“But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.”
Acts 20:24, CSB
Send Network: How and when did you develop your passion for evangelism?
Francisco Aular: I converted to Christ through John 17:20, on April 11, 1963. I was reading the Bible when I was struck by the truth that Jesus, prayed for me by saying: “I do not pray only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.”
I became a Christian on, what we call in Latin America, ‘Holy Thursday’— the Thursday before Easter. I began to share my testimony. Everything flowed spontaneously, and the Holy Spirit encouraged me to share the gospel.
I did not know how to evangelize effectively, but I started inviting my family, my neighbors, co-workers and students to come to church with me. Some came to Christ, and in others, I planted the seed.
Send Network: How did you inspire your church to become a multiplying church?
Aular: We lived in the United States for five years (2001-2006). We had the English-speaking Sanctuary and Emanuel de Etobicoke.
When we returned to Canada, and I became senior pastor of Emanuel Baptist Church of Etobicoke, in Toronto, from 2007 to 2018. Around those years, I was elected president of the Ontario Baptist Association (SOBA). I challenged SOBA, and we presented a plan (called RESCUE36) for prayer, evangelism, discipleship and church planting, but nothing happened. From 2011-2013, I thought God wanted Emmanuel Baptist Church of Toronto (EBCT) to launch this plan so we renamed it to Vision 2020.
In 2013, as a 65-member church, I presented the Vision 2020 plan. We lost 20 members and we were left with 45 strong, brave believers. In 2015, with the remaining members, we started five churches and installed five missionary couples.
Thanks to North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) plan to reach the unreached cities1, we received the support of Send Network. Next, we planted one church in Oshawa, Ontario and two in the Province of Alberta. Our work in Ontario, began in 1987 but we began to grow in 2000-2001 and then 2015 to today. Our growth has been 350%!
I acknowledge with all humility before the LORD, our barrenness to give birth to new churches. We believed the myth a church with less than 100 members couldn’t reproduce. But Vision 2020 started and now we are doing it! I think Vision 2020, has confirmed the old saying: “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts.”
Send Network: Why is it so important to plant Spanish speaking churches?
Aular: In Canada our denomination is new. Hispanics are arriving with their entire families, because Canada prioritizes immigration as families. Until 2015, we were practically just two Hispanic churches facing a challenge from thousands of Hispanics moving to this country. Where would we find missionary couples for such a challenge? Do we have the financial resources to support missionary families? We answered these questions by establishing a Bible Institute in 2013, and 13 brothers graduated on December 9, 2017.
The graduates are our missionary-pastors with the same vision and passion! And now we are calling them to plant new churches. We are challenged because we hope to continue multiplying ourselves and serving the extension of the kingdom of God here in Canada.
Send Network: You lead your last service as the Senior Pastor of Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel two years ago, but you continue planting churches What motivates you to keep serving the Lord in this way?
Aular: There is not retirement for the person called to serve the Lord with joy and passion. If a Christian worker can still face the challenges of life, he can also face the challenge of planting one more church for Christ.
Send Network: How would you motivate retired or almost retired pastors?
Aular: My wife and I have lived our entire lives under the concept of “He Who calls, sustains.” When it was time to retire, the government pension was our only financial support, and we did not want to be a financial burden to our family or to the work. So we moved to Cochrane, a small city very close to Calgary, in the Province of Alberta where two of our children live — Mary Ruth and Frank Marcos.
Upon arriving in Calgary, we realized the number of Hispanics who were without Christ, but there was some initial work carried out by our son Frank. There was no Hispanic church of our denomination. So we resolved to plant a church in Calgary.
A brother in faith called me and he asked me about my life, so I shared the plan. Then he told me to go to NAMB’s webpage and apply to be a missionary.
“With much respect brother, I think I’m too old to be a NAMB missionary,” I responded.
He gave me the correct answer: “Is there anything too difficult for God?”
In October 2019, we began services in a rented temple. About 30 people were attending. In January 2020, we baptized a 35-year-old man — a leader among Hispanics in Calgary.
Send Network: What advise would you give the new generation of pastors and church planters
Aular: The greatest of the church planters I know is the Apostle Paul. He was moved by a passion for what he did. Acts chapter 20 tells us about both his passion and the meaning of his historical mission. We see them in Miletus, his farewell surrounded by his disciples. That farewell was the launching pad for a way of doing the work of the LORD, which also served as a basis and model for our ministry. He summarized it in verse 24, when he said:
“But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24, CSB)
Some years ago, I led a young man and his whole family to Christ. We stopped seeing each other for a few years. Then I was invited as a preacher to a national meeting, and he was there. I finished the message on Acts 20:24, I made the call to be men and women with passion for Jesus like Paul, and that young man came forward. I recognized him immediately. He was finishing university.
I got off the platform to talk to him. He told me through tears: “Pastor, feel my heart.” I did, and it was beating strongly. Feel it, he said, because I will be a man passionate about Jesus, until I die! That young man became a man of God and is serving in the kingdom in such a way that I do not doubt God will continue to use him and his passionate heart.
Please, feel your heart yourself and ask: Is my heart still beating for Christ?
To learn more about how you can be involved in planting churches everywhere for everyone, visit SendNetwork.com.
1 These unreached cities are also known as Send Cities.
Published October 22, 2020