Marcone Correia left his native country of Brazil to come to the United States in 2000. He already had earned his Master’s of Divinity and knew the Lord was calling him, but he wasn’t sure where. Texas was supposed to be his first stop, but he settled in Massachusetts instead. He took a job as a janitor and worked in construction. Meanwhile, he noticed there were a lot of Brazilian churches popping up over the Boston area, but there wasn’t any training for them. So Correia did what anyone would do: he started a seminary, in 2003.
The Boston Theological School has seen many changes. Correia launched it without a budget and created all of the coursework himself. The courses are taught in Portuguese. Since its inception, he’s seen 500 to 600 students go through the program. He offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The minimal monthly fee students pay is what keeps the school going.
“Dr. Marcone and his wife have been on a shoestring budget,” Converge missionary Joel Wright said. “They are incredibly organized, offering 50 different courses. All of the course outlines are ready to go on a giant shelf.”
Correia looks to local pastors to teach the courses. The pastors use his course material and rework it and keep it updated. Wright says Correia truly united the Christian community across all denominations. The school isn’t just a draw for Baptists, but for all of God’s people looking for training.
“The majority of people he trains stay in the Boston area,” Wright said. “But some of his students have set up another school in Japan. They’ve gone global.”
BTS has seen over 100 students graduate, from many different programs including Christian counseling, theology and church planting. Each student is involved in his or her local church, which adds a hands-on element to their schooling. On top of running a school, Correia also pastors Igreja Batista em Rockland – the Brazilian Baptist Church of Rockland.
The church was started seven years ago, but struggled. When Correia stepped in three years ago, he turned it around. The church now has an average of 120 attendees. When asked how he handles eight Bible studies, prayer meetings, being a pastor and a leading seminary, Correia smiled.
“It’s called working 24/7,” he said, as Wright interpreted. “We consider the school and church both part time, but it’s not really that way. I give a lot of credit to my wife. She helps teach and runs the office. We work as a team.”
Correia readily admits his pace of ministry isn’t sustainable, but for now it’s what he has to do to raise up new leaders. He is preparing workers for the great challenge of the Great Commission. And he will work as hard as he can.
“The students are young, mainly in their 20s,” Correia said. “I am most concerned about leadership for the future. We have a model to reproduce leaders. Our church has been blessed by Converge Northeast’s partnership, and it only makes sense to bless these students in the same manner.”
Correia’s work caught the attention of Converge Northeast executive minister Brent Allen. He knew Correia’s story needed to be told.
“The Correias are incredible people,” Allen said. “They are one of the six church planting networks that are part of our district, but without the financial resources that are available to many of our Anglo churches. This coming October, at our annual meeting, we hope some of our churches will help support them.”