Lar Resgate (Rescue House) is a children’s home run by a dear couple, Carlos and Hulda, in Sao Paulo. The fourteen kids under their care are precious children in need of wound healing and esteem building. They have been abused and thrown away by parents. They need love. They need resources.

Carlos and Hulda trudged the children through more than a dozen churches in search for assistance. Each time, they were allowed to make a presentation. Each time, they were sent off with a prayer. Each time, the pastor made no plea to the congregation to get involved with hands or pocketbooks.

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(Image: Carlos presenting us with the vision for a new children’s home)

Two churches eventually did respond to the call with ongoing support, but the vast majority turned an inward-looking eye away from the children and the need.

Carlos is currently receiving theological training at a local seminary. When he approached his very own church for help, the response was that the church would only participate if he attended one of their denominational seminaries. The difference between the two denominations was almost nonexistent – two branches of the same tradition – yet it was enough to cast him as being in a ‘different camp.’

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(Image: The children of Lar Resgate – caught in the middle of unresponsive churches)

Another area pastor told Carlos that, because he was even asking for money, God evidently wasn’t blessing his ministry. He therefore refused to participate. A convenient excuse. But even when Carlos received a huge donation the very next week, that same pastor obviously didn’t come knocking on the door to contribute.

We have heard many similar stories while here in Brazil. The national Church is comprised of a lot of untrained pastors who are too busy building their own empires to respond to the advancement of the kingdom of God. They believe themselves to be superstars (like their Brazilian soccer player counterparts) and give themselves glorified titles – Bishop, Archbishop, Apostle, Father-Apostle, and even Archangel – regardless of the size or effectiveness of their church or ministries. According to a good source, one prominent denomination of 12 million people gave less than a measly $25,000 to global outreach last year. Pathetic. Shameful.

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(Image: No laughing matter. Children like these need the support of the local church)

Like the Brazilian national soccer team, these ‘superstar’ pastors also don’t play well together. They are more interested in their own name and status than in the overall status of Christ in their communities and country. The common goal isn’t the magnification of the Lord Most High, but the attention and wealth they accrue for themselves.

It’s not supposed to be this way. The Church is supposed to be…well…the Church.

Brazil has seven million street children and a half million underage prostitutes. Children are being sold as lifetime sex slaves for as little as $200 in its northern regions. Now is not the time for pompous primadona pastors, poor teamwork, and ineffective churches not engaged in outreach. Now is not the time for investing in our own ministry fiefdoms.

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(Image: Living on the streets of Sao Paulo)

The greatest opportunity of our time is at hand. Now is the time to get in the game as a well-trained, well-coordinated diversity of One.

God has no time or patience for primadonas. Too many children’s lives – temporal and eternal – are at stake.

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(Image: The children of Lar Resgate work well together. Why can’t we?)