New church plant starts from ashes of another
On July 29, 29 people gathered on a second floor patio in Campo Grande, Brazil, to worship, pray and study God’s word. Led by Thiago Lehmam, a 21-year-old computer engineering student, more than two-thirds of the group was young adults with the dream of starting a new church out of the remnants of their old church.
Eight months earlier, the Free Church that these young Brazilians attended closed its doors when its pastor left. Unable to find a church that both felt like home and aligned with their beliefs, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
“Everything ‘began again’ one afternoon when we talked together and the question was raised: ‘Why don’t we start our own youth group?’” Thiago says. “And why not? One beautiful characteristic of our group is that we seem to have limitless creativity, young people with incredible gifts, and youth who know that they have a strong calling from God.”
Meeting weekly for more than five months now, the group is slowly making the transition from youth group to church plant. They call themselves Phoenix Church, aptly named for the mythological bird that is reborn from the ashes of another.
“We are working together to grow, both spiritually and in term of numbers, and we dream one day of having our own space, with services on Sundays, and a ‘more trained’ pastor leading and helping us to grow,” Thiago says.
Steve, an EFCA ReachGlobal missionary, attended the July 29 meeting and came away impressed with these young adults, many of whom came to know Christ several years earlier through the Brazilian Free Church’s summer English Camps.
“They realize that the responsibility is on their shoulders, and they’re taking that on with full conviction,” Steve says. “They didn’t ask any of the visiting ‘pastors’ to bring the Word. They didn’t ask for a dime for anything. They led us in an evening before the Lord.”
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- For God to lead these young adults in planting the Phoenix Church.
- That the youth in Brazil would continue to experience the life-changing power of the gospel and that they would help spread the gospel throughout the country.