A grand vision for Brazil, carried out by its youth

Human passion often is described in terms of fire or flames. “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire,” said the French WWI hero Ferdinand Foch.

If Carlos Calill Pires’ passion to see transformation in his country was a crackling campfire three years ago, today, it is a wildfire that cannot be contained. It leaps from person to person, like trees in a forest, electrifying communities and gaining momentum. The fuel that set it off was an encounter with DNA teachings in 2009.

“The DNA was an answer from God for our ministry,” says Carlos, a 27-year-old leader of the National Union of Christian Students (UNEC) in Brazil. “We realized that even our group had many Christian people without a biblical worldview. It means that we were working hard but with no great results, if we consider results as transformation of life.”

After hearing Darrow Miller speak at a conference in 2009, Carlos studied Discipling Nations, a book which continues to speak profoundly into the minds and hearts of God’s laborers worldwide. Then, he and some friends studied LifeWork, which examines how we glorify God with our daily tasks. “My life was so impacted that many concepts and ideas for UNEC were changed,” he says. “I realized that many efforts we had focused on were not effective.”

As a result, Carlos and his team contextualized the DNA teachings for their own UNEC community, requiring all UNEC leaders to be trained before beginning their work in society.

“I have a dream to see the church in Brazil discipling people to be agents of transformation in each area of Brazil,” Carlos says.

Taking it to the streets

“I can see churches nowadays worried to have a great number of people inside the temples,” says Carlos, “but they don’t worry to disciple those people in order to impact society.” To counter this, Carlos and his team equip other young people to use their professions to disciple their nation.

  • Teaching English >> While it is very expensive to study English in Brazil, knowing this language is a valuable asset. UNEC has built a partnership with a public school in the city of Belo Horizonte, selecting children from poor areas to receive top-quality education. “All the families selected to this project asked us why we do this,” says Carlos. “It is a great time to share love to the community!”
  • Discipling youth >> Through seminars and other trainings, youth learn how to practice biblical values in their homes and in civil society, choosing areas of the city to invest their gifts and start small projects.
  • Sports outreach >> 1,500 students at Christian schools learn about biblical worldview through two regional sports leagues.

Carlos’ group promotes sporting events to bring together students from various Brazilian Christian schools.

Taking it across the globe

The vision of Carlos and UNEC is so big that it busts through political borders. They are in the beginning stages of forming a Youth Leadership Exchange Program — a collaboration of Christian universities from several countries. Sharing ideas, debating global hot-button issues and critiquing each others’ work, these students of an ever-increasing global society will collaborate to become Christian leaders equipped for Kingdom work, whatever their professions may be.

Iron sharpening iron, the students will examine each others’ worldviews and form a solid web of next-generation leaders ready to transform their societies through the gospel.

Contact Carlos: E-mail cfpires1@yahoo.com.br

DNA’s work in Africa: Finalist for World Magazine award

Last week, World Magazine released this year’s finalists for its prestigious Hope Award for Effective Compassion, and we were so excited to see the work of Chris Ampadu, West Africa Coordinator for Samaritan Strategy Africa (SSA), selected as the only international ministry on the list!

Read the full article here.

Chris, a native of Ghana, was one of the first DNA trainers in Africa. After attending a Vision Conference in 1999, he walked away from a successful business career to be mentored by DNA co-founder Darrow Miller. He has been a highly effective trainer and mentor of church leaders in West Africa since. Today, Chris serves on staff with Harvest.

Chris (right) is on the leadership team of Samaritan Strategy Africa. SSA and DNA share the same mission: To encourage, prepare and equip local churches with a Christian worldview (mind-set) to carry out wholistic ministry in their communities.

Since 2005, Chris and his fellow SSA colleagues have worked to raise up indigenous training teams in every African nation. Since they began:

  • More than 400 African trainers have been certified
  • National training teams now exist in 26 African nations
  • More than 600 Vision Conferences have been conducted
  • Nearly 30,000 African pastors and church leaders have been trained
  • Thousands of Seed Projects have been implemented

These African leaders offer a shining example of DNA’s prayer to see local believers catch a vision for their communities and run with it in a way that multiplies impact.

