One of the truths we know as Christians is that being made in the image of God means that we are created as worshiping beings. Ideally, this worship is directed toward our Creator, the rightful recipient of our worship since He is our God and King. However, as creatures made to worship, we are going to worship someone or something even if it is not God. In many situations the object of worship is a person, work, money, or even relationships, but in the case of Rio de Janeiro many people find themselves worshipping pleasure and relaxation.
Pleasure, Rest, and Partying
Known for its abundant and beautiful beaches, and a climate that makes them even more appealing, Rio is a haven for those who want to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. While we as Christians believe in appreciating the beauty of creation and affirm the joys of rest, the natives and expatriates of Rio often substitute the worship and affection meant for the Creator and bestow it on creation. In a traditionally Catholic nation, Sundays are now known more as days to spend on the beach than in the church.
In addition to the beaches, Rio is known for its insatiable appetite for partying, culminating in the ultimate celebration known as Carnival. Many people in the city will attest that leading up to the big celebration, Rio becomes fixated on the party and little else happens. This love and seeking of pleasure is something that the city is well known for and clearly vies for the love and affection that is due to our God.
A Business Destination
One of the main reasons we are highlighting Rio at this time is the large English-speaking population that is present in the city. With an abundant offshore oil supply and a developing economy, Brazil is a popular destination for international businesses who are looking to expand their reach. Even with the 2014 economic dip, the nation still garners a lot of interest from businesses who see the potential to make money. The large number of expats living in the city of Rio creates a strategic opportunity for the IBC to plant an English-speaking church and see many come to know Jesus as their Savior.
How to Pray
We are asking that you begin praying now for God to make the way clear for a church to be planted in Rio. The challenges are many but the major obstacles are the cost of living/planting a church in the city, as well as the spiritual climate that any church planter would be facing. Only a small minority within Rio, would claim to be Christians. Any church that is associated with the “evangelical” label would be lumped in with the negative feelings people have about the abuses of many neo-pentecostal churches in the area.
Rio, like many cities in the world, provide unique and difficult challenges for any church planter, but we are confident that God is preparing a work to be done in this great city. Join us in praying for God’s wisdom and discernment as we move forward in this venture. Pray that the Holy Spirit begins preparing hearts even now to turn away from their worship of creation and to turn their affections to the Creator. Pray that the joy and happiness that is directed toward the celebration of Carnival will be transformed into hands raised in celebration of their risen King. Pray for Rio de Janeiro.