EXCLUSIVE: Teo Hayashi Talks Spirit-Filled Explosion in South America

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The Holy Spirit is moving among this generation in miraculous ways. Charisma reached out to nine “new voices” who are advancing the kingdom of God around the world. Each story is featured in our Charisma January issue, and we’ve posted the transcripts below. This interview has been edited for grammar and clarity. For the full interview, be sure to download the podcast.

Teo Hayashi started his ministry as a missionary at YWAM in 2000. After serving on the mission field in Asia, he spent five years serving as one of the ministers of Kingsley Fletcher in the U.S. and then returned to Brazil in 2008 to serve as one of the pastors at Mount Zion Church. In the same year he returned to Brazil, he founded a paraecclesiastical ministry called Dunamis Movement, of which he is currently the leader. In 2013, he became the senior pastor at Mount Zion Church in Sao Paulo.

Can you give a little bit of a rundown of your ministry: What it is that you do in the body of Christ?

I’m actually talking to you from Brazil. Maybe 10 years ago, I felt the Lord call me back to my country of origin, which is Brazil. I was living in North Carolina and moved down here really to see the university campuses here as a mission field, so the Lord’s been doing amazing things in the body of Christ in Brazil.

We’ve been experiencing awakening; we’ve been experiencing church growth; we’ve seen the supernatural in a very palpable way—I would say even a natural way, but one thing we dream of seeing, and we’re yet to see, is nationwide transformation and transformation that only the gospel can actually bring to this nation. So as we speak today, we’re 60 million people who profess being Christians, but at the same time, our country is not in good shape. We have a lot of corruption, social injustice, even though we are full of megachurches.

Maybe 12 years ago, I was in prayer asking the Lord, “Lord, what’s the next step you know for our country, for my country?”

And the Lord actually asked me “Are you”—this is kind of funny because the Lord does those kinds of things—I felt the Lord just ask me, “Are you in this for the American dream or the kingdom dream?”

And I said, “Lord, the kingdom dream for sure.”

And he asked me once again, “Are you in this for the kingdom dream or the American dream?”

And I said, “Lord, the kingdom dream.”

And when he asked me the third time, I just knew exactly what he was asking me to do.

I was about to become an American citizen. I was about to take over a church of 2,000-plus members in North Carolina. I was supposed to pretty much build my life in America.

And I felt the Lord saying, “I brought you to this nation to get prepared to actually take you back.”

So I gave up my process of citizenship and moved back to Brazil.

Once I landed in Brazil, I felt the Lord saying to me, “Go into the campuses. Reach the future leaders of society with the gospel, with the kingdom gospel, and make sure that we’re just not packing out venues. That we’re actually putting kingdom people with kingdom DNA in strategic places in society.”

And that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years.

Dunamis Movement is actually campus ministry. We’re full-on revival, but we’re also full-on reformation. We’re in 240 universities in Brazil. We have also universities that we’ve been reaching outside Brazil—a few in Europe, a few in South America and beginning in North America as well. So we do that with weekly meetings that we call Dunamis pockets, and we also have gatherings and conferences. So basically, that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years.

And as you’ve been doing that over the last decade, what have you been seeing the Holy Spirit doing in Brazil?

We’ve been experiencing a lot of the moves of the Holy Spirit. We’re talking to 20-somethings, so Millennials, and lately going into Gen Z. This generation is very analytical. So I would say that a lot of them are having a blast in revival meetings and conferences, but it’s a matter of time for them to come back with questions like, “All right, we had an amazing meeting. It was a Holy Spirit blowout. It was heaven on earth. But what are we going to do about human trafficking? What are we gonna do about the drug trafficking? What are we doing about the crime rate that doesn’t go down?”

And so I say that we’ve been seeing a lot of activity within the sphere of church, but also an awakening of the church to understand that we need to take the kingdom to the seven mountains of society, that we need to take the kingdom to basically to a point where we will not only disciple people or disciple a church but disciple a nation.

What is going on in Brazil that we in America can be praying for, can be interceding for right now?

You know, I would say that anything that has to do with taking kingdom message and kingdom power outside church world.

