Milan Ministry Overview


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Document describing the need, what we are doing to meet that need, and some of how you can help meet that need, too!

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Milan Ministry Overview

  1. 1. Glorifying God by working together to establish reproducing churches focusing on unreached peoples of the world. Larry and Dawn Sanders With daughters Brittny and Brianna Serving as: Church Planters to Milan, Italy (and beyond!)
  2. 2. The Need In the world today, over 2 billion people are separated from Christ. While Italy hosts the Vatican, many mistakenly think of Italy as being reached with the Gospel. Although four out of five Italians consider themselves Roman Catholic, only 3% attends Mass on a regular basis. Of the few that do attend regularly, most are not familiar with salvation by faith. As most Italians are disillusioned with the Catholic Church, they turn to palm readers for answers to life’s problems. Thus, the Catholic Church in Italy is culturally irrelevant to a typical Italian’s daily life. In fact, according to the book Operation World, there are 3 times the numbers of “demonic” spiritists than there are Catholic priests in Italy! Further, there is only 0.1% Evangelicals in northern Italy and specifically around 35 evangelical churches in greater Milan. In the zone of Milan where we live in Milan (an area of 300,000 people), there is only one evangelical church. Today, traditionalism and fear make the spiritual soil of Italy a difficult ground to till giving rise to the alarming reality that only 10% of missionaries return after their first term in Italy. The spiritual battle for effective long-term ministry is real. With a deep cynicism and fear that permeate the Italian culture, personal relationships require time to build trust to share the Gospel effectively. Reaching the Italians requires a high front-end investment to realize any spiritual dividends. That investment means long-term missionaries who can see the process through. The significance of these facts is that while Italians are a very spiritual people, Italy has forgotten the God of the Bible and therefore lives without the hope of Christ! Italy needs career missionaries and the hope of changed lives that the Gospel provides! We do not serve in Italy to address the few nominal Catholics, but rather to reach the vast majority of the unchurched with a vibrant and relevant faith! We want to change these statistics, and we serve on a team to make this idea become a reality. As church planters, our presence impacts lives of Italians like Andrea and Marilena. After studying the Bible intensely for over two years, Andrea came to faith in Christ and now participates regularly in our Bible study as well as is involved in bringing his colleagues the message of the gospel. Marilena, while not yet a believer yet, has stated from her attendance in this Bible study that she believes in God and knows that we believe in God, but that she wants to “figure out the difference” that she senses in our lives. For Marilena to figure out that difference, they need willing people to share their faith and invest in them. And we are willing to be those people, but, we cannot do so alone. We need your help! “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, quot;How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom. 10:14-15) This is why God has led us to serve in Milan: to help evangelize the lost, disciple believers into maturity and train leaders in order to establish more churches that bring glory to Christ.
  3. 3. The Mission We are partnering with World Team, whose purpose statement is . . . “Glorifying God by working together to establish reproducing churches focusing on unreached peoples of the world.” “Glorifying God . . .” The goal of missions is to bring individuals from every tongue, tribe, nation and people into a relationship with the risen Christ in order that they might add to the myriad that will one day gather at the throne and worship the great Creator. World Team glorifies God by adding to that number! “ working together . . .” Inherent in World Team’s name is a commitment to work in teams; to send committed believers around the world that are a living picture of the Body of Christ. As the Gospel is lived out in community, people are drawn to the One who dwells among them. This includes overseas missionaries, missionary staff at home and people like you who join forces to become a support team for those missionaries. “ establish reproducing churches . . .” World Team is a multicultural fellowship of believers working together to create and foster growing communities of Christian witness. Our goal is to build churches that will grow and continue to multiply. Rather than starting a church and remaining in leadership roles, a priority is placed on training indigenous people to lead and evangelize. In this way, local believers will be enabled to perpetuate a church planting movement that shares our priority of seeing new churches planted. We believe that every local church can and must reproduce itself. Multiplication is the natural outworking of a healthy fellowship of believers. “...focusing on unreached peoples of the world.” Approximately 2 billion people are considered ‘unreached people.’ This means they are isolated from the Gospel because of language, culture, geography, social conditions or politics. They need to hear the Gospel in a culturally appropriate form otherwise they are without any hope for a relationship with their Creator.
