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Discipling Nations in Brazil
Brazil is a country blessed not only with natural wonders, from Iguazú Falls to the Amazon Basin, but a growing spiritual momentum as well. It is home to the largest population of Portuguese speakers globally and boasts being the second largest sender of missionaries in the world today. Our team leader there, Sergio Coutinho, began in 2013 translating many of our materials into Portuguese. His team of three has grown with wisdom and encouragement in the call to disciple the nations.
Katherine Gallagher, GoStrategic’s Executive Director, shares on the partnership, “It’s been a joy to work with Sergio over the years both in the Portuguese translation project and in the work of establishing our schools in Brazil. The additions of Daniel and Steve have formed a powerful team with a passion for their country and the people of Brazil. Both Bruce Billington, our International Relational Director, and I enjoy regular Zoom meetings with the Brazil team alongside our other leaders in Latin and Central America. As these relationships grow, they bring shared encouragement, collective problem solving, and a pulse on what God is doing throughout the region.”
Sergio’s passion for learning goes back to the late 1980s when he was seeking to understand the success of Japanese administration techniques. As a new Christian, his interests in business and the Kingdom began to intersect, and he found particular revelation in the verse of John 12:24:
Truly, truly, I say to you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it stays alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.
As he read this, the Lord gave him a vision about the direct relationship between company management and the way people deal with family issues. He shares, “I understood that success in life starts with the death of the ego and living to serve others. In all the companies that I provided services, and in the three companies I worked as an executive, I experienced resistance to changes and noticed that the causes of internal disputes were due to pride, vanity, and selfishness which resulted in waste and unproductiveness.”
In 2004, when Sergio received a copy of Dennis Peacocke’s book, Doing Business God’s Way, from one of the leaders of Verbo Christian Church, it struck a strong chord within him. Sergio recalls, “I noticed that the book dealt with greater propriety and scope of the same subject that I felt from God to write.” Four years later, after attending a two-day seminar by Dennis, he concluded, “I was convinced that it was God’s will for the book and all the school’s material to be implemented in Brazil.” In 2009, he coordinated the translation and editing of two of Dennis’ books, Doing Business God’s Way and Winning the Battle for the Minds of Men.
In 2011, Steve Burkhalter and his wife, Angie, who at the time served as Directors of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Fortaleza, were also becoming involved with GoStrategic, having found a synchronicity of views relating to the ministry focus of biblical worldview. They were extremely encouraged and excited to have discovered resources in Portuguese that taught about many of the things they had learned from God through both their personal work experience and from the YWAM School of the Bible. Steve recalls their introduction to the audio series, Worldview for the Marketplace and the book, Doing Business God’s Way. “They had a profound impact on my life, family, and ministry and greatly added to my biblical worldview teaching and training arsenal. For the next several years, we conducted numerous weekend seminars based on the book and continued distributing and promoting it as a valuable learning and transformation resource to pastors, missionaries, church leaders, businessmen, and believers in general.”
The distribution and teaching of the materials ultimately reached far beyond Brazil. After connecting with Carlos Orellana in Guatemala, the Burkhalters were able to acquire Spanish translations as well, which they brought to numerous other countries, such as Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Chile. For a while, they even had a regular flow of books going into Cuba. In 2013, Steve, now a Director of YWAM’s Nations to Nations ministry (N2N), joined Sergio to begin the work of implementing the Business Leadership School in Brazil.
Daniel Villarinho de Barros was one of the first students to participate when the school commenced in 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. Daniel officially joined the team in 2017, helping Sergio further adapt the methodology of the business school courses for the Brazilian culture. In coordination with the International Office, the Portuguese translations have incorporated appropriate modifications that take cultural differences into account, making the content more applicable to its audience and allowing for greater transformation in the minds and hearts of those putting it into practice.
Daniel shares of his experience, “I could write pages and pages related to how GoStrategic blessed me, but something that was a real mind changer for me was understanding mediating grace—that we grow in God by caring for people and things. Everything changed when I understood this. Such powerful blessing came in all my relationships with people and Jesus. Something I had difficulty dealing with were problems. Problems always got me stressed out. I did not develop my work and relationships as I would like to. After the business school, I could understand problems as Jesus wants. Now I look for problems because I am the salt and the light, as Christ, and we have to bring solutions with the spiritual wisdom God gave us. I also received promotions in my job and other organizations that I have been leading.”
