Tag: Missional Church

Teaching & Learning from Africa’s Orphans

This is a guest blog written by Jessica Souzea, ACL team member to Uganda. She reflects on her time ministering to the children of Akisim, a village in deep Eastern Uganda.

Akisim is a village where I had the privilege of reading from the book of Genesis to about 80 children (half of them are orphans). We read the story of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark from The Jesus Storybook Bible, which shows how Jesus fits into the stories of the Bible. Although we had a translator (sweet man named Max Ogwapit-Head teacher of Hope & Joy Orphanage), the children listened so attentively and quietly that I questioned if they were even understanding me. But they timidly raised their hands and answered all the questions with the quietest voices-all correctly!

The Holy Spirit in Garden of Eden

Afterward, we passed out paper, crayons, and colored pencils and asked them to draw (in groups), anything they would like from the story of Adam and Eve. When they were finished, they went up and showed their picture to the rest of the children. Each of them showed an apple, a tree, a garden, and Adam and Eve. Dave and I noticed that there were doves in the pictures they were drawing…we simply thought they just wanted a bird in the picture. Until one of the orphans, a small boy who did not stop smiling, explained to us what the dove was. He explained:

“this is the Garden of Eden, and this is Eve who is eating the apple because the snake told her to, and this is the dove, who is the Spirit of God who came when they ate the apple and is going to come back.”

It was so awesome hearing this small boy tell us what that dove in the pictures meant. Maybe it was something they were taught, or maybe it was the way they envisioned the story…either way, it was such a cool moment.

The Whole World in Their Hands

When we were done reading the stories, asking questions, and drawing pictures, Dave blew up the inflatable globe ball that Logan had donated for the kids. We showed them where we were from and showed them the route we took to fly to Uganda. They laughed. It was great. Then, Dave taught the kids a simple, but fun game we all played as children. Keep the ball in the air and don’t let it touch the ground. Dave said when he had told them how to play they just laughed. I looked over to him and the kids and as soon as he threw the ball up in the air they went wild.  All you could hear was the joyous, most incredible sound ever…the sound of 80-something kids excitedly screaming each time the ball came down because they did not want it to touch the ground.  I, along with Dave, could not stop smiling. I’m so thankful for Akisim and for those kids. They created my favorite moments.

Non-Christians in Christian Community? (Pt 1)

This is a guest post from Nate Navarro, Director of Missional Community at Austin City Life and Co-Director at Music For The City.

The second time I ever met my friend Jonathan Dodson it was at Austin Java over a good cup of coffee. He was telling me that he was starting a church where Christians and Non-Christians would be in community together and would work together for the good of the city.

I was intrigued to say the least. Here’s a story to show how this vision can unfold…

Dylan is cool. He is good looking, has the right tattoos, and has the attention of the ladies. He is a fast living Austinite who waits tables for a living.

Dylan was raised  in Dallas and tells stories of growing up in a church where he felt left out, judged, and unloved. As soon as he graduated high school he packed his bags and moved to Austin.

I met Dylan a year ago on a Sunday afternoon and invited him into the house for a beer and to watch some football. He stayed all day long and kept coming back every Sunday night for dinner. On Sunday nights we open our home for dinner. Folks bring their own beverages, and a different person every week cooks up a meal. Some nights there are 10 people, sometimes 20, once we had 35.

After about a month he started asking who all these people were that came over for dinner on Sunday nights,  and “when can I come to this church everyone is talking about?”

What he didn’t realize is that he had been visiting the church, every Sunday night for a month, in our home.

Now it looked more like a chaotic dinner party with lots of food, loud kids running around, and a few empty beer bottles. In reality it was a group of very imperfect Christians, living life together, on mission to love Austin. Soon after that my friend Dylan began to drop in on our Sunday morning gatherings. He occasionally meets me for lunch, and serves alongside me at the nursing home in our neighborhood.

Last month I shared the Gospel with Dylan over a turkey sandwich. We have been friends for more than a year.

I told him that although we are all more broken than we dare admit, in Christ we are more accepted than we could ever imagine. I pleaded with him to see that Jesus offered him perfect love that one night stands could not.

Dylan is skeptical.

My best guess is that he loves our community but does not yet love Jesus. I pray that he will see through the inconsistencies in my life, and in the life of our church, and see how good and perfect Jesus is. I am thrilled to be part of a Christian community where people like Dylan, who struggle to believe, feel welcome, loved, and respected.

And for those reading this and looking for a practical application:

Stop inviting people to your church and start inviting them into your life.

To Be Continued……..

Recommended Reading: Missiology

As church leaders it can be difficult to read the books we need to read. We are often overwhelmed with emergency reading—reading in areas of the church where we are deficient (e.g. children’s ministry, church discipline, missional church, counseling, best practices). We scour blogs and books for practical insight, inevitably digesting half-baked ideas and practices.

If we aren’t careful, we can get indigestion by consuming this stuff. Our diet devolves. We get bogged down in best practices instead of diving deeply into the Bible and our culture. What we need is good theology and missiology.

Read the rest at the GCM Collective Blog

Churching the Gospel in Your Culture

Tomorrow I will be speaking at the Brazos Valley Church Planters Network in Brenham, Texas. Justin Hyde of Christ Church Brenham was kind enough to invite me. I’ll be speaking on Churching the Gospel in Your Culture. Over the course of two talks, my aim will be to help missional leaders:

  1. To understand the Gospel in light of culture.
  2. To understand Culture in light of the Gospel.
  3. To Church the Gospel in the light and darkness of your culture.

Register Here

Conference 2010 Flyer