Joe and Rachel Clarke moved to Coimbra, Portugal in 2015 to work amongst students with the GBU (Grupo Bíblico Universitário - the Portuguese Christian student movement affiliated to IFES). They are seeking to evangelise and disciple university students and equip them for future Christian ministry. Rachel is a full time mum and is helping their children to adapt to a new culture and supporting Joe in his ministry with students.
Portugal has a population of almost 11 million people, yet less than 100,000 attend an evangelical church. Within Portuguese Universities there are few professing believers and the Christian student movement is small. There is a great need to develop the GBU’s work in order to disciple and equip Christian university students so that they can reach out to their fellow students with the gospel.
Joe and Rachel have four children: Beth, Hannah, Joshua and Timothy.
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‘Practise these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.’ 1 Timothy 4:15-16
What we profess to believe and how we actually live matter. Professing that Jesus is Lord, affirming that sex is for marriage, claiming that salvation is by grace, and preaching the sufficiency of the Bible is all well and good. Indeed, all these things are of absolute importance. But if we go on to fiddle the tax return, sleep around, gossip about another’s sin and never open the Bible, of what value is our profession? Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, exhorts Timothy to ‘keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching’. Doctrinal orthodoxy and godly living should go hand in hand. That is true for all believers but it is especially true for those in ministry.
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