How can my church express the Good News of Jesus Christ here, there and everywhere? Nearly 100 pastors, leaders and seminarians from National Baptist (CBN) churches in 14 Brazilian states struggled with this important question during the recent 1st National Consultation on Integral Mission that we organized in November. At the end of the event one person reflected, “It’s great that God is awakening us to integral mission!” Another commented, “I am very thankful to God for the event and congratulate everyone who worked hard on its organization, because I am leaving blessed.”
The theme of the Consultation was: “Integral Mission – from Theology to Practice” based on Jesus’ example in Matthew 9:35-38. Five working groups reflected on different topics related to the theology of integral mission and prepared a statement to guide CBN churches. We led two of the six workshops that provided hands-on training in the practice of integral mission in the life and ministry of the local church.
People were challenged during morning Biblical expositions and evening worship services to participate in God's mission and share the whole gospel for the whole person in the whole world. Break times and fellowship around the table gave participants a chance to make new friends and learn from each other.
On the final day of the Consultation participants gave thanks to the Lord for this rich opportunity of learning, challenge, and inspiration. “I believe that this Consultation was bathed in prayer, for we received a feast, a gift from the Lord. I'm leaving renewed by the Lord to continue the work,” said one participant.
Many participants described the Consultation as a historic moment in the life of the CBN. They returned to their own churches inspired to start or expand ministries that show the Good News of Jesus through word and deed to those who are not yet part of God's family. One participant left saying, “[I want to] research the situation around my church … so that we can put into practice the theory we learned.”
The Consultation produced a rich “virtual library” of resources in the theology of God’s integral mission and its practice in the life of the local church. Check it out by following this link. We are especially delighted with the training videos that Ann and our son Asa produced on the best practices and leadership strategies of churches that engage in integral mission in the Brazilian context. Take a look at the videos on REDEMI’s YouTube channel, and let us know what you think!
We praise God that you are with us on this journey! Our special thanks go to those who faithfully send financial gifts to International Ministries toward our support. Your gifts make it possible for us to continue to serve in Brazil in this and many other ways. We are currently at about 80% of the financial goal we need to reach this year according to IM’s fundraising policy. When this situation begins to weigh on our hearts, we sing the traditional gospel hymn: “we’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord, trusting in His holy Name, He’s never failed us yet...”