WE PLANT CHURCHES
WE Help MULTIPLY HEALTHY CHURCHES
OUR GOAL IS TO REACH PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, DISCIPLE THEM AND PLANT CHURCHES.
We pray, we partner with and mobilize existing churches in the region, we meet new people, we win them to Christ and disciple them, we plant a church, and we help grow the church to reproductive maturity. Yeah, that's a simplified explanation of the whole process. It is actually pretty complex and one of the hardest jobs in the world. Here's our Lord's mandate:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
First of all, let me be clear - we do nothing alone. We are only one tool in the toolbox. As missionaries we feel bad saying anything about the work we do because you know us, see us, hear us, meet us, etc..., but you don't know the local Brazilian Christians who work alongside of us. On this side of eternity, you will never meet the Brazilian church and pastor who partners with us in the church-planting process.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:7
OUR GOAL IS TO BE A CATALYST IN MOBILIZING THE BRAZILIAN CHURCH TO REACH THE WORLD FOR CHRIST.
Even though there is still a huge need for church-planters in Brazil, there are already thousands of churches in Brazil who are looking to engage their world for Christ, taking their obedience to the Great Commission to the next level. In 2003, we began to reach out to some of these churches and help them look up and out to see a world that they could help reach. We have several projects in the works right now that will help us accomplish this goal.
São Paulo is a massive city. I've read statistics claiming São Paulo is the second, or third, or fourth largest city in the world. Who really knows, especially since 1,000 move to the greater metro area every day. The fact of the matter is, São Paulo is huge and packed full of people. Like all major cities of the world, you have the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. As a general rule, the closer you get to downtown, the nicer things are. Buildings are nicer, houses are nicer, grocery stores are nicer, people look nicer, etc..., and conversely so the farther you go out from the center of the city. Here in Brazil, the outskirts of town are called the periferia and that is where God has called us to serve.
Welcome to São Paulo, Brazil
We arrived in Brazil in 2005 and lived downtown. During that first year my wife studied in language school, and I immersed myself in all that is São Paulo. There are over a hundred districts in the city and my goal was to find out where God wanted me to join Him at work. Where in the city did He want me to serve? It's a long story and I'll spare you all the boring stuff, but basically I bought every map of the city available, pinned the maps on a wall, and through a process of research, elimination, and much prayer, God led us to the district of Cidade Tiradentes (pictured above). I eliminated any districts where missionaries had already been or where any missionaries were currently working. I eliminated districts where Biblical Churches had already been established. There were other criteria as well. In the end, I had a handful of districts left and I did not have a confirmation about any given one of them. So, I spend two months driving to these districts, parking my car and riding my bike around to get a grassroots view of the neighborhoods and to meet people. As I did all of this I would pray and ask God to confirm a place in my heart. He did.
Yes, I am giving you the simplified version of how we do what we do. Ultimately, it takes a lot of work. Studying people and places and trying to figure out an in-road into their lives is hard work. Adapting methodology to unique and specific neighborhoods is also a challenge. We are just trying to make it happen among the people God has called us to reach.
Everything else in between
We do tons of stuff week to week, but it all falls under the local church's outreach. "Do you feed hungry kids?" Yep, the church does every single week. "Do you train leaders?" Yep, this happens through the church every single week. "Are you involved in the community?" Yep, the church has active programs every week to reach people and to help those who need it the most. "Do you .....?" Yep, we do - through the local churches established.
The point is that our main focus is the church because it is the end result of making disciples, of obeying the Great Commission. The church is living, it is God ordained, and it is the only hope for a lost and dying world.