|My first trip to Kenya |
- the way these three women cared for their community deeply impacted me.
In referencing "the church," I am thinking about the global church but I also want to identify 3 different church world views. First, the local church on the ground in the informal sector. Second, the local church in the educated, middle to upper class that functions in the formal sector. And third, the partner church. A church like the second but one that also seeks to partner cross culturally with others on the ground. If you look at your own community I think you would find all three of these churches represented. Maybe not at the same disparities as in the global south but definitely outside of each other's world views.
Our work in Nairobi focuses on walking with the local church in the marginalized community (the first example). After all, in any context, the local church is by far the most equipped to reach the lost in their own community. We also invite the local middle to upper class church (the second example) to engage in the work. While their engagement is also limited by social disparities, it is not necessarily cross-cultural. There are different cultural hurdles to overcome in this context but there is enormous potential for healthy relationships, transformation and the gospel all around. Thirdly, we involve the international church as partners who understand the vision and help move it forward. Even here, if we are intentional about our approach, there is potential for transformation all around. This includes financial support, hosting visiting churches who serve on a short-term basis, and challenging individuals to have a deeper relationship with God no matter the context. Sometimes it takes a cross cultural experience to help someone get an honest reflection of their own life and spur them on to a deeper purpose. In fact, that is exactly what happened to us.
I am writing here in the context of our ministry vision, "The Pastoral Circle," which I discuss in a previous post, "Vision: the Pastoral Circle." Positioning for discipleship is at the heart of all of this. As the church, yes, we should be seeking to help the poor as a reflection of God's heart and also for the sake of our own hearts but at it's core, we do this for the sake of the Gospel, to tell the good news of Jesus. We approach poverty with our own poverty in mind.
The Church Providing Access
In this season, let us reflect on this risen Savior Jesus but may this challenge us into a deeper participation in the telling of his good news.