Sergio attributes much of the success of the business school in Brazil to Daniel serving as his “right hand” and Steve coordinating the implementation of the school in the northeast region of Brazil. What began in his mind as a project for the future has become a relevant and “now” part of God’s plan for bringing Kingdom transformation to Brazil.
Sergio explains, “The agenda of Brazil’s President showed me that God has a plan for Brazil now. In 2020 I discovered that God was awakening other leaders in Brazil: jurists, men in the Civil Government, and educators with the same vision. We are currently training coaches, seeking alliances, and introducing the school to other leaders to collaborate with them on empowering Christians to become agents of transformation. In 2021, we plan to train 100 influencers and apply the second-year course, GoBusiness200, for the first time in Brazil. An inaugural group will also be starting translation work on the School of Strategic Living’s GoLife100 worldview course.”
GoStrategic is blessed to be included in these strategic partnerships. God is moving greatly in Brazil, yet there remains much spiritual warfare in the culture, in the political arena, and over the hearts of the people, so we invite you to keep Brazil and the business school in your prayers.
A Young Pastor and the Power of Doing Business God’s Way
Steve Burkhalter shares the compelling testimony of a young pastor and the power of doing business God’s way:
A few years ago, a very discouraged young pastor asked to meet with me and shared his frustration about his “secular” work and asked me to pray for God to open a door for him to be in “full-time” ministry like me. I laughed and shared with him some of my personal testimony and told him he didn’t need to leave his job and dedicate one hundred percent of his time to working with his congregation to be in full-time ministry. I gave him a copy of Doing Business God’s Way and prayed with him. He thanked me and left.
Several months later, he came to visit and related the crazy turn of events that had happened. After our initial conversation, he began reading the book and thinking about the things I had shared with him. He began to have conviction of a wrong attitude about work, so he repented. He decided to quit talking about God in his workplace and focus on doing a good job in his labors and responsibilities. Amazingly, he began to actually enjoy his work. After a couple of months, coworkers began to seek his council and ask for prayer. Before, he always tried talking to them about church and God, but they were never interested. He concluded they were all wretched heathens not open to anything about God. But, now he realized he had been the problem.
Just as things began to go really well, he made a costly error on the job. The owner called him to give account, and he was sure he was going to be terminated. Before, he would have seen this as God answering his prayer to leave the business world. Now, he was saddened to lose his job. The man told his boss that he made a mistake, and it was his own fault, then asked what he needed to do to take responsibility for the losses. The boss seemed surprised and asked if he was sure that’s what happened. He confirmed, and the boss dismissed him from the meeting. The next day, the man found an envelope on his desk with a note from the boss to come to his office. Flight tickets were in the envelope in his name. His boss said to him, “You lied to me yesterday when you said the error was your fault.” He thought to himself, Before maybe, but not now. I told the absolute truth. The boss continued, “The error you committed was due to lack of proper training, and that is my fault, not yours. So, I’m sending you to São Paulo for that training, and I have a proposal for you. In the twenty-plus years of running this company, you are the first employee to take responsibility for an error without blaming someone else. Do you believe you can help train other workers around here to take responsibility for themselves? If you can help me with that, there are no limits to how much this business can grow.” He accepted the challenge and was promoted to a high-level management position. A few years later, he was promoted again to manage a much larger operation in São Paulo due to his successful “pastoral” management skills. Before, he dreaded Mondays and longed for the weekend all week long so he could serve God and be with God’s people. Now, he says that Monday is his favorite day of the week and his primary role as pastor is in the marketplace.
Master Class on Biblical Justice
Author Scott David Allen of Disciple Nations Alliance is a welcome voice on one of the hottest topics in our culture today. His book, Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice, addresses a set of ideas rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxist critical theory which have permeated society on every level. Allen contrasts the core presuppositions of a biblical worldview with those underpinning the ideological social justice worldview and provides a godly perspective on achieving genuine justice, mercy, forgiveness, social harmony, and human dignity. Allen dissects this sensitive and complicated subject with wisdom, grace, and clarity, balanced with an easy writing style that audiences of all ages can digest.
GoStrategic is offering a Master Class with the author to alumni of our GoBusiness and GoLife schools. If you are not a graduate, we invite you to purchase the book for self study!
School Enrollment Open Now!
Your prayers are appreciated for:
- The team in Brazil as they finalize the business School in Portuguese
- Translation of the GoLife curriculum into Spanish
- Publication of On the Destiny of Nations book into Spanish
- Formation of GoStrategic’s School of Kingdom Citizenship
- Prayer covering over GoStrategics’s staff, board, school facilitators, and students in the US and abroad
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support!