Sunday, April 9, 2017

Being A Paintbrush

The group in Addis
On Thursday and Friday, we were privileged to spend our time with seventy pastors, denominational leaders, church leaders, and large, medium and small business owners.

It was a blessed time with a number of holy moments as we witnessed the Holy Spirit actively working in the minds and hearts of those in the room.

The leaders of one denomination of 160 churches were present and after the first day they asked if they could take us out for dinner at the end of the second day.  The chair of the board shared with us over dinner that he hadn't slept the entire night after our first day together as his mind had to keep processing what he had heard from us and how significant the paradigm change was in how he viewed the church as well as business.  To begin to change the thinking about being a "church with walls" versus a "Church (people of God) without walls" was a significant shift; there was some sadness on his part of the neglect on the part of the church to not properly equip the body of Christ to be the Church from Monday-Saturday.  A second member of the board, a business man, shared with some emotion how he had never even considered viewing his business as an act of worship and had also undergone a significant and important paradigm shift in his view of the purpose of business.  They are ready, as a board, to work with DML to get this to all of their pastors and have temporarily arranged to take the last slot for the year 2017 that we have available - in August - to come back to Ethiopia and begin training their pastors. 

Another overseer of 120 churches, who is also a pastor of a church of 2000 members, brought a long several large business owners.  He too is ready to move forward but now needs to bring along the rest of the leadership of his denomination.  And we were excited to meet a man who has an organization called "Biblical Entrepreneurship" who has been teaching many people about how to do business God's way for some time.  He has a TV program that promotes this as well and we were interviewed for his program.  He is considering being our implementing partner in Ethiopia, with his trainers becoming trainers for DML. 

Dr. Frew, myself, Dr. Walker, and Mel Fox
We are so thankful to Dr. Frew Tamrat from the Evangelical Theological College for organizing this time and giving us the privilege to partner with his team to build the Church. 

I leave Ethiopia for home today after a whirlwind three countries in four weeks. As I reflect on the beauty of the faces, of the countries, of the ingenuity of God's people, of the rich and deep conversations that we have had in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia, with brothers and sisters in Christ, I reflect on the analogy that we use to help people understand this important forgotten truth of God's word:

God is the Artist of this world.  The creation is the canvas.  It was created to reflect the glory and image of the Artist, with bright and beautiful colors that sing His praises.  We are the paintbrushes and the work that we do is the paint.  When God created the world, it was a blank canvas and we were called to join in the creativity of the Artist and given the paint to be fruitful with the incredible resources available in this world; we are called to multiply the creativity for individuals and communities to flourish as well, and to govern and rule over the earth by being good managers and stewards.  Because of the fall, the work needs to be done with love (Great Commandment) and with intentional disciple-making (Great Commission), but ALL that we do is done to glorify the Creator.

In several weeks we will head to Guatemala and hope to join in the work that God is already doing in His people there!