Today I finished teaching a Doctor of Ministry intensive week (which is well-named!) Doctoral students (all pastors) travel in for a week-long seminar, working each day and some evenings. This week's course has been on "Leadership Through Preaching." It's been a great time of mutual learning and koinonia, including a dinner for students and families at our home last night, and a concluding communion service today.
Perhaps the biggest thrill was listening to these pastors preach and relate to their own contexts. Some are from white churches, others from African American churches, and one from Ethiopia. What differences!
The Ethiopian pastor shared about a mountain in one part of Ethiopia that was regarded as so sacred that, with its rocks and trees, it was itself worshiped by the people. Powerful witchdoctors ruled over its rituals. The Christians prayed and witnessed to their faith but this pagan mountain loomed even larger. Then, through their witness, one of the chief witchdoctors met Christ and was utterly transformed by radical new faith. Amazingly, he led the way, turning the mountain into a place for worshiping the Christian God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Every year over 100,000 people gather for a special prayer and praise day, and every day of the year there are always Christians praying 24/7.
He told us many other stories too from his own experience of amazing God breakthroughs. They really woke us up to the reality of God at work in the world church. And challenged our western (often white) world view that seems to have almost given up expecting God to interrupt with radical transformation.