Since the very earliest ministry of PAMI, it has been our vision that new churches that are started will eventually become self-supporting and self-governing. This would free up resources so that new PAMI workers can be supported, and more PAMI churches can be started. The process of a PAMI church becoming self-supporting is known as “Weaning”. For the first several years of a church’s existence, PAMI will support 100% of the pastor’s allowance. After the church has grown, and members bring in their own tithes and offerings, they can gradually begin supporting the pastors allowance. Weaning is a gradual process whereby for the first year of weaning, the local church supports a small percentage of the pastor’s allowance (e.g. 20-25%) and then each year after that, the church increases the percentage that they cover, until eventually, the church supports 100% of the pastor’s allowance. Weaning also allows members of the local church to have a greater “ownership” in the ministry of their congregation. Exactly when a church begins weaning depends on how fast they are growing, and their financial resources to begin supporting themselves.
The PAMI Irosin Christian Church has grown very well over the last few years, initially under the leadership of Ptr. Randy Rivera, and currently under Ptr. Gumer Gile. In fact, when I visited the Irosin church in July 2009, I saw that they were meeting under an awning, because their rented house had become too small. Even then, the awning space was packed, and many people were standing outside. I remember that people would start arriving at 7:45 AM on Sunday morning, so that they could have a seat for 8:30 Sunday School hour.
Just a week ago, the PAMI Irosin Christian Church has taken the step of faith to begin weaning. On November 28, the Irosin Church council met and determined that they could trust the Lord that they would be able to support 20% ($28 or 1200 pesos) per month of their pastor’s allowance, beginning in January 2011. Praise be to God!