The Far-Reaching Gift of Encouragement

Formacao Continua (FOCO) // Brasil

“…encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

God’s Word is clear: we are to encourage and support one another! When we do, the benefits can be far-reaching – affecting not only those who serve, but those who are recipients of their service. Yet a profound challenge exists for those who live in an area where encouragement and support are nearly non-existent. Such was the case with Guilherme — a young man with a joyful countenance and a sincere heart for ministry, but little equipping.

Guilherme is from the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brasil. He’s been married for five years and has a young family of his own. Today he is active in ministry, serving as a youth leader in Brasa Church in Porto Alegre. He’s also responsible for a formation system within the church and serves as a New Member Course Coordinator. Guilherme’s journey of being equipped, encouraged, and built up for ministry began to flourish when the Lord led him to FOCO.

FOCO was started by Pastor Daniel Lima and TeachBeyond member Arthur Lupion. In partnership they began Formacao Continua (Continuous Formation — “FOCO”) for the purpose of offering encouragement and mentorship to pastors and leaders in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. This area, known for being one of the least-reached with the gospel, has also been called a “graveyard of pastors.” Worn out and deeply discouraged by the people’s lack of response in this area, pastors and church leaders have often dropped out of ministry. They desperately needed training and education along with persistent encouragement.

As God provided for Guilherme through FOCO, he has been able to receive what so many pastors and church leaders before him did not have the opportunity to experience. In 2018 Guilherme was given the ability to continue his education (encountering significant obstacles earlier, he had dropped out) and entered the master’s degree studies program started by FOCO. These studies form an independent Master in Ministry program, giving those who complete it not only significant training with its mentoring and theological content, but also a citation to include on their resumes as an extension program.

Not only has Guilherme benefited from this program, but, of course, those involved in his ministries have benefited as well. And it doesn’t stop there. Guilherme’s enthusiastic endorsement of the program has encouraged others in his area to also participate in the course. Four members of his church have already followed in his footsteps and, for one who could not afford to pay for the course, TeachBeyond was able to provide a scholarship.

Far-reaching. That’s what encouragement and the building up of others for the Kingdom does. It affects lives and multiplies. That’s a powerful thing! It can turn a “graveyard” into a garden.

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