Costa Rica 2017 Snapshot
by Jeffrey Smith
Though the Vineyard churches of Costa Rica were released as their own AVC in 2008, both U.S. and Costa Rican Vineyards continue to partner for long-term growth and sustainability. Leaders on both sides of the partnership would like to see in the next five years a significant increase in the number of maturing young leaders that are helping to advance the work of the Kingdom in Costa Rica and 50% growth in the number of Vineyard churches in Costa Rica through church planting. There are currently 10 established Vineyards in Costa Rica and 5 new church plants. We are watching for the Holy Spirit as He moves among those maturing young leaders and looking for new church planters.
We currently have four Indiana-based local churches that make up the U.S. side of the Costa Rica Partnership, and our hope is that we see several more U.S. Vineyard churches join the partnership and jump into the far-reaching work God is doing in Costa Rica.
The biggest challenge we face is the need for more people to come forward and answer the call to plant these churches God has given us vision for. The second biggest challenge is financial resources to aid with equipping and encouraging the pastors in the field as well as those who desire to be involved in planting new churches. It has been a personal blessing to me and other leaders to see Vineyard pastors in Central America start working together to advance the Kingdom in their region, and this has been primarily due to the vision and efforts of Carlos Chacon and Elmer Rojas, the leaders of the Vineyard movement in Costa Rica. As a result, the work the partnership is doing in Costa Rica is impacting all of Central America!
My favorite thing about Costa Rica is the people that we work with and have come to know. I am encouraged by the relationship that I have developed with Carlos Chacon and Elmer Rojas over the last fifteen years, and by the zeal that they and their families have for Jesus and the advancement of His Kingdom.
I recently read Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazzero and recommend it for challenging leaders to the next level. A book that I am presently reading that is very good is the The Hesed Factor – And the Parables of Jesus by Keith Hueftle. Keith is a friend of mine who has done extensive research on the original meaning of the Hebrew word hesed (meaning: grace). Hueftle reveals that hesed is packed with a much deeper and richer meaning than just being the favor of God, or God’s loving kindness, as translated in our Bibles. (This book is only available through our bookstore in Evansville, Indiana. Call (812) 479-8777 to order.)