Biblical Counseling in Brazil

May 13, 2016

Sacha Alexandre Mendes

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Sacha Alexandre Mendes

BCC Staff: In today’s post you will hear from one of the presenters at the upcoming BCC Global Summit. Sacha relays how biblical counseling has affected the churches in Brazil. We urge to sign up for the Global Summit, where you can learn more about biblical counseling’s impact in other parts of the world as well.

Since Pentecost, the gospel has reached a multitude of individuals from different peoples. The gospel has created an international community from a variety of ethnic groups. This gospel community reflects and proclaims the same Savior wherever you are in the globe. It is unity in the midst of diversity.

Hearing the doings of God in the lives of our global community has a refreshing effect upon our hearts. It reminds us that we are not alone and God is alive! It shows the extent of our family in Christ and how rich is the grace of God (Colossians 1:3-8).

What you are about to read is a simple digest version of how the gospel of Jesus Christ is spreading in Brazil through the advancement of biblical counseling. It is a simple story of how the biblical counseling movement is growing in a context different from yours. It reminds that the growth of the Church goes back to the gospel, not to political or geographical boundaries. This is news from your brothers and sisters in Christ that happen to live in Brazil.

The Same Origin

The modern biblical counseling movement has its origins in names such as Dr. Jay Adams. The history behind this man and his generation are familiar inside the biblical counseling movement. His books have served many biblical counselors. His ministry is a starting point to much of the current practices in biblical counseling and soul care ministries—a great legacy. When Adams’s books began to be translated into Portuguese, they had a tremendous impact upon leaders in Brazil at the 1980s. Many pastors have made drastic ministry decisions because of Competent to Counsel and similar writings.

Writing was not the only form of legacy. For example, in 1988, Pr. Bill Goode and Dr. Bob Smith came to Brazil to train pastors and missionaries with the same material that Faith Church (Lafayette, IN) uses in its biblical counseling training conferences. Conference after conference, gathering after gathering, I meet pastors and leaders who have their initial contact with biblical counseling through these means.

It Started Small

The exposure to writings and some training created an intense desire to minister God’s sufficient Word among Brazilian pastors. Isolated from each other because of ministry circumstances, pastors used what they had to shepherd God’s flock. They were men under the conviction of the sufficiency of the Word of God. Some created a counseling culture among their churches; others created counseling ministries, focused on providing biblical counseling, training people, and publishing resources. Igreja Batista da Fé (Pr. Flávio Ezaledo), Igreja Batista Adonai (Pr. Fernando Sousa), and Igreja Batista Maranata (Pr. Edison Naves) are examples of the former. Igreja Batista Pedras Vivas (Pr. Jayro Cáceres) is an example of the latter.

As a significant part of this story, there is Pr. Bill Moore. “Bill” has served Brazil for many years as a missionary. In 1987, he had an initial desire to organize an association of Brazilian biblical counselors patterned after ACBC (formerly known as NANC). The desire had to wait until native pastors were ready enough to engage in such a project. The group founded the “Brazilian Association of Biblical Counselors” (a.k.a. ABCB) in 2000. Since then, ABCB has worked to train people in biblical counseling and has been working to certify people (work in progress).

Although this is a brief summary of biblical counseling, let me emphasize that I do not have the ability to summarize all that took place in Brazil for the last 40 years in regards to biblical counseling. The sufficiency of Scriptures has permeated different churches and affected several individuals. There is a stream of biblical counseling in different denominations right now.

At the end of the day, biblical counseling is now a common term and concept in the midst of several ministries. Yes, we have a long journey ahead of us, but God is working down here! As the gospel advances, the Church in Brazil has matured to recognize the depth and width of the applications of the gospel in shepherding the Church: biblical counseling!