I, Dan, spent Friday in a mud brick church with a thin tin roof and 519 other people. The mud bricks and tin roof provided a perfect environment for the heat of the day to get trapped inside and make me boil. But what ended up catching my attention was not the heat or the number of people.
What I ended up understanding was how we are all part of a movement of God.
Let me go back a few weeks.
You see, each year, Netia has each church in the district send in their annual reports. After that, they hold an annual conference where representatives from each church can further share what happened in the previous year. As churches started to send in these reports the leadership found some “inflated” attendance numbers. To clarify things they began visiting each church to discover how many actual baptized, active believers were in attendance. Yesterday was the conference and these real numbers were discussed.
Yesterday, as they talked about the actual baptized, active members in their district they found that there are 4,717 people who are baptized and actively involved within the churches. As one of the leaders said, “In 2005 there were 8 Churches of Christ. Today there are 83 Churches.” WOW!!!
I then got up to preach (I was the second preacher of the day).
So I encouraged them:
- To look at/reflect on what has taken place over the years.
- To see a movement of the Holy Spirit.
- To see that all this work was done without receiving money from America to pay preachers, without receiving money from America to build church buildings (there was one gift to help with one church).
- To see that I was not the cause of the growth, nor were the leaders there, but this was done through and by the power of God.
I encouraged them not to stop, but to think beyond their own district and to move into areas where the language may be the same but the dialect is different. I encouraged them to move into areas where there may be some different cultural habits. I encouraged them to look at new ways of evangelizing these different dialect/culture groups.
I am so thankful that God has let me be part of what He did and is doing with these churches in Netia.