for the pastoral care of the congregation. Whilst we allow for variety across the congregations we insist that there are some value that should be held in common including:
Holding a commitment to expository Bible teaching
Keeping focused on Gospel outreach
Being contemporary with a healthy respect for tradition
Welcoming all ages and being family friendly