I’ve done a lot of church visits during my years in the Beeson doctoral program at Asbury. We’ve visited megachurches, hipster churches, downtown churches, wealthy churches, impoverished churches, and churches without buildings. Nowhere, however, have I seen what I saw today.
We headed over to Nairobi Chapel this morning for a visit with the staff. They are the church that meets in tents and their offices are housed in a really dingy old building surrounded by mud along the Karen Road. What we found their today, however, is what I think is a major key to the revitalization of the church.
The Nairobi Chapel team described in detail their vision for what God wants to do with their church and they have a methodical process to get them there. From the moment someone attends until they become a ministry leader, the church marks their progress along the way with clarity, evaluation and encouragement. It’s a really powerful version of what I think Wesley was trying to do with the early Methodists–a discipleship process that is unapologetic about high commitment, spiritual disciplines, and engagement in transforming society. I’ve never seen this articulated as well as I did here and I am anxious to explore it further.
Most impressive, however, was the way in which the staff articulated the vision of the church. There was no cult of personality around the senior pastor, though he is clearly the vision architect here. There was also none of the bombastic self-aggrandizement you often see from American churches who believe they have cornered the market on how to do church. The Nairobi Chapel staff humbly told us that they have had many failures and experiments on the way and that they struggle in some areas, but they are crystal clear about what they are trying to achieve. I was impressed with their quiet passion for the work. Spend a few hours with these folks and you’ll never need to go to another church growth conference again.
No space for more details here tonight, but will certainly give an overview soon. Needless to say, I was very fired up today and even the jet lag couldn’t keep me down.