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You Just Had To Be There

Has anyone ever told you that when they are trying to explain that perfect vacation spot or restaurant? Or maybe that hilarious incident that everyone is laughing about – except you because you stepped out of the room when it happened. You’ve been there, right? You know. That situation where words just cannot capture the experience. Pictures help and so do the stories, but when it comes right down to it – you just had to be there.

The same can be said of church planting and the distribution of mosquito nets in Ghana. I can try all I want but I will never be able to explain the energy and the movement of the Spirit of God like you do when out in a remote village and people are committing to Christ for the first time. These Ghanaian church planters have a passion for sharing Christ and ensuring that there is a church in every village. And I am grateful that they have allowed Virginia Baptists to walk alongside them and join the process.

If spending about 30 minutes in greetings, singing a few songs and sharing the gospel message and having dozens of people raise their hands to accept Christ sounds too hard to believe then let me ask you to do two things. First, read Acts chapter two and, second, plan to join a team headed for Ghana at some point in the near future.
I know some of you are skeptics (I admittedly was my first time visiting) but this church planting model, complete with discipleship plans, is pretty amazing. New Christians are discipled for a year before offered the opportunity for baptism. Why? The culture is so full of other religious practices (animism, ancestor worship, witchcraft, etc.) that the church planters want to be sure the people truly understand the decision that they have made.

On one of my visits to Ghana I returned to one of the churches that I was honored to have taken part in planting just the year before. After the Bible study and worship the church remained seated in their horseshoe shape and a chair was brought to the center. A middle-aged women came and sat in that chair, place her hands over her face and bowed her head in what appeared to me to be shame. The church leader began speaking to the church and pointing at the woman. Sometimes he spoke very directly and sharply. My interpreter had moved away from me for a few moments so I did not know what he was saying. After several minutes I finally caught the eye of my interpreter and waved him over to me. He came over and I asked him what in the world was happening? Was this woman being publicly shamed? Was she facing church discipline? What had she done to bring this apparent wrath upon herself?

And, BAM, here comes the humbling part… I had made the assumption that this church was doing something to bring shame upon this woman. I had assumed that something terrible was about to happen in the name of Jesus. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The translator informed me that this woman’s husband had died just a week ago. She was now a widow and the Bible teaches that Christ followers should care for widows. The church was discussing how to BE the church.

You Just Has To Be There…

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