Baptists Plan Evangelistic Drive into Cuba

Baptist conventions in Cuba are preparing to launch dual evangelistic drives to expand their mission works in the northern Caribbean country, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has reported.

The "explosion of growth" is planned by the Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba reaching out to half a million people by 2010. This movement will be complemented by the Baptist Convention of Western Cuba, which has set a target to plant 1,000 new house churches over the same period.

At the centre of the movement will be the strategy of 'cell group ministry', which it is hoped will allow the conventions to reach out more widely and penetrate more deeply into the regions.

Cell groups will operate within designated zones where they will independently plan and establish evangelism outreach ministries.

The BWA has reported that this approach has already proved successful, with one congregation being able to reach out to 2000 people. One leader in the western convention has described this success as "typical".

The Cuban Baptist leader, who requested to remain anonymous, explained to the BWA the distinct difference in the modern approach to mission as opposed to traditional methods used in the past: "We used to think people should come and we would make disciples. Now, we are going into our towns and villages and reaching people to make disciples."

In an interview with the BWA, the Baptist leader testified: "These are very exciting times for the church in Cuba. The church was very small and struggling.

"Many pastors left. It was very rare to see a conversion or baptism. We couldn't repair our buildings - we had no money, no materials and no people in the church that could do the work. But in these last 10 years or so, the church has grown - it has grown a lot."

The BWA, of which the two conventions are members, has had a historic influence in the country since 2000, when a BWA delegation met with the Cuban Government to agree a deal allowing the distribution of Bibles into the country.

[Source: BWA]

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