On Sunday, January 29, 2017, CMI and the Norte Church in Quito, Ecuador broke ground on a worship center with capacity for 900 people. In traditional Ecuadorian fashion, the start of construction was marked by the placement of the “Primera Piedra” or “First Stone.” As a sign of its commitment to be founded on the Word of God, Norte Senior Pastor Javier Silva placed a copy of the Bible inside a compartment in the stone block.
In just five years, the Norte Church has become one of the leading evangelical churches in Quito. During that time the congregation has grown from 250 to more than 1,100 people and regularly sees 40-60 people come to faith in any given month. More than 350 adults are enrolled in the church’s intensive 4-year Bible Academy discipleship program.
The new worship center will eventually replace a large tent that the church has used since moving to its permanent location in 2014. Dubbed the “Tabernacle,” the tent seats 425 people and requires three services each Sunday to accommodate all those attending.
On hand for the groundbreaking were CMI Executive Director Craig Murray, Latin America Regional Director Ricardo Diaz, Quito Administrative Coordinator Inge Lise Valencia and CMI Board Member Bob Smith and his wife Holly.
In his comments at the ceremony, Craig Murray shared how the dream for this day did not begin with the founding of the church. The dream began more than 12 years ago when CMI and three Quito churches birthed a vision to saturate the city of Quito with dynamic churches committed to the gospel and to discipleship.
Norte is the sixth Encounter with God church in Quito and the first “granddaughter” congregation in the movement. It is the fourth Quito Encounter church to launch construction on a worship center capable of seating 900 or more.
In the next five years, Norte plans to complete the worship center, add two additional floors to its Christian Education building, secure additional parking and launch its first daughter church.