Pastor Adalberto Herrera, of Cali, Columbia’s 12,000 member Iglesia del Nazareno Casa de Oracion (Church of the Nazarene House of Prayer) was the featured speaker last night at CFC as we hosted the 2010 Virginia District Assembly for the Church of the Nazarene. That’s right, 12,000 people. Each Sunday morning, they serve 12,000 people throughout five services. That’s not the half of it: they have 3,000 people praying each Tuesday at 4am.
Every Wednesday, they have a prayer service in which the attendance is 5,000.
When this small-statured and humble gentleman began his pastorate at this church, he began with 15 people. Well, not exactly. The previous pastor had 15, but that man also drove a van and picked up ten folks each Sunday. Pastor Herrera didn’t have a car, so in his first Sunday service, attendance was only five. He slowly grew the church… very slowly. He grew to 38 and stayed between 37 and 38 for several years, because, he said with a smile, we would win one to the Lord, but someone would die each year. “We would win one; we would lose one.”
But this man knows something about church growth because he now has the largest Nazarene church in the world. He explained how the early church grew, pulling principles from Acts 6, and showing the difference between believers and disciples. Do a study on vv. 1-7 and you’ll find those principles. But I want to talk about one thing that Pastor Herrera said:
“Believers sit in pews; disciples produce fruit.”
For Pastor Herrera, this helped him understand the growth of the early church and the growth explosion in his church amidst the drug cartels in Cali, Columbia. As he discipled his early converts, he saw that they brought others into the church. As those people were discipled and taught the way of Christ, others were converted. But it took disciples. It took those who showed who Christ was through their daily lives, their daily contacts, and their “everyday, ordinary life—(their) sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life”, as Romans 12:1 says in The Message®. That’s discipleship.
So, are you a believer… or a disciple?