In late April, I started a new job in Brazil. I am now the Executive Coordinator for Martureo: the Brazilian Center for Missiological Reflection.
Marcos Amado founded Martureo to produce resources Brazilians need to assess their experience in global mission and chart a course for the future.
When Lois and I went as missionaries to Brazil in the 70’s we believed Brazilians should not so much receive missionaries as send them. Over the next few decades that is exactly what happened. A movement of Brazilians in global mission emerged and grew. Dozens of new Brazilian mission societies were born. Thousands of missionaries were sent from Brazil to all corners of the earth.
Their experience has been fruitful, but also problematic.
Spontaneous growth and a lack of planning meant that most missionaries were poorly prepared. Churches and their leaders were unaware of what it would take to send and sustain them. Still Brazilian missionaries produced positive outcomes where they went. The lives of many whom they served improved. Some decided to also follow Jesus. New churches were formed.
But poor theological and missiological preparation also led to ineffectiveness and unfortunate harm was done. There were negative consequences for sending churches, missionaries and thee people they had gone to serve.
Today, a highly motivated new generation of Brazilians has begun to re-think how they will join Christ in his mission. They are creating new paths for entering the world with Christ through social entrepreneurship, peace-building, government and non-government agencies, business acceleration and startups focused on some of the key global challenges of human development.
Martureo exists to help this new generation rethink how they follow Jesus into mission.
Martureo offers them greater access to foundational missiological thinking and encourages new missiological reflection rooted in Brazil’s own mission experience to missiological reflection by:
- Organizing workshops and forums for leaders and students to reflect critically on mission practice and improve or develop new practices.
- Producing mission-focused content for publication in a variety of formats.
- Publishing missiological textbooks for publication in Brazil .
- Developing classroom and online courses for mission trainers.
- Inserting missiological reflection into major gatherings of Brazilian evangelicals.
Over the past couple of months these activities looked like this:
- Marcos spoke at a national Missions’ Conference for 1300 young people about the challenge of Missions in the 21st century and gave a breakout seminar to 150 of them who wanted to understand the relation Islam to the gospel.
- He gave the plenary address to 1100 attendees at a pastors’ conference near São Paulo.
- Dr. Martin Accad, from the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies in Beirut, Lebanon, gave a course on Islam in São Paulo to 80 students in an intensive course over 5 days, 3,5 hours every night.
- Martureo released a translation of Lesslie Newbigin’s book The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.
- We added 12 new associates to the team and I have met with them to define how they will extend scope of the missiological reflection that Martureo makes possible.
Lois and I do not have plans to move to Brazil. But the team I will work with is primarily in São Paulo, Brazil. So I plan to be in Brazil approximately 12 weeks out of each year for the next several years. In the coming years we will work out and implement a sustainable and scalable model for Martureo to encourage deeper, more informed and more Brazilian reflection on participation in Christ’s mission.
We do have many long-time friends in Brazil, so it should not surprise you if we figure out how out to go live there for a few months at a time.
You can make tax-deductible contributions to Martureo to support me in this new job. It is through the prayers and contributions of friends like you that I get the privilege of learning with Brazilians about the mission of Christ in the world, and serving them as they work out their participation. Thank you for joining me in it.