Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil [ANN]
It was through the miracle of the multiplication of screens that live streaming is able to provide that spiritual renewal took place.
Brazilian pastors, leaders, and officials of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met May 2-5 to accompany the “Crescendo em Graça—Santa Convocação” project (Growing in Grace—Holy Convocation), a training focused on spiritual renewal promoted by the Ministry of Christian Stewardship.
Connected through the project site, through YouTube, and also through official Facebook profiles, participants followed the event in churches, small groups, and at home with family members. About 100,000 people were reached by the messages of appeal to Christian fidelity presented by Pastor Alejandro Bullón, according to data from the digital media used for transmission.
The “Holy Convocation” program is an initiative of the General Conference Stewardship Department at the church’s worldwide headquarters in Maryland, United States. It consists of training for pastors through lectures, seminars, and sermons. This year for the first-time volunteer church leaders and officials were invited to attend. The event mobilized about 700 pastors.
Pastor Ted Wilson, world leader of Adventists, sent a video message stating that he was happy for the initiative and was praying to God to bless the event. Pastor Erton Köhler, the church’s leader for eight South American countries, also recorded a message expressing his encouragement and support for the program.
The auditorium of the central church of Recife, Pernambuco, was the place chosen for transmission. In a joint action of the Northeast Brazil Union Mission (Adventist headquarters for six Northeastern states) and the East Brazil Union Mission (headquarters for Bahia and Sergipe), the transmission reached mostly Adventist leaderships in the Northeast.
But pastors and leaders of the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo also followed the program. “We have decided to be a part of this project because we believe it would be an opportunity for spiritual growth for our pastors and leaders and for promoting Christian fidelity,” said pastor Jander Oliveira, financial director of the South Espirito Santo Conference, Adventist headquarters for the south region of the state.
According to Luciano Salviano, director of Christian Stewardship for Bahia and Sergipe and one of the coordinators of the project, the primary purpose of the initiative was to bring the pastors together for an update on the issues surrounding fellowship with God as the basis for community development and the development of the mission of the church.
Each morning during the event there was training exclusively for pastors for this purpose. “It’s only with a daily and real experience with God that pastors can inspire leaders and the church for a life of Christian faithfulness,” said pastor Bullón in his opening remarks. It was the phrase that would sum up all training content, which focused on the ethical, moral, and spiritual attitudes of the pastoral ministry, based on daily devotion and genuine fellowship with God.
“I felt that we achieved the goal of having a great spiritual revival among us pastors and the leaders of our congregations,” Salviano said. The result, he said, is a church with more consecrated, loving, united, faithful, and missionary-minded pastors who are more fully committed to the work of preaching the gospel.
Faithfulness in Practice
For Josanan Júnior, leader of Christian Stewardship in the Northeast Brazil Union Mission, the second goal of the program was to inspire and prepare pastors and leaders for the Week of Christian Stewardship that began in thousands of churches in the union on Sabbath, May 5.
“It’s expected that pastors and leaders who have been impacted by the power of the Holy Spirit will now bless the church through preaching and visiting families during Stewardship Week,” said Júnior.
In preparation for the Stewardship program, one of the most inspiring moments of the Holy Convocation program was the consecration service held on Friday night, May 4. Each leader was challenged to visit four families in their community to share what touched their heart during Pastor Bullón's class.
The visitation will take place during this week of Christian stewardship, where the sermons presented will be based on the classes presented by Bullón. “This way the project will involve theory and practice,” concluded Júnior. Throughout the challenge, churches and small groups spread out to various places and used Web-based interaction to show their commitment cards and to signal the desire to be part of the family visitation campaign.
Leaders who participated in the Web-based program described the experience as unforgettable. “Allowing churches to follow the message, to be connected, and to hear and learn about Christian faithfulness—it was too much blessing,” said Israel Gomes from Saloá, Pernambuco. “The training was wonderful; it brought edification to all who have a commitment to the Word of God and prepared us to truly lead and live the gospel of Christ,” added Paulo Sérgio, leader of the church of Cidade Nova, Feira de Santana neighborhood, Bahia.
Heron Santana is a journalist and communication director of the East Brazil Union Mission
For more information about the Holy Convocation, please click here.