Monday, March 18, 2019

"Church begins on Monday...

"Church begins on Monday...Sunday is garage time."

This is a quote from a Kenyan Marketplace Minister.  This is one of many analogies that we hear about the need to change how we define the Church.

She went on to describe that Sunday is the day for the vehicle (ourselves) to be refueled, have oil changes, or minor repairs.  But being the light of Christ begins when we leave the building and become the Church scattered, shining the light in places of darkness, which desperately need the light.

Others say that church is like a cell-phone recharging place.  If we don't turn our phone on after recharging, if we don't use it, what good does it do?  We can come back and recharge each week when the Church gathers, but we need to actually use the phone during the week.

Or church is like a warship rather than a cruise ship.  The purpose of the warship doesn't take place on the ship - it is where-ever the war is being fought.  Soldiers come to the ship for rest, healing, fellowship, and for new orders.  A cruise ship's purpose of rest and fellowship is found on the ship, but the ship ceases to exist for customers as soon as they step off the ship.

And so on.

Bishop Berrings, myself, and colleague Steve Kennedy
Light bulbs relating to this were going off this week with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, where the Senior Bishop, Bishop Berrings, called his five bishops together from the various regions of Tanzania, along with some other key leaders in the church to hear the message of Discipling Marketplace Leaders.  And now they are ready to disseminate this throughout their denomination. We thank God for this open door and positive response.  We also met the head of this denomination who oversees the work throughout Africa and he too was very interested in seeing this in other countries as well.

Recently one of our faithful prayers of DML had a vision while praying about this work.  He saw Christ hovering over the Marketplace, beckoning us to come.  As we prayed about this and asked God to reveal His message to us in this vision, it became clear that at times we feel like we are bringing Christ to the Marketplace.  But He is already there.  He beckons us and invites us to join Him, with arms wide open.  In DML, we say that Christ has redeemed the Marketplace and we are to reclaim it, but we (or maybe I) sometimes feel like there is such darkness or abandonment of the Marketplace by the Church that we actually need to bring Him there.  And of course, that is not true.  We need to continue to look (and we do find!) for where He is already working and join Him in that work.

We also need to remember that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  If we had to bring Christ to the Marketplace, that would be a heavy yoke.  But when we are invited to join Him where He already is shining the light, it is much easier.

May God continue to grant us wisdom and discernment to find those partners in the faith, to grow the light of Christ in the Marketplace!

I am now in Kenya, where this week we will have the opportunity to present this message to about 100 vicars from the Anglican Church of Kenya, Kitale Diocese.  We are very excited to be able to present each of them an Africa Study Bible.  Thanks so much to all of you who contributed to these Bibles - I know they will provide great meaning to these pastors as they minister the word of God!

The bishops, pastors and church leaders in Iringa, Tanzania

View from the 12-seater plane - Tanzania is a beautiful country, with more animals per square mile than any other country in the world!