International Missions – October 9, 2019

                         Open air meetings to springboard a church


A church split and the discipline exercised over its pastor is rarely a topic that others like to read about. However, when it is conducted prayerfully, humbly and with the intention of restoring fallen comrades, the Holy Spirit moves mightily and it’s a story too good to keep to ourselves.

The pastor of a church in Tanzania had been discovered in acts of corruption. He was rebuked and granted mercy. When the attempts to undermine the new leadership continued, he was rebuked again and offered yet again fellowship with conditions. Finally, his attempts to take over the leadership of the conference and to get his hands on the money were too threatening to the life of the conference. So he was gently but firmly removed from the fellowship with the admonition to return to the Lord.

Spitefully, this pastor “gave away” his church to another pastor from outside the conference, choosing to remain in the church as a leader. When the new pastor discovered how his predecessor had conducted himself, he addressed the former pastor, telling him to not fellowship with his church.

The new pastor then requested to become part of the Advent Christian family, asking that they might help to train him for his pastoral duties.

The right hand of fellowship extended to a new pastor

The former pastor tried to threaten the congregation with his hold over the place of assembly. The church body prayerfully surrendered the meeting place, giving it back to the former pastor (for what shall it profit a man if he gain the world, but lose his soul?) and found a different place to meet. In a strong showing of brotherhood, some of the conference pastors met together outside the new location and held open-air meetings daily from Thursday through Sunday afternoon, leading in singing, dancing and the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ. They report an outstanding attendance from the locale just as Philip did in Samaria:

“And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did” (Acts 8:6, ESV).

“Many, many received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord!” I was told over the phone. Of course, in a culture of idolatry, many unclean spirits manifested themselves and were driven away by the servants of God. People were set free and are now attending the revived church.

“So there was much joy in that city” (Acts 8:8, ESV).

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