New Church Development in Brazil - January 2018 Update
Reaching Younger Generations Through New Churches
“Each church has its own style but each one of them needs to have two main characteristics: It needs to be centered in the Gospel, committed to it, because that is what gives it integrity. It also needs to engage people that are not part of any church by identifying deeply with what they are going through.” With those words, Ricardo Agreste challenges Brazilian Christians to become actively involved in planting churches that welcome new generations who are not part of any congregation. Ricardo serves a Presbyterian church that was started fourteen years ago and which has now planted twenty additional churches. He is also one of the directors for the Center for Training of Church Planters (CTPI is its Portuguese acronym) which effectively equips pastors among several denominational traditions.
The Outreach Foundation is actively engaged with the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil in the development of four congregations in three different states of the country. One of these congregations is called “Vitral” (Stained Glass). Located in Sao Paulo state, it describes itself as “a community that seeks to understand the values and lifestyle of people in the urban context in order to translate the teachings of Jesus and apply them to our daily life, always dialoguing, welcoming and respecting those who think differently.” They add, “We do this in order to rebuild bridges that have been destroyed over time between church and society.” In their recent report, they highlight the importance that they place on ministering to families and their children, mentioning how they have not only added an additional class to accommodate different ages but also added activities for mothers and intergenerational cooking and storytelling opportunities. In addition, Vitral places a great emphasis on prayer by holding a week of prayer every quarter which closes with a night of worship. Three years after it started, it gathers an average attendance of 54 people. Since contributions increased by more than 100% from 2015 to 2017, it is well on its way to becoming financially self-sufficient.
The most recent church planting project that The Outreach Foundation is seeking support for is located in Natal, the capital city of the Rio Grande do Norte. Called “A Ponte” (The Bridge) it is described by its founding pastor, Jaime de Mello Júnior, as having been “born from a wish of a group of people to plant a different church. Different in its form, in its language and structure, but also in the way that it dialogues with the urban culture: Presenting the gospel in simple and creative ways while not negotiating its commitment to living transformed lives.” He goes on to say, “The Bridge proposes a pastoral action that prioritizes preaching, teaching and worship while at the same time having a deep diaconal aspect. Proclaiming, welcoming, serving are all part of bringing people together – the job of every disciple of Christ.”
Both churches have the enthusiastic approval and support of the Independent Presbyterian Church and have been highly recommended to us by José Carlos Pezini, who serves as the Portuguese-Language Ministries Coordinator for The Outreach Foundation and is one of the Coordinators of the CTPI.
I invite you to join us in supporting this exciting church planting movement from which we can learn so much. You might also want to consider joining a group of us that will be visiting some of these new congregations and attending the annual conference of the CTPI in Brazil from August 24 to 31, 2018. Click HERE for more information about this trip.
With you in Christ’s mission,
Juan Sarmiento, Associate Director for Mission
Read more about New Church Development in Brazil HERE.
The Outreach Foundation is seeking gifts totaling $40,000 to support four new Brazilian churches at $10,000 per church.