The Hope Award began with 200 nominations, from which five finalists were selected. Each finalist received a $4,000 prize, and votes from the public will determine who wins the $21,000 grand prize.

World Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Marvin Olasky, and his wife saw Chris’ work first-hand earlier this year.

Click here to cast your vote by September 30!

SSA’s mission aligns perfectly with World Magazine’s criteria for the contest: “programs that are not just evangelical and not just economic, but unite body and soul.”

A full-length article in the September edition explains: “DNA sees Christian worldview teaching as the missing link between evangelism and economic development. Without that understanding, Africa’s Christianity takes a gnostic form, with extravagant worship on Sunday but no connection between that and their lives the rest of the week, or between the spiritual and the material.”

DNA is privileged to partner with Chris and SSA, acting as a behind-the-scenes catalyst and supporter for this movement which continues to gain speed. Just a few months ago, three new teams took root in Niger, Benin and Lesotho.

If you’d like to vote for Samaritan Strategy Africa to win this $21,000 prize, please do so here. To financially support the spread of a biblical worldview across Africa, give through our website (choose dropdown “DNA’s work in Africa”).

If you give $30 or more, we’ll send you a free copy of Against All Hope: Hope for Africa, written conjointly by the DNA and SSA.

An interview with Darrow Miller

Darrow Miller co-founded the DNA and has written several of its foundational books. If you’ve never had the chance to hear him speak, or if you want to better understand what the DNA is all about, click the video below, joining him for a conversation at his cabin in the mountains.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Christian Overman (founder of Worldview Matters) for a university course he teaches: “Increase Meaning: A Wholistic Approach To Christian Education.” Therefore, much of the conversation will be based on the intersection of faith and work.

Interested in Darrow’s book LifeWork?

A “new” way of evangelism takes root in West Africa

Indeed, wholistic ministry really is the oldest tool for evangelism–Jesus invented it. But in West Africa, where “open-air crusades” have been a preferred method for so many generations, today’s Christian leaders are discovering the power of extending Jesus’ love to the whole person, operating from a biblical worldview.

“The reception to our message was just overwhelming, and participants called for more time since it has been just a day’s vision casting,” says Chris Ampadu, a DNA partner working in Ghana.

In the past couple of months, Chris has helped conduct in Ghana:

  • a mentorship program for Christian professionals from six countries.
  • a training for 169 church leaders on “Love Action as a Tool for Evangelism.”
  • an annual Wholistic Club meeting with 10 leaders, each of whom has 30-60 members demonstrating God’s love in profound ways at the grassroots level.
  • presentations on wholistic ministry to more than 800 evangelistic leaders, followed by new plans for a four-day Vision Conference.

“A church elder from Katanga said [the church’s] demonstration of love to the needy and poor has shocked many people in the village such that two Moslems and three animist women have joined the club, saying they have never seen poor people coming out of their poverty to show such compassion and love,” Chris says.

From hobby to calling: An artist discovers the purpose for his talent

“Whatever art you produce, it’s for My glory.”

For most adults, a year and a half of unemployment could be recorded as a low point in life–a time of wandering, disappointment, perhaps even depression. But God is with us in the valleys, as Colombian artist Luis Sanin can attest, and sometimes that time of waiting is when God sculpts us more into his likeness.

A civil engineer for 22 years, after Luis was laid off, he returned to his long-held hobby of art.

“Reposo Salmo 23” (“Rest, Psalm 23”), oil on canvas, 2010.

“I started painting again,” he says, “and it was like if I would have caught a virus.”

Luis felt the Lord tell him very clearly, while in church one day, that this gift was to be used for the glory of God–an instruction he took seriously.

While developing his skill in the studio, Luis wrestled with just how to marry his talent with his faith in a way that would impact the world. He needed his abstract pieces to tell a story, to share an important message.

After much research, Luis became inspired by Makoto Fujimara, a Christian artist who shares his biblical worldview through his work. Luis then began to connect with other Christian artists in his home of Medellin, Colombia, and found the connection between the arts and worldview while serving as a language interpreter for Darrow Miller.

“I thank God for allowing people to intersect my life and end that drought I went through,” says Luis, whose “flood of ideas” has led to local art shows and the sale of various paintings.

