How Hardships and Suffering Paved the Way for an Explosion of Church Planting


As Cuba transitions to a new relationship with the United States, Americans have a renewed interest in learning how the church there has fared for the last 50 plus years.

The short answer is: amazingly well. In fact, many believe the hardships and suffering have paved the way for an explosion of church planting.

Comfort not a Concern

On a typical Sunday morning in Cuba, you can find churches across the island overflowing with worshippers. Many meet in homes and others meet in churches that look more North American but operate in a political climate that is very different.

Space is the biggest challenge for many churches. Under current government rules they typically cannot buy land or expand. One church CBN News visited responded to the rules by building several stories up. Others cram into homes and multiply when they become too big.

Pastor “Miguel”┬áleads a church that used to meet in an apartment but now meets in the yard next to his apartment building.

“When you have 80 to 100 people [meeting] in an apartment it’s hard, very hard,” he told CBN News. “And neighbors get upset.”

It’s a common theme in Cuban churches, but it seems to have also helped to encourage church growth. In the past 20 years, more than 16,000 evangelical churches have opened their doors.

Pastor “Nestor” and his wife “Rosa” live in one room above their tiny house church. He told CBN News, “One of the things that has made us grow in faith has been the limitations and the difficulties.”

On Sunday mornings and during weeknight services, only a few will have a real seat.

“People here don’t care how comfortable they are,” Rosa explained. “They could be exhausted from working all day and they will sit on a bag of rocks, a stitched up chair, or stand the whole service, and they’re okay with that.”

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Heather Sells