I was listening to Loren Cunningham, one of my heroes of the faith, last month, speaking at a conference in the Silicon Valley, and he was talking about education and how the Protestant Reformation was so key, you know, with the press and printing out Bibles, and then basically building up Western civilization. As you look at the West, I would say church in North America and in Europe, there has been something that till today societies of Western civilizations are gleaning from, which are social structures that were built upon biblical principles. It comes down to education.

And one of the things that we did was … we took education away from church and put it into government hands. So for us right now, we need help in building schools, building universities. We need help in getting biblical principles that were supposed to be something that the church should be championing through education, and how would it look like for the Brazilian church to put that in practice in the business world, in the educational world, in the arts, entertainment?

I’d say our American brothers, and I would say our European brothers, have had more experiencing in discipling a nation. And therefore they are today, they have societies that would be considered more developed and more civilized, because they’re based on biblical principles. And that you can trace it all back to the Protestant Reformation.

We in Latin America are in a point where we’re learning big churches don’t necessarily mean that we’ll disciple the nation or society. So how do we get the kingdom principles that are inside our church and put it to the rest of society? So for sure, prayer, but also, you know, when we think about missions in these nations, I would say it has to go beyond just church world. It has to go beyond just church planning. It has to impose business, it has to involve [things like] how do we raise up political leaders who are standing up for kingdom principles in politics? Same thing in the academic world. Same thing in the arts and entertainment. Same thing in education.

So I would say, not necessarily missionaries who will church-plant—and that’s awesome, and we’re all about that. But I would say educators, I would say people who will train up political leaders, I would say people who will disciple business leaders in kingdom principles. I think that’s key.

One thing that I’ve heard, especially about Latin American countries, and maybe you can confirm this for me, is that the charismatic and Spirit-filled churches are really growing and exploding down there.

They are.

Can you talk about that a little bit? Because I think in America, it’s growing. But it’s not like the biggest thing in church.

Yeah, you know, charismatic churches and Spirit-filled churches are the fastest growing churches in Latin America. And I can speak for sure about Brazil, I would say in the last 20 years, the Brazilian evangelical population went from maybe 15 percent to maybe now 40 to 45 percent of the Brazilian population. And 80 percent of that is Spirit-filled. And the reason being is—well, there’s a few.

One, I’d say the main thing is our message. We really believe in the power of God for now. It’s not a theory, it’s practice. And I know Charisma magazine believes in that. You as an organization, you believe in that. I was brought up in a Spirit-filled church, and our church and our ministry are Spirit-filled. And we really have a passion to see the power of God move in a tangible way. So when people come to church, it’s not theory; it’s theory and practice.

We get in the Word, but we also want to experience healings, we want to experience deliverance, people being touched, being renewed. And so that, of course, is powerful. And I would say across the board, any country you go to, if you have a church that is preaching Bible, good sound doctrine, but also allowing people to experience the move of the Spirit in a palpable way, there’s no other other option but growth. People are going to be built up in their faith, and it’s going to grow. So that’s one.

I would say another one, too, is that there’s felt need. So people are coming to church because they’re not comfortable. There is a necessity for you to seek the Holy Spirit. Maybe you have a relative who’s sick, and you don’t have enough money for medical insurance. So it’s either you get healed, or you remain sick. So, I mean, the desperation actually draws the Lord to move his hand towards your direction. And so I would say, there are felt needs. A lot of people are coming, because they need a word from God, because they’re very hopeless. Unfortunately, they’re living in a condition, in a situation, that if it’s not by a divine touch, they don’t have any other hope. So I would say, one, the power of the gospel that is so strong and so sought-after actually creates momentum, and that momentum is creating this growth that we’ve been experiencing.

So yes, it is true, there’s been immense growth and primarily within the charismatic and Spirit-filled churches.

How did you connect with The Send?

Andy Byrd, the key leader for our executive team, is a longtime friend. I actually went through YWAM as part of my missionary train with youth with a mission in Kona and so I had that connection, but also I would say, you know, just watching what the Lord did with TheCall. I was involved with TheCall in years past, and Lou Engle, and I was deeply impacted by that. I’ve always known we were mobilizing people with TheCall for something beyond TheCall.

