The specific challenges for evangelicals are substantial, but indicate a wealth of opportunity more than an overwhelming threat.
a) Unity. The Evangelical Fraternity of Mexico (CONEMEX) works to strengthen unity, deal with the government and sponsor important events. A Pentecostal fellowship also exists to bring together the millions of Pentecostals. There needs to be a more effective strategic partnership among mission agencies. Large-scale events such as the March for Jesus/March of Glory as well as nationwide prayer movements are drawing believers together, but much more could be done.
b) Discipleship and biblical commitment are great needs, since many families are split by brokenness or geography. Many are first generation believers and have only a very superficial understanding of their faith. Commitment needs to extend to giving – few pastors and missionaries are adequately supported and therefore must work bivocationally to survive. This especially affects poorer churches in rural areas and urban slums.
c) Leadership training is the key to the future health of the Church. There are well over 100 Protestant Bible schools and seminaries training thousands of future leaders at all levels, from indigenous primary-level language to degree-awarding schools, as well as numerous TEE programmes. Pray that spiritual depth, evangelistic vision and sound teaching may be imparted to the students. Doctrinal shallowness, error and moral and personal relationship breakdowns impair the growth of the Church. Pray also for the provision of godly pastors for poor rural and urban slum congregations; most prospective pastors seek a more “successful” placement.
d) Development of a missions vision. Sending of missionaries by the Mexican Church has developed rapidly, but awareness of “people group thinking” needs to grow in the churches. An increasing number of congregations send and support missionaries. COMIMEX provides a nationwide umbrella linking most agencies, national and international, and involved denominations. COMIMEX operates through 13 departments (focusing on issues such as mobilization, prayer and member care) and three networks (churches, sending structures and training institutions). Significant international agencies have been birthed in Mexico, such as PMI, with its involvement in the Muslim world. There may be as many as 1,200 Mexican evangelical missionaries with over 50 agencies. The majority of them serve abroad, with increasing numbers in the 10/40 Window.
e) The evangelical approach to money and finance needs wisdom, maturity and balance. Many Protestants, and Mexicans in general, have only recently begun to emerge from poverty. The traditional humble material possessions of Mexican evangelicals now combine with recent economic growth, the influence of US-style prosperity gospel and the very public salvation of a number of high profile and successful Mexican businessmen and media figures. Pray for a release of finances into Kingdom work; pray also for the right biblical perspective on how to handle issues of money.
Persecution of evangelicals occurs in certain parts of Mexico. In general, acceptance of Protestants is higher in recent years as their profile increases. But in the southern states, particularly Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero, believers face prejudice, harassment, evictions and church and property damage. This mostly occurs due to believers’ refusal to participate in community religious events that involve traditional Christo-pagan practices. Pray that the believers may demonstrate the meekness and love of their Saviour when maltreated. Pray also for full implementation of religious freedom at both national and local levels.