A missional friend of mine reminded me the other day of a T-shirt he saw someone wearing in a church which read:  “The church has left the building!”  I immediately loved it!  And if I am not mistaken a book with the same title was written by David Fredrickson.

A group of very active students from Stellenbosch visited me a few days ago.  They so reminded me of this phrase.  They kept on talking on relational values rather than institutional structures and systems.  If I didn’t know better I could have been at a meeting a thousand years ago at a small group of believers during the ‘Acts church’.  I love it!  Seeing them in action and the way they submerged into our local Mozambican culture was something I have dreamt about for many years.  These young people got it from the word ‘go’.  I was reminded recently of a child’s nursery rhyme:  “Here’s the church;  here’s the steeple – open the door and see all the people!  Even the youngest among us know where to find Christians today – in the church building itself.  But maybe it’s time the church leaves the building.  It maybe time for churches to be less program-driven and more mission-driven by taking people outside of the church.  And I am not just talking about mission trips.  In essence, we shouldn’t just DO missions – we need to BE the mission every day.  YET, the financial reports I read in churches today reveal that the majority of the budget is allocated toward maintaining a building, staffing the church and funding programs inside the four walls.

Thus … I am so glad to have had these vibrant young people for a few days … who understood much of God’s heart.  I have hope for the new generation:  It seems many of them are less church-centric and many are entering into a more kingdom-centric culture.  And well ….. interestingly enough Jesus’ ministry was not inside a church either.  With these heavy words on my mind ….  I got great joy watching these young students … ‘getting it right’!

The Stellenbosch group back-to-school mode.  Listening at the vision in action at the  “Dream Center” in the bush. 
Mixing with the ‘attention-seeking’ primary school students!
Teaching reading and writing skills with the students from the bush school!
A brand new gardening project was started by the students.  Stellenbosch loosening up the African soil.
Sharing a moment with the kids in the African soil.
A lot of emphasis fell on career development and training.  Creating a dream, verbalizing it, drawing it and DREAMING it was a special program run by the team leader, Francois (a Business Psychologist in Career Development).

The first ‘make-over’ of one of our houses for kids in the bush!
What does a ‘NASDEQ specialist’ and a Theologian have in common?  Brightening up the day for 10 of our students by painting their house ….. I would think!