TheCall was just a means to an end. And that’s kind of how I see The Send: it is a means to an end. And it’s not an end in itself. Packing out a stadium is not an end in itself. It’s actually I’d say a trigger point to something much greater. And so Andy and I, we share that desire, that dream, and Andy reached out to me to be part of this team because he really felt that, you know—and I’m also a firm believer that this next wave of missions will not look like the previous one.

We’re coming to a point right now in Latin America that most Western missionaries are actually packing up their stuff and leaving, because after decades of work, a lot of these countries have been Christianized, and so with that comes a responsibility upon ourselves. So now that we’ve been Christianized, what are we going to be doing about the burden of missions and the Great Commission? Maybe we have role to play in that. And I totally think that way.

I think the next wave of missions will not be necessarily the Western church going into the darkest places of the world, even though I know that will continue. But there are a lot of places where I see the move of the Lord. You know, I recently was in Asia, and there’s something happening in Southeast Asia that’s very … it’s incredible to see how the Lord is moving there. We’ve heard so many stories of Africa and South America and Eastern Europe.

These are regions of the world that have been used to receiving missionaries, but I believe these are the places where the Lord will actually raise up a new wave of missions, and unfortunately a lot of places that sent missionaries to us, like Europe, for instance, have become a mission field. And so I believe it’s our responsibility, as we’ve received so much from these people, to give back to the nations. So that’s why I believe I was part of or invited to be part of The Send because I believe The Send will become—you know, it’s more than just a packed-out stadium with passionate young people worshipping and saying yes to the mission field. It’s about a movement. It’s about a domino effect that will embrace other races, other cultures, other nations, and I really believe it’s going to be worldwide for the young generation.

But we will see, you know, that Lord is actually sending us. We’ve called for years for a move of the Lord. The Lord has actually allowed us to experience that, but we need to do something with that now. I’m always challenged by Acts 2:14, where it says that Peter stood up and spoke. It’s amazing for us to get slain in the Spirit and just be knocked out under the power; but for me, the key thing is for you to get up and have something to say and keep that move going. So I believe that’s what The Send is all about.

Given that you’re 38, what are you seeing among your generation for the future?

Well I would say in terms of the Spirit-filled church and charismatic church, we’ve celebrated revival for so much. We celebrated awakening, the supernatural, the prophetic, and we’ve become really good in awakening. We’ve become really good at doing conferences that get people blasted and drunk in the Spirit, which I’m 100 percent all about. Just soaking in the presence? I’m all about that. And with that, we’ve seen a wave of evangelists, a wave of prophets, and that’s awesome. But I really believe in the fivefold ministry, and I believe the Lord is actually—one of the things that the Lord is raising up is young apostles.

These are young builders, people who will get—they’re architects who will understand the blueprint of heaven. And one of the key components, key characteristics of this young breed is they’re gonna think reformation. They’re going to think, How do I get the revival that I experience within the four walls of the church and take it into the school system? How do I take that into the financial market? How do I take that into the media?‘ and so forth. So I believe that we’re on the verge of actually seeing kingdom invade society.

I see that we have a generation that’s thirsty for that. It’s not that we’re sick of conferences. I mean, conferences are amazing. And I’m talking about, we just came out of an amazing conference here in Sao Paolo of 5000 university students just going after the presence, and we just challenged them. Russell Evans from Planet Shakers was with us; Jeremy Riddle from Bethel Music was with us; and a bunch of other national leaders, young apostles from Brazil and Latin America. But our challenge really was we had an amazing two days here, we experienced the Holy Spirit, but how do we take that into our campuses? And how do we take that into spheres of society?

I think that across the globe, there is an awakening happening not only for revival, but a revival that will culminate in reformation. Our generation kind of puts a demand on that, and actually says if the gospel is relevant, it has to transform communities. It has to transform society. And that’s why I really believe in The Send. I believe that The Send is not only a movement that will take the gospel of salvation. I’m 100 percent about the gospel of salvation, but we should never lose sight of the gospel of the kingdom. That’s what Jesus came preaching. He’s talking about the kingdom. He never talked about salvation. Salvation was a means into the kingdom.

And so as we put salvation into the perspective of kingdom theology, I believe we’ll see what we yearn for so much, which is heaven on earth. And so that’s what I see a generation awakening to. {eoa}

Connect with Teo on Instagram and Facebook.

Connect with Dunamis Movement online, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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