“Lluvia Acida” (“Acid Rain”), acrylic on canvas, 2009. Some of Luis’ pieces speak to the biblical command of environmental stewardship.

For him, however, it’s not about the sales and the critics. “I can have communion with God when I paint,” says Luis. “It’s a way of worship. I can have communion with the Trinity reflecting on how they brought about creation, inspiring and calling us to be culture makers in their image and likeness and advancing it through the span of our lives.”

Luis says Darrow Miller’s book LifeWork has been foundational in giving purpose to his passion. “Whenever I paint something,” he says, “I ask the question, ‘What am I trying to paint here? Can fellow Christians and non-Christians relate to this, and will it resonate with their lives?’”

He echoes chapter eight in LifeWork, saying Christians are called to create Kingdom culture in the world, as culture is simply a reflection of what a society worships, and his art is a tool to help the Church assume that calling.

“Una Mano” (“A Hand”), mixed media on cardboard, 2010. Luis created this piece after being laid off; he says he felt God taking care of him and picking him up.

After a year and a half, Luis found a new job, but the journey to get there set his life in a whole new direction.

Luis lives with his wife and two daughters in Medellin, Colombia. Peruse his blog at luissanin.blogspot.com, or contact him by e-mailing saninforero@gmail.com.

Two inspiring videos from the LifeWork Gathering

Earlier this month, eight Christian leaders from around the world gathered at Darrow Miller’s home in the mountains for nine days to discuss and apply the teachings of his book LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day. It was a rich time of relationship building, dreaming, and planning how to take these important messages into each person’s respective community.

To get a sense of the impact of this book on some of its readers, check out these short video clips….

Living Coram Deo (Before the Face of God)

Pastor Jairo Diaz (in white shirt) from Bogota, Colombia discusses what it means to live “Coram Deo” — before the face of God — as discussed in chapter five of the DNA book LifeWork.

All Work is Worship

Pastor Mark Dean of Sienna Ranch Baptist Church in Texas explains why there is no distinction in God’s Kingdom between sacred and secular work.

Teaching, encouraging and bringing God’s healing to believers in Chile

In June, Darrow spent two busy weeks in Chile building relationships with leaders at a local ministry called the Oikonomos Studies Center and engaging with about 350 university students, several pastors and about 500 women from congregations all over the nation.

At the Catholic University of Chile in the capital city of Santiago, he taught seminars titled “Facing the City: A Christian Perspective on Transformation” and “Mind, Exclusion and Poverty.” At the Alberto Hurtado University, he taught “The Christian’s Role in Contemporary Society” — all courses that speak to the local church’s role as God’s primary change-agent.

Angel Tapia (right), the executive director of the Oikonomos Studies Center in Santiago, arranged these sessions and said Darrow’s books are “a ‘wildfire’ in hundreds of young people eager to see the glory of God manifested on earth.”


Oikonomos is a group of Chilean university students and professionals who long to see a social and cultural transformation from a perspective of the Kingdom of God. Born in 2011, the group conducts conferences, seminars and the magazine “Oikonomos” in order to summon their generation to revive the church as a change-agent in modern Chilean society.

Darrow said spending time with these young people was the highlight of his trip. “The students represent the future of Chile,” he says. “To find a group of Chilean students who have a vision for transforming their country, that was pretty powerful.”

From there, Darrow hopped a plane to the city of Temuco, fulfilling an invitation from the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Over the course of several days and while enduring a nasty cold, he taught Alliance pastors from all over Chile and presented to groups of women their true value as God’s creations–the message from his book Nurturing the Nations.


Darrow proclaimed the truth that both men and women are made in the image of God; all have dignity and honor, and all are to be treated with respect.

For the women in this traditionally sexist Chilean culture, to hear these ideas–especially coming from a man–was earth-shaking. Many took home the Spanish version of Darrow’s Book: Opresion de la Mujer, Pobreza y Desarrollo.


For most of these women, this was their first time hearing about God’s plan for male-female relationships and its corruption by the Fall. They learned about being co-heirs of God’s kingdom–not property of their husbands–and about the tender, maternal heart of God.

As Darrow reported, God’s work through these sessions brought up old wounds that now can begin to heal, “setting free” many women from from a great deal of pain.