  4. 4. The World Team Strategy The key to tangible widespread transformation of lives is to start new churches that start new churches. This is called a church-planting movement. As illustrated above, church planting is a process in which several things happen: • The ministry is begun on a sure foundation. • Evangelism is done in an intentional, relationship-oriented manner. • As new believers are brought together, they learn how to serve and be served. • As potential leaders surface, they are trained and given opportunities to learn. • As these leaders develop, leadership is turned over to them. • The new leadership starts planting new churches and a network of churches is begun.
  5. 5. Transformed Lives Living in the Bible belt, it is difficult to imagine that in Italy there is only one born-again believer for every 1,000 people. Even more difficult to imagine is having only one small church for every 200,000 people in greater Milan. This lack of vital witness is the reality for the believers among the 7.4 million in population in greater Milan! Contrast that idea with the estimated 1.6 million people in the greater Raleigh-Durham, NC with its 4200+ churches1 which translates to one church for roughly every 380 people in the Raleigh-Durham area. Even though their numbers are small, believers among the Milanese (northern Italy) have a passion for worshipping God and seeing lives transformed for Christ. For example, Cristina was introduced to some missionaries almost 20 years ago with whom she studied the Bible for a couple of years. She concluded that she did not need Christ at the time. Many years later in the midst of another crisis, she remembered the missionaries and sought to reconnect with other missionaries and began to study the Bible again. The Lord penetrated her heart during those four years of study, and she was baptized and is living for Christ. As a physician, God has transformed her heart and life and believes there is hope for her fellow Italians! Cristina writes of her heart for her fellow countrymen: “We need more missionaries in Italy because of the great need… we need help finding the lost sheep. I was one of the lost sheep!” (ref. to Matt. 18:12) Cristina is not alone. Recently, after building significant trust and relationship with Anna over the course of several years, she started attending our weekly Bible study. At the end of a Bible study, in response to being asked about what it means to become a Christ follower, Anna responded saying, quot;It has been a process for me and one that I am still in… I think the process started when I met the Sanders. I knew there was something different about them, but I just assumed it was their American ways. The more I observed these differences, the more I began to be interested in knowing about their God. It is not something I can put my finger on, it wasn't anything they were trying to do, but more things kept happening spontaneously that showed me they had something that I didn't have. It has been a process for me over time to believe in God.quot; For Anna’s process to confess that Jesus Christ is her Lord and Savior, it required on-going relationship with someone willing to stay involved in her life. It is the urgency of the Italian believers’ prayers and the open doors represented by these new believers that motivates us toward the work God has for us here at World Team to see more lives transformed and spontaneous expansion of churches multiplying in Italy. Such an answer to prayer would truly be a work of the Lord in a land that has not seen transforming spiritual renewal in centuries. 1 These statistics were found on the Triangle Citysearch web site ( query=church) and Wikipedia web sites (,_North_Carolina); and the greater Milan phone book for the number of churches.
