Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Andrew Walls on the Conversion and Christianity....

The nature of conversion is not a matter of content, but of direction, not of substituting something new for something old, but about reordering the elements that are already there so that they may face toward Christ. Christian history takes its significance from the totality of cross-cultural expressions, not from any one of them, and from the totality of historical expressions, not from any one of them. Christianity is of its essence incremental and cross- generational; a multireel cinema film, not a studio portrait.
Andrew Walls is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, Edinburgh University

Quartz Hill Presbyterian Church recently celebrated the "Jerusalem Marketplace", a five-day event with for families pointing to the Messiah. Maricela had stellar participations in the skits and Juan thought at the "Synagogue School" and / La Iglesia Presbiteriana de Quartz Hill recientemente celebro un evento de cinco dias titulado "El Mercado de Jerusalem" con la intencion de invitar a familias a experimentar el amor del Mesias. Maricela se lucio con sus habilidades teatrales y Juan enseno en la "Sinagoga" Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 15, 2005


I found the reflection below at the web log of Rick Ufford-Chase , the moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly. Are we willing to learn from what the Spirit is doing in other parts of the world?
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Evangelism and Church Growth in the Congo


After dinner, our conversation broadened to include the rest of the group, and Jean Marie (Vice-Moderator of the General Assembly) asked her favorite question. Though their church obviously faces many challenges in a country that is both unimaginably poor and caught in seemingly never-ending cycles of war and conflict, their numbers continue to grow. What advice can they offer their sisters and brothers in the Presbyterian Church (USA) about evangelization and church growth?

In response, Pastor Chibemba offered these suggestions:

He said that we must start and end with prayer and that everything we do must be reinforced with prayer. “When we confront great challenges in my church,” he said, “we begin by forming groups to be in prayer about that matter, and we pray continuously for God’s intervention.”

Second, Chibemba suggested that we must share with people in their hardships. We must be with people who are in need and let them know that the God loves them, Jesus Christ died for them, and the Church cares about them. This is the work of accompaniment with God’s people who are most desperate and most in need.

“Next,” Chibemba said, “we must commit to real evangelization – the kind that trusts our lay people in the church to invite others to know Christ. We must give them more responsibility, not less responsibility.” Later, in another conversation, he elaborated on this theme by suggesting that if a pastor doesn’t train the lay people to share their faith with confidence, the church can only grow by the number of people the pastor can get to know personally. However, if the pastor commits to trusting the lay people, the work grows exponentially and the possibilities for church growth are limitless.

Chibemba stressed another important point that I think our pastors could learn a great deal from. He said that when someone leaves his church, he goes to meet with that person. He asks why they are leaving, and if they are angry, he tries to reconcile with them. He insisted that no one leaves his church without his following up to find out what has happened to cause them to do so.

“Another thing to remember is that one of our greatest strengths can also be one of our great weaknesses,” Chibemba added. “We are a church of tradition, and that can help us to survive over long periods of time. However, it is also a great danger. The danger is that many will block innovation, especially in worship, and our liturgy will become routine and boring.” Chibemba said he is constantly challenged, especially by the young people in his church, to keep worship alive and vibrant and interesting. He said that in his experience, renewing our worship will threaten many people, and they will oppose our efforts. “We must have the strength to overcome their opposition,” he said. “We will have to be strong in prayer, extremely wise, and strong-hearted if we are to keep our worship full of God’s spirit.”

Finally, Chibemba suggested that we should travel and experience other churches in order to find our own renewal. He said that their children were being brought up to be good church members, but they were leaving for more exciting churches and those other churches were reaping the harvest that their church had sown. “We had to try to understand what the kids needed, and then we had to be willing to change,” he said.

Wisdom from under the Mango Tree! Please continue to hold our delegation and the people of the Presbyterian Churches of the Congo in your prayers.


Maricela y yo celebramos el 4 de Julio (Dia de la Independencia) navegando en el velero de nuestro amigos los Hoeys. Fue un dia maravilloso Posted by Picasa

Maricela and I celebrated the 4th of July sailing with our friends the Hoeys along the Rancho Palos Verdes coast. It truly was a marvelous day Posted by Picasa