The Story of our Graduate Church

Pastor Derli preaching at the early Graduate Church
Pastor Derli preaching at the early Graduate Church

In 2004, Pastor Derli and Philip Smith noticed that after becoming young adults, many of our graduates found it difficult to fit in at a church outside our campus. Sadly, many stopped attending church altogether. After a meeting about this, Philip and Pastor Derli decided to start a church that understood our youth well and gave them the opportunity to grow up as servants of God. On February 16, 2005, Comunidade Evangélica Nova Esperança (New Hope Evangelical Community) was founded. We started out in a small children’s Sunday School room of a church in the neighborhood next to Hope Unlimited’s downtown office… a space that we quickly outgrew.

In 2006, we rented a slightly larger space in downtown Campinas, and we registered as an official church. With a larger location and attendance of local community members, our church continued to grow. After finishing the program at Hope Unlimited, our graduates began to hold leadership positions at the church. Some became part of the worship team, other youth leaders, others organized and led prayer meetings. Everything was going very well; we were fulfilling our mission, giving support to our young people leaving our program. However, we were running out of room again.

a worship service at the Graduate Church after it opened
Current location of the Graduate Church, before it was purchased by Hope Unlimited

One day, we visited the place where our church is today. It was a very large place downtown Campinas, easily accessible to our graduates, with plenty of potential, a big indoor sports complex with rooms next to it that could be used for worship services and other church activities. The only problem: it looked ugly, and to be sure that homeless people would stay away, the landlord let local drug traffickers use it to sell drugs and alcoholic drinks. There were also rooms used for prostitution.

In 2009, the week before the end of the contract, Pastor Derli reminded the church we only had R$50,000 (US$25,000), so we needed another R$350,000 (US$175,000) to purchase. Our church members accepted a challenge from Pastor Derli and, on Monday, we began fasting and praying for a miracle so we could buy the land. On Tuesday of the same week, Pastor Derli received a call from Philip, who was in the United States. Philip wanted to know if we had the money to purchase the land. Pastor Derli explained the situation and told him the whole church was in a week of fasting and praying.

Graduate Church members working to renovate our space
Worship service at our Graduate Church

Philip told Pastor Derli he would call him back later. After a few hours, Philip returned the call and told him someone in the United States wanted to deposit the needed R$350,000 (US$175,000) in the church’s bank account so we could buy the place. The donor only had one condition: he did not want to be identified. To this day the church does not know who this giver was. All we know is that he has contributed a lot to save lives for Christ. He has kept our young graduates in the house of God learning about Jesus, and teaching their children about the gospel as well. The church continued to grow because people were impacted by this miracle.

Currently, we have a worship team composed of several former Hope Unlimited students. We have several graduate members who go to church with their families. They watch their children go to Sunday school and learn about God from a very young age. Some of them are part of the youth leadership of the church. Children and teenagers from Hope also participate in church services on Sundays.

Child learning about Jesus in his Sunday School class at our Graduate Church

The Story of our Graduate Church

Pastor Derli preaching at the early Graduate Church
Pastor Derli preaching at the early Graduate Church

In 2004, Pastor Derli and Philip Smith noticed that after becoming young adults, many of our graduates found it difficult to fit in at a church outside our campus. Sadly, many stopped attending church altogether. After a meeting about this, Philip and Pastor Derli decided to start a church that understood our youth well and gave them the opportunity to grow up as servants of God. On February 16, 2005, Comunidade Evangélica Nova Esperança (New Hope Evangelical Community) was founded. We started out in a small children’s Sunday School room of a church in the neighborhood next to Hope Unlimited’s downtown office… a space that we quickly outgrew.

a worship service at the Graduate Church after it opened

In 2006, we rented a slightly larger space in downtown Campinas, and we registered as an official church. With a larger location and attendance of local community members, our church continued to grow. After finishing the program at Hope Unlimited, our graduates began to hold leadership positions at the church. Some became part of the worship team, other youth leaders, others organized and led prayer meetings. Everything was going very well; we were fulfilling our mission, giving support to our young people leaving our program. However, we were running out of room again.

Current location of the Graduate Church, before it was purchased by Hope Unlimited

One day, we visited the place where our church is today. It was a very large place downtown Campinas, easily accessible to our graduates, with plenty of potential, a big indoor sports complex with rooms next to it that could be used for worship services and other church activities. The only problem: it looked ugly, and to be sure that homeless people would stay away, the landlord let local drug traffickers use it to sell drugs and alcoholic drinks. There were also rooms used for prostitution.

Graduate Church members working to renovate our space

In 2009, the week before the end of the contract, Pastor Derli reminded the church we only had R$50,000 (US$25,000), so we needed another R$350,000 (US$175,000) to purchase. Our church members accepted a challenge from Pastor Derli and, on Monday, we began fasting and praying for a miracle so we could buy the land. On Tuesday of the same week, Pastor Derli received a call from Philip, who was in the United States. Philip wanted to know if we had the money to purchase the land. Pastor Derli explained the situation and told him the whole church was in a week of fasting and praying.

Worship service at our Graduate Church

Philip told Pastor Derli he would call him back later. After a few hours, Philip returned the call and told him someone in the United States wanted to deposit the needed R$350,000 (US$175,000) in the church’s bank account so we could buy the place. The donor only had one condition: he did not want to be identified. To this day the church does not know who this giver was. All we know is that he has contributed a lot to save lives for Christ. He has kept our young graduates in the house of God learning about Jesus, and teaching their children about the gospel as well. The church continued to grow because people were impacted by this miracle.

Child learning about Jesus in his Sunday School class at our Graduate Church

Currently, we have a worship team composed of several former Hope Unlimited students. We have several graduate members who go to church with their families. They watch their children go to Sunday school and learn about God from a very young age. Some of them are part of the youth leadership of the church. Children and teenagers from Hope also participate in church services on Sundays.

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