Location: Quito, Ecuador
Encounter Start: 1984
– First “Encounter with God” Church in Ecuador
– Has planted 4 daughter churches since 1994
– Garnered national attention for outreach to Quito’s street children
– 1,000 seat worship center
– Chapel and church offices
– Christian Education classrooms
In the 25 years since it began implementing Encounter with God, the El Batán Church has developed into one of the most dynamic and influential churches in Ecuador.
The church is impacting people at all levels of Ecuadorian society from the poorest of the poor to leaders of industry—from prostitutes on the street to leaders of the nation.
The powerful outreach of the church is providing help to those in need and care to those shunned by society. Such outreaches strengthen Batán’s witness and testimony, increasing opportunities for advancing the gospel in highly influential ways. Efforts to help prostitutes and their children escape the bondage of their profession garnered the attention and recognition of the mayor of Quito.
The church’s outreach with street children has garnered local and national attention. The ministry began as a simple weekly soup kitchen for children living on the Quito streets. But sensing a call for a more holistic ministry that would provide lasting impact, Batán partnered with the City of Quito to develop the “Life Option” Center – a rescue center located in the city’s central park. The program has been featured on television and in newspapers and was even visited by the President of Ecuador in 2008. Batán is now working toward a long range goal of developing an orphanage and educational center for these children in an area outside the city.
“The Church must have this kind of presence,” says Senior Pastor Luis Estevez, “because we have the solutions. But the Church MUST have a good testimony. We must realize that we’re in the midst of a battle and each member must have a good testimony so that the Church earns the right to speak to its society.”
For this reason, evangelism and discipleship are central convictions for El Batán. In a nation filled with poverty, corruption and crime, the El Batán Church understands that transforming its nation can only occur through the power of the Holy Spirit transforming the lives of individual people.
As such, the church’s outreach efforts maintain a clear focus on evangelism. The gospel is continually proclaimed at every opportunity. It is this evangelistic focus that has led to the church’s significant growth. One survey found that 58% of those attending El Batán had been believers for less than 5 years and an astounding 87% had been believers for less than 10!
Yet the church has not only grown internally, but externally as well. Since 1994, El Batán has daughtered four churches. The first daughter church, La República, began in July 1994. The second, known as Cumbayá, began in October 1999. The third, known as the Valle de los Chillos Church, started in July 2003. The fourth—the Puembo Church—launched in October 2010. All four churches are following the pattern of their mother church and furthering the impact of the gospel in Quito.
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