Power Struggles

Dutch, Deutsche, Norsk and English voices say the Our Father together in our temporary chapel which has standing room only. Jan leads a retreat for Norway pilgrims mostly new to Holy Island. I talk about Celtic models of church. Individuals from this and other groups want to talk about life choices - at home, on the mission field, in new places.

A common problem for evangelical churches at home seems to be power struggles and personality clashes, I am told. A common problem in African churches seems to be the refusal of older people to be open to change, and the resulting emigration, legal or otherwise, of younger members to seek prosperity or freedom. We must hold before Africans the vision that they can build the kingdom of God in their lands, so that people will invest in this rather than emigrate for no good reason.

'My church lives for the next wave from the USA, tires itself out, and has personality clashes. I yearn to introduce people to long-term discipleship and personal disciplines that will result in continual growth. Please help us to lay such foundations...' says one.

'As we prayed before the sculpture of Saint Aidan passing on the flame of the Gospel, I realised that this is what we need in Africa' said another, 'it's not about competing individuals or organisations, it's passing on the flame of Christ until it burns in others' hearts.'

David, Helen, Josiah, Elysha, Keziah and Azariah Blake, from Bowthorpe's wonderful church departed from my one-bedroomed cottage after a week's holiday during which the blow-up beds got punctures. They are inspired by the vision of houses of prayer in every part of the neighbourhood, rather than pretentious churches. It's time to write a book about it!

Posted at 05:35am on 3rd September 2014
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