I promised yesterday during my brief comments in the service that I would blog about what I experienced and what the Lord taught me in Kenya, at least what I have been able to process to date. So, here goes.
Let me begin by explaining our itinerary. We went as a group of about a dozen. Roddy Dinsmore met us there for part of our time. First, we visited a ministry we have been in relationship since its inception, Beacon of Hope. It is a multi-layered ministry to women and children who are victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic but now extends beyond that. It involved health services, vocational training, sustainable living training, schooling for children, among other things. We went to observe and to reignite the relationship which had become ambiguous since certain key people who linked us to BOH are no longer a part of the Bible Church and due to the transitional issues in the past few years we have experienced. I was able to tell the leadership of BOH that we as a church wanted to continue our relationship and serve them in any ways that would be helpful to their mission and vision. We also want to be more systematic in how we partner with them, so that less of our relationship depends on unique personal relationships or seasonal burdens our church experiences. We want this to be sustainable, systematic, and stable. Big take home – one big part of our future with BOH is getting our medical professionals to serve there, helping and training. We need doctors, nurses, lab folk, etc. So, if you fit that category, and about half of you do, pray about a future with BOH. Talk with Don Ellis about this. He went with us and stayed at BOH overnight, serving there over several days while we went to a conference and spent time in Mavuno culture.
Next, we attended the Fearless conference hosted by Mavuno Church (Mavuno means Harvest). Think a Kenyan version of Catalyst. Mavuno’s mission is to enable ordinary people to become extraordinary leaders who fearlessly change the world by the gospel. Mavuno scores big points for bold vision, don’t they? More on that later. So, the conference focused on leadership, vision, mission, and other matters that pertained to stewarding the gospel to transform our cities, with a strong theology of the local church as central to that mission. Lots of good teaching, media that made us look like simpletons, and an overall strong conference that was true to Mavuno and also to how the gospel is at work in Kenya and Africa at large. I will talk more about this experience later.
The rest of the time was spending time with Mavuno’s leadership, observing how they lead, how the church is structured, visiting their ministries, attending worship services, seeing first hand why they do what they do. Fascinating and challenging. Lots to learn from them. More on this to come.
Finally, I had a half day Safari and the rest of the group stayed on until yesterday for a three day safari.
I had the privilege of connecting and networking with several international leaders. I preached one Sunday at Mavuno’s university oriented campus (I wore a tie, by the way ;)). I loved the team that went from our church – what fellowship, and silliness, we had with each other. This was a gospel group, and I love them, even though some of them are crazy. It was great to see Roddy, too. Finally, I was deeply challenged as a leader. Yes, I was challenged as a pastor. I was challenged as a disciple. But, I am more and more burdened by God that a large part of my ministry is as a leader. The prophet in me is all there still. The priest in me still beats with a large heart for people and their need of Jesus. But, the King in me must come out and be used of God – and that was abundantly clear from my time in Kenya.
OK, I will break this up later this week, but here are some overall subjects I will cover.
From my support to my affection toward this partnership.
Why these partnerships are Biblical and not PC trendiness.
The beauty of a centralized vision and mission and leadership culture of a church.
From suspicion to trust in leadership.
Prayerfulness and boldness.
A principled church that is on mission because of its principles.
Partnerships that move us toward mission to the nearly 2 billion unreached people, not away from them.
Providing resources here for our Kenyan friends.