Brazil: “Extreme Fight” night at church

JP: From the New York Times: How NOT to Biblically build a church

Fight Nights and Reggae Pack Them in at Church

Excerpt:

The atmosphere was electric at Reborn in Christ Church on “Extreme Fight” night. Churchgoers dressed in jeans and sneakers, many with ball caps turned backward, lined a makeshift boxing ring to cheer on bare-chested jujitsu fighters.

They screamed when a fan favorite, Fábio Buca, outlasted his opponent after several minutes. They went wild when Pastor Dogão Meira, 26, took his man down, pinning him with an armlock just 10 seconds into the fight.

With the crowd still buzzing, Pastor Mazola Maffei, dressed in army pants and a T-shirt, grabbed a microphone. Pastor Maffei, who is also Pastor Meira’s fight trainer, then held the crowd rapt with a sermon about the connection between sports and spirituality.

“You need to practice the sport of spirituality more,” he urged. “You need to fight for your life, for your dreams and ideals.”

Reborn in Christ is among a growing number of evangelical churches in Brazil that are finding ways to connect with younger people to swell their ranks. From fight nights to reggae music to video games and on-site tattoo parlors, the churches have helped make evangelicalism the fastest-growing spiritual movement in Brazil.

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