Monday, February 11, 2013

But does it work?

By Terri and Andreas Mehrguth
Directors, e3 Legacy

We met with a couple who questioned if it really is possible to start a church in a week. It’s a legitimate question. When we were evaluating what ministry God would have us be a part of, we, too, questioned if it was possible to plant a church in a week that would be sustainable. We had our doubts, but God has shown us time and again that one‐on‐one discipleship really works, especially when He goes before us to prepare people’s hearts. In fact, this past June, God allowed us to see firsthand how the churches our team started in Kenya the previous year were thriving.

Our team of 14 started four churches in Isiolo, Kenya, a predominantly Muslim area with tribal religions making up the difference. On the Sunday our team was returning to the States, the churches we started during that previous week held their first church services. Before boarding the plane, we were overwhelmed with joy for the great report we received that 20 to 35 adults attended each of the worship services with an average of 30 children. With tears of joy, we praised God for all He did.

But what’s it look like one year later?

You may recall that God used our team of 23 to start five churches in Meru, Kenya. Meru is less than three hours from Isiolo, so our team headed up to Isiolo our last night before returning to the States and worshipped with the churches started the previous year. As God would have it, our return to Isiolo fell on the one‐year anniversary of the four churches. And what a celebration we had. Each church welcomed us with a wonderful celebration that even included a birthday cake.

The growth was evident! In Kambi Ya Juu and Mwangaza, the churches were preaching God’s Word and the children’s ministry were thriving, despite the fact that the congregation was very poor, so poor they survive on just one meal, generally porridge and a few vegetables, per day. In Tulla Ruba, the congregation had grown to about 50 adults and the same number of children. Just three months before our arrival, the church was able to move from the pastor’s front yard to a wooden building; picture Little House on the Prairie. Currently, the church in Mailitano hosts Sunday school and worship services on Sunday, small group Bible study on Wednesdays, prayer and fasting on every Friday, and children’s ministry on Saturday. And the Lord is blessing their commitment. This church is having such an amazing impact in the community that government leaders have withdrawn funding for the existing school because of corruption and low test scores and have asked the church pastor to start a new school. The leaders not only gave the church land and funding for the new school, but there is enough land to build a dedicated church building!

Keep in mind that these churches are not made up of recycled Christians from other local churches. These churches are made up almost entirely of new believers. That’s true church growth!

So, while it might seem impossible to start a church in a week in our American way of thinking, with God leading the way and preparing hearts, churches are being planted and new followers of Jesus Christ are being discipled all so that God will be glorified.

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