by Nate Johnson
Last week, I had the privilege of being in Bercy, Haiti with Lifesong for Orphans. At Summit Church, we are blessed to partner with 38 different ministries across the world through our Xpansion ministry, and Lifesong is one of those partners. Xpansion is a critical part of the mission at Summit Church, because we believe that God’s mission is not only for SWFL, but for our state, nation and world. Xpansion keeps us as a body of Christ focused on God’s mission outside of us.
Bercy, Haiti has a population of approximately 10,000 and is much like other villages in the beautiful country of Haiti. One difference from Bercy to other area of Haiti, is that it is quickly becoming an example of how a community can change a result of intentional gospel ministry.
Through Summit’s partnership with Sojourn Network we have had the opportunity to partner with 2 other churches to own the lostness of Bercy, Haiti with the goal of giving Every Man, Woman and Child in Bercy repeated opportunities to see, hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus. And the wonderful thing about the existing strategy is that these opportunities are coming through Haitian churches, and not through the Americans who come for a week and leave.
Over the last 2 years, Summit has been working with Pleasant Valley Community Church in Owensboro Kentucky, and The Avenue Church in West Palm Beach Florida to find a pastoral team to lead a church planting movement in Bercy Haiti. A year ago, we were able to find Pastor Octavian (pictured below with myself and Jim Hines) who is now on the grounds in Bercy equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. Not only is Pastor Octavian doing a great job equipping the saints, he is also doing a great job understanding the needs of the community and partnering with other pastors and churches in Bercy to meet those needs. And this is where Summit, Pleasant Valley and The Avenue Church get to help.
Over the past 12 months with Pastor Octavien’s help, we have been able to develop an intentional process to care for and equip local Haitian pastors for gospel centered ministry. Last week, Summit led a pastoral training conference with 40 Haitian Pastors from Port au Prince, Cabaret, Bercy and Las Cayes. We were able to envision these pastors from Ephesians 2-4 on the Nature and Purpose of the Church, helping them see who the Church is, why it exists, what a healthy church looks like, and what biblical leadership looks like. We saw pastors from all four of these areas of Haiti praying together, talking about their community’s needs and getting a deeper understanding of how the gospel of Jesus is the only solution to the problems plaguing Haiti.
In June, The Avenue Church will do a follow up training with these 40 pastors teaching them from scripture what it means to equip the the saints out of an overflow of their intimacy with God, and discussing how important the pastors devotion and character is. Then in October, Pleasant Valley will spend two days training on important theological topics that are critical for these pastors to not only understand, but for them to teach to their members.
So, why Haiti? And why Bercy, Haiti?
5 years ago, Summit adopted Bercy Haiti as a specific geography that we could intentionally invest time, money and energy into in order to own the lostness of every man, woman and child, giving them repeated opportunities to see, hear and respond to the gospel. This village is special, not because we are engaged there, but because there are gospel centered Haitian churches doing amazing work there, and Summit gets the opportunity to come alongside of them to encourage and support them in this mission. Bercy, Haiti is full of 10,000 Haitians and has 5 gospel-centered churches alive in the village. Our prayer is that through intentional prayer, training and encouragement these 5 churches will own the lostness of these 10,000 Haitians and multiply over time in order to see Bercy saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bercy, Haiti is also where Lifesong for Orphans is present. Mike & Amy Rivas are Americans on the ground in Bercy living this mission and equipping Haitian leaders to develop sustainable businesses for job creation, schools for education, orphan care and church advancement. Lifesong has a gospel centered focus along with holistic strategies and sustainable methods that are focused on raising in up and investing in indigenous leaders so that Bercy Haiti is changed by the gospel. To see more about the ministry of Lifesong, visit their website here.
Thank you Summit Church for your continued pursuit of God and his mission, not only in SWFL, but throughout the world. Your investment in Bercy, Haiti is a picture of the vision God has given Summit to multiply disciples, leaders, churches and gospel influence in order that God would be glorified as every man, woman and child has repeated opportunities to see, hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus.