Starting a new Baptist church in a foreign country is significantly more complicated that in the United States. We started having Bible studies in our home in 2015, with the goal of starting a new church when we had enough people coming to our meetings, but after a few weeks we discovered that the people who were visiting our home preferred to go to a “church” not our home for meetings. We didn’t have the opportunity to change our method in 2015, because we had to return to the USA to raise more support.
In January of 2017 we returned to Ecuador, and for the last few weeks we have been praying and looking for a location for a new church plant. After talking, and praying with a local pastor whom we work with on a regular basis, we all together chose a particular neighborhood for our new work.
Now that we had chosen a neighborhood for our church plant, we began the search for a storefront to rent. I have budgeted $200 per month for rent. Two hundred dollars may not be a lot of money by American standards, but it represents 50% of our total monthly ministry budget. We should be able to rent a 1,000 to 1,500 square foot storefront for this amount of money.
To import hymnals for a new church plant is not a possibility for us. The cost of purchasing 100 hymnals would be about $5,000, because of shipping and import duty. So I am creating a song book that will contain 80 to 100 songs. I can print the song books for about a dollar a piece. I am also using my computer to create the music for the songs because we don’t yet have anyone who play music. I can however, create the music we need as mp3 audio files we can use to play music through an amplifier I already have. It’s a clever way to have church music on a budget.
Here you can see an example of the sheet music I have been writing on my computer, and an example of the musical file it creates. Its not the best solution, but it will certainly do the job until God brings a musician to our new church.