  6. 6. The Future There are billions of people in the world who, because they have not heard of the saving power of Jesus Christ, have no eternal future. We believe that God has led us to a position with World Team where we can play a pivotal role in reaching one segment of that vast number of unreached people. In the few years we have been in Italy, we have already seen significant trust established among several Italian friends who are now open to spiritual discussions and Bible studies. Just in the past two years we have seen various outreach efforts produce interest and discussions on the Gospel as well as a topical study on marriage develop into a group Bible study that had such an impact that they requested that we continue with the Bible study. Consequently, more people have been coming as well! While the majority of our witnessing is relationally based (and therefore constantly on-going), we provide other one-time events like our Thanksgiving outreach and English camps. We are excited about the movement we have seen God do in the lives of individuals that is in turn showing signs of the germination of a church that will be reproducing! While the Italians are a very social people in a thriving economy, they are starving spiritually. The hope we have in Christ is the message we want the Italians to know on a personal basis that will in turn produce spiritually healthy and Bible-centered churches with a heart for reproduction and multiplication. As a team of missionaries, we desire to glorify God by working together to facilitate and establish a movement of multiplying churches to advance the Gospel among the unreached in northern Italy. With that purpose in mind, our vision is to establish 15 new reproducing churches in northern Italy by the year 2027) starting in Zone 9 of Milan. Working alongside some great and gifted teammates as well as with Italians, it is exciting to see God moving and to be filling a part in His plan for the nations. By evangelizing, discipling and leadership training we (along with recruiting additional missionaries) strive to see 1) grassroots churches planted, 2) the training of existing Italian leaders for the work of church planting, and 3) the recruiting of Italian Bible school students to join us in apprenticeships to develop a passion for bringing God glory through His bride, the church in Italy. In order to continue our work in Italy we must expand our team of partners to pray for us, our workers and the many who have not heard. We also need partners like you to help provide the financial needs of our role, as is required by World Team. As the work in Italy continues to increase, it becomes more critical that we meet this financial need as soon as possible. Three reasons underscore this urgency: 1. We are missing opportunities to build new and current relationships in Italy and to be able to share the Gospel with Italians. 2. Securing the needed funding by this summer will allow our children’s education in Italy to continue without any further disruption. 3. Although an extended stay in the USA allows us to connect with current ministry partners and recruit more workers to join us in Italy, our supporters would like to see their investment being used in Italy where we desire to work. An outline of the financial need of this ministry is on the next page. Please consider it prayerfully and join with us in this ministry. The future, with God’s help, is in our hands! (Rev. 7:9-10) Larry and Dawn Sanders
  7. 7. Financial Needs We need to form a team of ministry partners who will commit to financially and prayerfully supporting us as we reach out with the Gospel. The chart below indicates the financial resources we are required to raise and how those resources are allocated. Monthly Need Salary Sustenance & Housing $4,200.00 Retirement & Insurance $960.00 Payroll Taxes $740.00 Flexible Health Spending (FSA) $300.00 Total Salary & Benefits $6,200.00 Business Funds Ministry $1,350.00 Italy Work Funds $60.00 Administrative Fee $1,290.00 Total Business Funds $2,700.00 Total Monthly Requirement $ 8,900.00 Outgoing Expenses Unreimbursed medical expenses $5,000.00 Computer $950.00 Airfare change $2,000.00 Health Insurance & Taxes $3,400.00 Administrative Fee $1,925.00 Total Outgoing Expenses $13,275.00 Here are some ways you can participate as a partner in our ministry: Pray: Pray as often as God leads for our ministry to be effective and that many will hear the Gospel who haven't yet heard. Give: Partner with us by giving on a monthly basis toward the needs of our ministry. Our ongoing ministry depends on regular support. If you cannot give monthly, give as the Lord provides resources. Share: Share our ministry with others. We would be happy to visit your church, Sunday school class, Bible study or your home to share with others what God is doing through the work of World Team. God is not asking us to press forward alone, but to build a prayer and financial support team that will provide the foundation we need to succeed in ministry. While we readily acknowledge our need to depend upon the Lord, we are thankful that God chooses to use churches, friends and family to help accomplish the ministry assignment He has given to us. It is only through the partnership of many people praying and giving that God will supply our needs. We are asking because the challenges and opportunities are so great.
  8. 8. Contact Us! Larry and Dawn Sanders 919-521-4455 home (until September 1) (with daughters Brittny and Brianna) 919-521-0564 Larry’s cell 3905 Valley Stream Dr. 919-521-0975 Dawn’s cell Raleigh, NC 27604 E-mail: Send tax-deductible gifts (with a note for the account of Larry & Dawn Sanders) and any correspondence to: World Team Phone # (800) 967-7109, ask for Donor Services 1431 Stuckert Road E-mail Address: Warrington, PA 18976 Web Site: World Team strives to glorify God by recognizing His passion for people and embracing it. Our singular focus is on church planting among the unreached peoples of the world.