Kenya Christians do church big.
My teacher friends have all told me about their churches, and how much they do and how much time they spend there. It is not unusual for them to be at church from 8am to 4pm every Sunday, and to be involved in absolutely everything. That’s just how they do it, and it’s so awesome. Let me explain from my experiences:
Every Sunday morning, we go to tiny church right in the middle of the BCC for Sunday school followed by VBS for all the residential kids living there and kids from the community who come for the children’s church service. It is so fun! Singing fun kids Swahili songs, listening to the kids share, and teaching them in the service has been so rewarding and such a neat experience to be a part of. I LOVE VBS afterwards, where they split up by age groups (I take the “teens,” which is basically 6th-8th grade) and we get to talk about the Bible more in-depth.
After all that is over, members of the community use the church space to put on their own service, and this has never failed to be my absolute favorite part.
In my opinion, their church service is much more like how God intended for us to do church that how we do it in America. Only about 10 people attend the service each week, but those people are all a part of it. If they feel led by the spirit, they come up to the front and speak. If someone comes who hasn’t been there in a while, they come up to tell everyone (honestly) how things are going and what’s going on in their life. If someone wants to sing a song or share anything, they just do it. Random members of the congregation lead different worship songs and prayers. Everyone is known as a member of the body of Christ there together, and their service moves wherever the spirit leads.
They also have welcomed us into their little family for the short time that we have been here. They are always asking us to share whatever God has for us to say with them, and they greet us with great enthusiasm and thanks for the fact that we have decided to join their community; they express how blessed they feel by our presence.
It is so incredible to watch and be a part of such a community, and so insanely humbling.
For example, this morning, someone came up to the front and told the congregation that it has been a long time since he’d gone to church, explained that he is in a really bad place, and asked for prayer. The congregation immediately came around him and prayed for him. From the moment he stepped into the little building, he was welcomed back in with open arms and great love. The pastor spoke with him and encouraged him. I do not doubt that they will all continue to be behind him, helping him and backing him up as he returns to Christ. They truly reflect Jesus in the way they interact with one another.
Imagine how different church would be in America if we did it like the Kenyans do.
If we were open and honest about how things were going in our lives with our church community. If we let the spirit lead our services and spoke as we felt called. If we always came beside each other and offered Godly encouragement to our brothers and sisters. If nobody sat back and just watched the service, but everyone always participated as a part of the body.
The body of Christ, the church, the children of the living God coming together as one, is a powerful thing. It’s one of the greatest tools God has given us here on earth. It’s so important that we use the church to its full capacity and let it be what God intended it to be for us.
That’s one of many things that I know I can certainly work on doing better when I get back to Baylor.