Evangelicals in Costa Rica grew to 15% of the population, and established one of Latin America’s most effective mission movements. But the Church needs prayer. Most Costa Rican churches are good at winning “converts”, but they fail to disciple them well. Pastors survive on minimal incomes and have little help, so they struggle to provide consistent pastoral care. Christians often fall away in difficult times or move to different churches. Pray for effective and sustainable models of doing church and making disciples in Costa Rica.
The Roman Catholic Church is deeply impacted by charismatic renewal. Many have come to a living, personal faith in Christ, which has strengthened the Catholic Church (higher mass attendance, more indigenous seminarians and priests). Although 73% of the nation is Catholic, this percent declines every year, and most Catholics are quite nominal in their faith. From the charismatic renewal, many left the Catholic Church for evangelical churches; however, large and increasing numbers of "post-evangelicals" have returned to the familiarity and structure of Catholicism. Pray for both charismatics who stayed in the Catholic Church and those who have returned - may their faith bring further renewal to the mainstream of Catholicism.
Ministry to young people is essential, given that two-thirds of Costa Ricans are under age 30. As with many other nations, alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and immorality plague this generation. Christian student and youth ministry has been weak in the past, but vision is growing and ministry increasing. ECU(IFES) in 17 universities and 17 colleges, Alfa y Omega (Cru), Maranatha (a Pentecostal student work) and others are very active. On the "Street of Bitterness", located near the national university, there exist both many social problems and sustained outreach.
National ministries and missions are beginning to blossom as the Costa Rican Church matures and as foreign missions hand over control to nationals. These most often take shape as holistic ministries aimed at helping the poor, the sick, the broken and children at risk. Some exciting partnerships are forming. One example is Christ for the City, whose work has resulted in short-term mission teams sent abroad as well as ministry to the most needy at home.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.