Sunday, July 15, 2007

Big Churches Helping Little Churches

This house church thing is really taking off! Just look at our living room this morning. O.K., O.K., this is actually 4th Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee ( a beautiful town about 30 minutes from our house). They support the Blume family, Matt Rehbein (also on the Porto Alegre team) and lots of other missionaries all over the world.

We went to see the Blumes report on the work in Porto Alegre. They talked about the transition from big church to house churches. They explained that the Porto Alegrenses, as they're called, show little interest in coming to a church building to attend a formal service but are happy to visit their home. They talked about how educated people are wary of evangelists because of previous abuses by manipulative people whose only goal was to fill their own pockets.

Many people, myself included, wondered when they started the transition if they would be successful. Some of their own church members there thought they would surely decrease their numbers. That was not the case, as they went from about 80 in the church building to about 110 among four individual house churches.

As John and I consider the possibility of moving back to Brazil, we see an opportunity to become part of the house church movement in Porto Alegre. There were so many people whom we invited to church that never came. Many more were willing to come to our house for a visit. We would be honored if, in the future, we would have the opportunity to invite them to our home church.

We're proud of our teammates for recognizing the need to change something that wasn't working. We pray that God will continue to bless their efforts to introduce Jesus to the people of Brazil.

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