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Acts 17 Connection in Brazil: Three Statements that Keep Them Focused on Planting

A couple of months ago I had the privilege to speak to speak in Brazil at the Centro de Treinamento para Plantadores de Igrejas (Church Planting Training Center).

While I was there, I connected with some of the leaders in church planting there and learned about the Acts 17 Connection. Pastor Ricardo Agreste, of Comunidade Presbiteriana Chácara Primavera, and other pastors are part of this partnership.

I’ve already addressed in another post my impressions of CTPI and the progress of church planting by this group. Today I want to share some details about the Acts 17 Connection These are succinct, but effective in giving a picture of what they are attempting and why. I thought they were worth sharing because they under gird a focused church planting strategy.

They explain (in the English translation from the original Portuguese):

We believe that planting churches is the best way to fulfill the Great Commission because: 1. New churches do not waste energy dealing with conflicts of the past, which take away a good amount of their strength. 2. New churches use most of their efforts in communicating the gospel of Jesus to those who do not know him yet. 3. New churches more easily adapt themselves to the culture of those whom they wish to communicate the gospel. 4. New churches are characterized by new Christians who are much more effective in evangelism than most of the older Christians. 5. New churches challenge the existing churches to re-think their theology and strategies, which is a great contribution to the process of revitalization.

We believe that a healthy process of planting a new community requires:
1. A previous elaboration of a project.
2. An assessment process and training process for the church planter.
3. The establishment of strategic partnerships.
4. Pastoral and administrative supervision of the church planter.
5. A clear definition of the process to reach self sufficiency.
6. A commitment of the new church to the multiplication process.

We believe that the church that emerges through this process will be characterized by:
1. A continuous dialogue with the culture.
2. Creativity in its methodology.
3. An inspiring worship.
4. Profound and relevant preaching.
5. Transforming peoples’ lives.
6. A commitment to Christian values.
7. A leadership team model.
8. Affectionate and warming relationships.
9. Compassion and action towards those who suffer.
10. An evangelistic passion.

As an aside let me note that these belief statements are preceded by a brief theological position: “We are a network of pastors and churches, committed to The Reformed Theology and involved in the Great Commission of Christ through planting churches in the cities of Brazil.” They elaborate their theology in other documents, but their church planting mission is the focus here.

The first part lays out their rationale for planting. The second part lays out some of their systems. The third part talks about some values.

Long story short– I thought this was short, clear, and focused and may explain why they have been successful in planting churches.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.