The Circle of Silence in Mexico
A Shout in the Circle of Silence
Brother Artemio preaching the Gospel
In the last national census conducted in the year 2000, about 6% of Mexicans identified themselves as “Evangelicals”. Of course, this percentage fluctuates greatly from place to place. In some parts of the country, the percentage is over 10%! However, there are other parts among the Spanish speaking of Mexico where the percentage is much lower. Click here to see the millions we are reaching!
There is a section in the central western part of the country where less than 2% identified themselves as evangelical believers! It is a section composed of 6 states that share a common border. This part of the country has been identified by missiologists as “The Circle of Silence”, being named such because the influence of the Gospel has been largely silent there. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has not seriously or sufficiently penetrated this area of the country and many are much more engulfed in Catholic tradition than in other parts of Mexico, causing them to be much more suspicious of “other religions” and outside missionary influence.
The percentage of believers within the “Circle of Silence” also differs from place to place. Some small cities are dotted with a
sufficient number of evangelical churches that can reach their areas with the Gospel. However, other places lack churches altogether, or have such a small number amidst the population that it’s just a drop in the ocean. Many congregations are very weak, lack training in Biblical doctrine, and are anemic when it comes to evangelism and outreach. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in this region of Mexico.
The largest city within this region, Guadalajara, is actually the second largest city in Mexico. The population of the city and the surrounding urban area numbers well over 9 million people. Many of these people come from surrounding areas, including from the highlands of Jalisco, where in many places the evangelical population is known to be just a few among a thousand. Therefore Guadalajara is strategically located as the urban center of the “Circle of Silence” and by dedicating our evangelistic efforts to penetrating the city with the Gospel, we will inevitably influence the surrounding areas. Even though there are many Christian churches in Guadalajara, if you average them out among the number of the population as a whole, you find that there is still a tremendous need to plant churches in the city. The common people just aren’t being reached by the churches.
There’s still many people who haven’t heard the biblical Gospel and the only “gospel” they’ve heard is the “gospel” of the Catholic Eucharist which is never sufficient to save sinners completely and forever. Furthermore, many of the “Christian” churches are more of a shame to Christianity than a help to it. False doctrines permeate many churches, such as the “prosperity gospel” and false ideas of what true conversion is. On top of that, not everyone who identifies themselves as “evangelical” actually holds to essential Christian beliefs. For instance, the “Apostolics” (Oneness Pentecostals) have a huge influence within Guadalajara and in some areas outnumber the real evangelicals. Yet their “gospel” is that you must be baptized in water to be saved, and that in the name of “Jesus only”, and you must also speak in tongues, or else you’re not born again. They also dogmatically deny the Trinity which is an essential, biblical, historic Christian belief. So even among the “evangelicals” many are false and preach adulterated ideas. Other cults also have a tremendous influence here, including the Jehovah-Witnesses, Mormons, Luz del Mundo, and Seventh Day Adventists. Yet even so, the vast majority still identify themselves as Roman Catholics.
But in spite of this shocking reality, and in the face of the spread of such innumerable counterfeit ways to God, the true people of God need to take a stand and launch out in holy boldness to penetrate Guadalajara with the Gospel. We must not be cowards. We must not back off and let the Devil inoculate the masses with his deadly poison without challenge. Where is our jealousy for the name and glory of our God? Where is our passion for the One whose passion caused His blood to be poured out to wash away our sins? We must stand up and proclaim Jesus Christ!
That is what we’re doing, by the grace of God. Our strategy is simple: PREACH THE GOSPEL!
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God… For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Cor. 1:18, 21)
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). Even though the hearts of men are hard, even though the nature of man is totally depraved and in bondage to sin, there is a glorious power in the Gospel which liberates men from the prison of their iniquity that they may serve God in truth. As the Gospel is preached, God is working to accomplish His purpose. As the Word is proclaimed, God by His mighty power will open the eyes of sinners and turn them from the power of Satan to God. By His own will He will bring forth sons unto glory by the Word of truth as the Gospel is preached. So that is our strategy. Proclaiming the Gospel IS the work of missions.
How do we proclaim Christ? Well, we go right into the middle of the city where the population is most dense, where there’s countless people gathered from all parts, and we stand up and open our mouths and proclaim the Word of God! We pray for tongues of fire that the Word of God would blast forth from our mouths like a clap of thunder and we lift up a Bible in our hands and we preach Christ and Him crucified! We plead with men to be reconciled to God. We pray for souls. We labor to see Christ receive the reward of His suffering.
Here’s some of our methods:
Open Air Preaching. This is a fruitful ministry in Guadalajara. Our open air meetings are simple. There are no big displays or light shows. We just preach with faith in our souls and a Bible in our hands. And people gather and listen. Sometimes numerous people to come forward after an open air sermon inquiring more about the way of salvation. Some are broken over their sin. Some even weep. And in some meetings, numerous people come forward asking life’s most important question: “What must I do to be saved?” We have many testimonies we could share from the ministry open air proclamation to the glory of God. Generally we are open air preaching downtown at least a few days per week or more.
Personal Witnessing. We go out into the city, hand out tracts, and talk to people about Jesus. There are endless opportunities for this. During our regular outreaches, we have a team of people we’ve trained who are going through the crowd and personally ministering to the people who listen.
Bible Teaching. The believers need to be instructed in the things of God. We give those who are converted more thorough instruction in Bible doctrine and in practical discipleship. We also train them to evangelize so that the Christians can be equipped to reach their own people. Thus the efforts are multiplied by training believers to obey Jesus and be fruitful where God has them.
Church Planting. In Acts 2:41-42, those who were converted under the preaching of the Word of God were baptized and immediately organized into local churches where they could be discipled, and they devoted themselves constantly to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. We want to follow this apostolic example and are laboring to plant churches in Mexico.
Bible Distribution. The Word of God is living and powerful. Through the gracious help of our brothers and sisters in Christ who support this work, we purchase many Bibles to distribute among those who are receptive to our message. We also give out many Gospels of John through the gracious donation of a ministry who has supplied them to us by the thousands.
Literature Distribution. In addition to Bibles, we give out evangelistic and discipleship literature. This includes booklets on the way of salvation to those who are lost, and literature which provides solid teachings on important subjects to those who know Christ.
PRAY FOR GUADALAJARA. Please pray that God would continue to grant open doors for the utterance of the Gospel. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work powerfully to save sinners and edify saints. Pray that the Lord would raise up more laborers to work in this vast, humongous, neglected harvest field. Pray that Jesus Christ would be glorified and receive the worship that is due His name among those He’s chosen in this city.
Pray that the “Circle of Silence” would turn into the “Circle of Thunder”, a place from which God thunders forth the glorious Good News of Jesus Christ to the rest of the nation. All things are possible with God.
Facts about Mexico
-About 75-89% of the total population is professing Roman Catholic.
-There are still peoples and tribes across Mexico who have never had a true witness of the Gospel presented to them, including ‘unreached’ tribes that speak a dialect completely different from Spanish.
-There are many other villages and towns among the Spanish-speaking that do have yet have a Christian Church established in them.
– Mexico is a country of extreme diversity, from the large cities filled with all the modern conveniences to the small towns that still have semi-primitive living conditions (think dirt roads, mud-brick houses, men with cowboy hats toting pistols, farms, and livestock).