Tue, Aug 9, 2011
After the conference in Manzanillo, I had an opportunity to speak with the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Manzanillo. He told me that the church is over 100 years old and has 385 members meeting in a building that can hold about 400.
First Baptist is one of ten Baptist churches in the city of Manzanillo. The district in which they work stretches 170 kilometres along the western coast and is made up of 7 municipalities. In this part of Cuba, there are 34 Baptist churches (10 of these are in Manzanillo). The size of these fellowships ranges from 60-400 members each.
There are also 48 Baptist church plants in the district. These church plants function as a church but are not yet recognized by the Eastern Baptist Convention as independent churches. The goal is to see each of these church plants become a recognized church.
The Eastern Baptist Church recognizes 207 prayer cells meeting in the district. The goal is to have these prayer cells become church plants and eventually independent churches.
The Manzanillo district has 22 pastors for the 34 churches and 48 church plants. They are assisted by 68 full time Cuban missionaries. The pastor of First Baptist told me that to date this year the region has seen 400 people come to Christ.
It is little wonder I feel compelled to tell them when I speak that I should be the one sitting in the pew and they should be teaching me.