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!