Monday, August 13, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, Holly and I got the incredible opportunity to go to the World Convention in Goiania, Brazil. The World Convention is a quadrennial gathering of Christians who have a common heritage in the Stone-Campbell movement, which includes Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and the Disciples of Christ.
This year's Convention was the first ever in the Global South. There were nearly 4,000 Christians from around the world who met together to praise God, listen to speakers, and meet brothers and sisters in Christ we would never meet otherwise on this side of heaven. Every event was translated in English and Portuguese.
Holly and I had a fantastic time meeting all kinds of new people, seeing a few old friends, and getting to see parts of the world we had never seen before.
And let me assure, no matter the feelings you might have about the American church, God is certainly at work in the Global South. The church in Brazil is a vibrant, young, growing body of believers. My faith was restored in a great way by seeing what God is up to in other parts of the world.
It was also amazing to see how the church has transitioned from American missionary leadership to Brazilian leadership. One young, powerful preacher I was impressed with was a man named David Levistone. David told his story of being a 3rd generation Christian because of the work of American missionaries decades ago. He challenged the Brazilian church to a powerful work over the coming years.
Over the next four years, Brazil will host the World Cup and the Summer Olympics. He said, "Brazil stands at a unique place on the world stage. While we are called to go into all of the world, we are blessed over the next four years to have the world come to us. We must not miss this opportunity to speak the good news during such a time as this!"
Holly and I returned home rested, blessed, and more hopeful. God is at work in the world. Just because Christianity in the West is on the decline doesn't mean God isn't at work.
It's time for the American church to be humble enough to learn from missionaries that will be coming our way.