BUILDING VIBRANT, HEALTHY CHURCHES

Dear ITEM Partner,

The first day of the Nairobi seminar is complete. We are doing the exact seminar here that we did in Lagos last week. Assisting me this week is Dr. Nathan Chiroma, ITEM special assistant. As you remember, he is the one who was a student of mine all the way back in 1999 here in Nairobi when I was an adjunct prof at Nairobi Intl School of Theology. He is Nigerian and is based now here in Nairobi. He’s a prof at Pan African Christian University (PAC).

Like so often happens, we had to deal with some twists and turns (pun intended as you will see) due to the weather and some carelessness with the notes.

In today’s post is also “small world” story and a sad example that illustrates, again, the need.

FIRST ISSUE: RAIN

I was expecting some light, scattered showers. What we got was pretty heavy rains throughout the morning.

I arrived slightly past 9 for a 9:30 start and the coordinator and I were alone. Soon, we had one pastor arrive. The rains and the resulting flooded roads, requiring cars to “twist and turn” their way upstream, led to most staying home while a few fought the elements to arrive at various times. We ended up with 7 or 8 rather than the 45-55 we planned for.

Good use of the time

I went to meet and chat with the host pastor. It ended up being a very good use of the unplanned idle time. He is one of the leading Southern Baptist churches in Kenya. If you are interested at all, here is their “mission.” It closely follows the mission of ITEM and even uses the same language. http://www.ridgewaysbaptistchurch.org/our-mission/ (cut and paste into your browser)

Concepts rather than content

We started two hours late. Nathan and I agreed to communicate key concepts even if we didn’t cover all of the notes. In the next four hours we focused on God’s design for the church and the pastor using, primarily, the concepts presented in Eph 4:11-16, and even squeezed in lunch. The concepts: The church is at the center of God’s plan on earth. The pastor is key. He is to be an example, an equipper (of the saints) and an expositor (systematic teacher) of the Word. I gave the overview. Nathan covered the building up (edification) of the church. And I finished up with NT principles of edification and evangelism.

Quality if not quantity

Steven Mzungu (just like it sounds: MMMM-zooon-gu), our seminar organizer, told us that there are some key pastors in the room. His own senior pastor, one of the most influential Baptist pastors in Kenya, was there. (He, along with Ridgeways Baptist pastor, and the one I will meet in Mombasa next weekend may hold the key to a possible partnership between he Southern Baptists and ITEM.) So, it could be that God’s brought those who will form the ITEM team in the Nairobi area, a very key city in East Africa. That is how we are approaching it, anyway.

SECOND ISSUE: WRONG NOTES

Steven (coordinator) put together an attractive binder with the notes. See picture of it in the picture album. But evidently, I sent him the wrong set of notes. So, we are conducting the “ministry and preaching” conference and I sent him the Bible and theology seminar notes. No one mentioned it until I finished the first lecture.

Lemons? Make lemonade

As the old saying goes. “When life presents you with a bag of lemons, make lemonade. That is what Nathan and I did. Without the notes in front of them, we were freer to present concepts rather than content.

ANOTHER SMALL WORLD EXPERIENCE

Steven (seminar organizer) was unable to pick me up this morning so sent for a driver (not Uber but similar). As we made our way to the venue we got talking. It ends up he is an associate pastor who admires all of the same men and reads the same authors that I do. I included his picture in the album also.

PREACHING INTERNET SERMONS

Here is another example illustrating what is going on in too many churches here. Steven Mzungu was in a church interpreting the pastor’s sermon to the congregation and Steven said the pastor had his tablet connected to the internet and was reading someone else’s sermon that he found on the internet. Nathan stepped in. “Oh yes, that is what many pastors are doing!”

Keep praying for this week. If the weather improves, we expect many more Wednesday. We’ll need to do some review. PRAY that Nathan and I can find the balance between reviewing today’s material while adding tomorrow new material. PRAY that God will raise up out of this group an ITEM-Nairobi team. PRAY that God will choose to build a bond/partnership between ITEM and the Southern Baptists.

Thanks for your prayers and financial gifts. If you would like to help meet the financial needs of this trip, CLICK HERE and give what you can. THANKS.

Find the picture album with new pictures here.

By His grace,

Steve

 

 

 

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