Brazilians are known for being loud, fun-loving and passionate. That might be a stereotype, but it seems to match a spiritual trend that is rocking South America's largest country. Last weekend, an estimated 140,000 Brazilian young people made some serious noise when they jammed into three stadiums in the cities of Sao Paulo and Brasilia.
"Brazilians are the happiest people in the world. We party for anything!" said Felipe Amorim, 29, who was born in Brazil but has lived in Florida most of his life. He and his wife attended The Send in Sao Paulo last week because they heard that a huge spiritual revival is growing there. "Seeing people worshipping Jesus in Brazil was a huge joy for me," Amorim added.
The Send is a movement designed to mobilize the next generation for global missionary work. So many young people registered for the event at the Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo that a second venue had to be secured. Word on the street was that the event sold out faster than the U2 concert held in the same arena in 2017. Organizers said 1.7 million people watched The Send on the Portuguese livestream.
At the rally at the National Stadium the capital city of Brasilia, the nation's president, Jair Bonsonaro, showed up and announced that Brazil belongs to God. Young people cheered when he told them he is a believer in Jesus.
Although Brazil has struggled with socialism, poverty and political scandal for decades, there are noticeable positive trends these days. Churches are growing, and huge numbers of youth are fueling a passionate revival movement that is spilling into the streets. President Bonsonaro, who was elected in 2018, is a cultural conservative whose policies have triggered a reviving economy as well as a crackdown on crime.
And even though well-known preachers like Daniel Kolenda, Francis Chan, Christine Caine, Todd White, Randy Clark and dozens of Brazilian leaders spoke at the event in Sao Paulo on February 8, Amorim said the growing revival in Brazil isn't about personalities. "There will not be one person or one ministry leading this revival," he said. "It's God leading it with ordinary people."
The Send underscores what mission researchers have noticed about Brazil for a decade. It is the fifth largest nation in the world and is already at least 22% evangelical Christian. It is the base for hundreds of mission organizations. And leaders in Brazil believe they will soon surpass the United States as the world's leading missionary sending nation in the 21st century.
Josh Lindquist, a 35-year-old revivalist from Minnesota, has made many trips to Brazil and preaches often in conferences there. He says The Send Brazil was three times larger than the previous event held in Orlando, Florida, a year ago—and that the volume was much louder.
"When the rain started falling, the youth started dancing, and you could literally feel the stadium shaking," Lindquist said. "When the Brazilians worship, there is not a dry eye in the place. They worship Jesus stronger than football fans cheer for their teams."
Lindquist, who leads a ministry called Global Revival Harvest, says Brazil's revival has some unique characteristics, including:
Deep, heartfelt worship. "The songs they sing in Brazil are like anthems, they capture your heart. And people get saved just from listening to the music," Lindquist says. Popular Brazilian worship artist Ana Paula has led worship for crowds of up to 2 million people.
—Street evangelism is often led by youth. One well-known movement known as Ceu Na Terra (Heaven on Earth) is transforming whole neighborhoods. Youth venture into the streets to preach, worship and pray for people, and they even take their message inside nightclubs. "A lot of the nightclubs have become places of Bible study and prayer," Lindquist said.
—Baptists are fully open to the Holy Spirit. In Brazil, "Bapticostal" is a norm. Baptists who embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit are known as "renewed Baptists"—and their churches have grown exponentially. One of the most famous, Lagoinha Baptist in Belo Horizonte, has grown to 82,000 members and now has branch churches in dozens of cities in Brazil, Europe and the United States.
At the end of The Send Brazil, attendees took off their shoes and raised them to heaven, pledging before God in their bare feet that they will take the gospel to the nations. This, Lindquist said, is the reason Brazil will be a spiritual powerhouse in the coming years.
"The fire of the Holy Spirit was already burning here," Lindquist said. "God sent The Send to encourage the Brazilians to export that fire. Brazil will be a key nation for global missions. It is one of the greatest global hot spots on earth."
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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