In 2006, Anglican Bishop Miguel Uchoa was one of a small group of people that founded Church of the Holy Spirit in the Great Recife area in Brazil. Unlike many traditional Anglican churches, his leadership team had an open-minded approach to ministry and was receptive to new methods of reaching people for the Lord.
Within the community, the church was well received with its contemporary worship and members who were eager to serve. However, despite this local acceptance, Bishop Uchoa felt the church was operating without clear direction or purposeful goals.
A decade earlier, he had read The Purpose Driven Church and recalled the principles as a strategy for building a healthy church.
“I really thought it was something we should follow,” says Bishop Uchoa. “PD came to us as a key in the right door, especially because we were a new church with fresh minds.”
Capitalizing on this opportunity, he attended a Purpose Driven conference in Brazil, led by Pastor Rick Warren. The insight he gained there, along with materials and follow-up seminars, helped the Bishop and his staff fully understand that a healthy church is a balanced church.
Shifting their direction, they set up a strategic plan to launch new ministries centered on love and compassion. Their first outreach was to those in need, providing resources and services that could help them grow mentally and spiritually.
Bishop Uchoa’s church offered members of the community a variety of services including free childcare, professional courses, and sports training. The center, which they named “The House of Hope,” became their own expression of the PEACE Plan.
“We learned to set goals and to develop ministries with a purpose,” recalls the Bishop. “We also introduced the PD principles and the classes, which made a huge difference.”
In his experience with PD, the Bishop was most compelled by a new mindset for the church. Members learned to approach everyone with love, and to focus on the lost rather than on growth. The understanding was simplified, he says, with the five purposes and ways to achieve them in ministry.
Today, Church of the Holy Spirit leaders host classes for new Christians and people interested in becoming members, and utilize PD curriculum to supplement their own teaching including Foundations and 40 Days of Purpose. They even offer Celebrate Recovery, children’s programs, couple’s ministries, and community outreaches.
Now with over 2,000 people in their congregation, they have 35 ministries, five services, five church plants, and over 120 cell groups. They have future plans to add another service and add an extension in the northern part of the city. The results of PD are evident in terms of growth, commitment, and ministries.
“We are a church with inspirational worship and a solid program of one-to-one discipleship,” says Bishop Uchoa. “Our members focus on serving the needy, reaching the lost, and experiencing fellowship through cell groups. The most recent blessings have come through couples’ ministries developed to bring non-Christian families to the Lord.” (Photo credit: https://americananglican.org)