Have you ever looked attentively upon a garden? If so, you’ve probably noticed those small plants that surprisingly come up through the grass, flowers and decorative plants. These “marvels” of nature, called “weeds”, do not need to be sown and therefore no gardener helps them grow. They simply show up, springing up without any consent and, unless removed, they’ll be all over the garden in a little while.
When considering the growing number of churches nowadays, the inattentive observer would think that just as those small plants, the Church would naturally spread out till it reaches the ends of the world. However, it is not that way. Churches need to be sown, looked after. They must be intentionally planted and cultivated, just as a soybean, wheat or coffee plantation.
When God planned His church to reach every culture and nation, He might have had the idea of a “plantation”, as a huge and systematically grown farm. Definitely, it wouldn’t be a desolate place or an overgrown garden.
According to the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography), during the last decade, the Brazilian Church growth rate by year represented four times the population growth rate. That’s impressive! We represent a group of millions of Christians, who are multiplying in thousands of communities from North to South.
However, such distinguished growth, single-handed, will not result “naturally” in a country transformed by the Gospel. To infer that the Church will reach “spontaneously” all tribes, villages and towns just because we are “growing fast” is no longer different from the thought of a pasture “naturally” becoming a soy plantation! Spreading the seed by chance and watching it start to grow does not guarantee a harvest.
There’s the eminent need to pray, ponder, plan and arrange our efforts. The best way, commanded by Jesus, that will lead to a nations’ transformation, is the implantation of new churches. More efficient than crusades, radio and TV programs or any other method, the implantation of new churches is the way to fulfill the Great Commission of discipling the nations.
We will probably fail without an intended process. Our task is to plant new churches “strategically”. That is, in the proper locations (those not reached), in a proper way (culturally sensitive), with proper concern (working together and continually), considering the propagation (Mission-centered). With God’s grace and joining hands, we can do so!
Today in Brazil, we still have: 73 counties with less than 1% of Christians (Northeastern Backwoods, and the interior of Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul). 103 different native people without any church and thousands of waterside/riparian communities at the Amazon Basin that never heard of Jesus. In the cities, it is also possible to find many regions and whole districts without any church. And what does one say about the emerging generations and the ethnic communities scattered all over the Brazilian territory?
All these groups will be reached, I mean, they’ll have access to a church culturally adapted to them, only when and if we intentionally move forward in their direction. We must surpass the cultural, geographical, economic and generation barriers so that a church may rise there. We need to step forward, not them. We have no rights to hold back from anyone the blessing of enjoying God’s grace by means of becoming part of a community of faith!
So then, it is to these people that we are committed to reach. Our vision involves placing a church that is available to every person, in every village, community or people group in Brazil. This process involves research, producing teaching materials, partnership development, intercession groups, specific training for people who will directly work with the church implantation, mobilizing old churches and nurturing the new ones.
As somebody said once, there is no place for unemployment or retirement in the Kingdom of God! Many doors are already open. In fact, there are hundreds of requests for new churches and leadership training. We already “dream” about a new generation of church planters who will introduce healthy and propagating communities in such a way, that those places will experience an eternal transformation. We believe God shares the same feeling.
WE are not able to go forward by ourselves. We need the entire backup you can offer us. Our initial request is for your prayers so that we may be able to discern what God’s priorities are for Brasil. Which cities, people we should focus on. Which leaders should we approach? The same way, we need to “find” (because we believe God has already prepared them) those churches, organizations and families that will support our projects in terms of financial aid.
May God richly bless you. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!
José RM Prado