South American Missions Emphasized at "Peru for Christ" Conference

( [email protected] ) May 18, 2004 05:07 PM EDT

National and international Christian leaders gathered for the 2004 “Peru for Christ” Movement Congress May 11-13 to discuss the current status and the necessary direction for the missions in South America. Among those in attendance were Jun Vencer, former general secretary of the World Evangelism Alliances, Tomas Morena, of Amancer Venezuela, and Humberto Lay, of the International Fraternity of Christian Pastors in Peru.

“We are living a time of profound change in the field of technology, science, and philosophy and the Churches must understand this process that is taking place in the world if we want to carry out efficient evangelism and discipleship,” said Pastor Oswaldo Prado, coordinator of Brazil 2010 and one of the speakers at the conference.

“Today we see the advance of globalization, the growing urbanization process, new communication technologies, such as Internet, changes in the labor world and even in the way we live our spirituality.”

Prado, who spent the past 20 years training leaders in becoming church planters, stated that in order to advance in planting Churches and spreading the Gospel “we need to understand these changes that are affecting our society.”

Prado noted that Brazil, with 170 million residents, has 150,000 evangelical churches. The goal of Brazil 2010 is to reach 250,000 in the next few years. “The vision is to have a church in each city, province, neighborhood, or tribe,” he said. However, the numeric growth of churches is not enough unless it is accompanied by a greater presence and impact in society. In Brazil, there are more than 30 million Evangelical believers, approximately 17-18% of the population. However, Prado pointed out that even so, there has not been a significant change.

He added the churches must be the salt and light of the world, as stated in Matthew 5, and must become involved in the society. “The task of Christians is to transform the world,” Prado exhorted, commenting on a quote from Charles Finney, promoter of the Evangelical revival in the 19th Century in the US.

“The injustice prevails in our countries, poverty is rising, child prostitution levels are high, the family is in crisis and the Church cannot be far from this reality,” he said. “God has another perspective for the city and the Church must be an agent of transformation.”

In his concluding remarks, Prado exhorted “The poor and the marginalized are those that Jesus sought to reach, to give them dignity. The churches must preach the Gospel, accompany the people of God in the world, but it must also service and promote holiness in the city.”