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Books and Coffee

April 13 2010
April 13 2010

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When I came to RTS about two years ago I was not sure what kind of ministry God was calling me to. I was not so excited about church planting or pastoral work for that matter, having grown up in a pastors home and with most of my close friends doing pastoral work. I knew (at least in theory), the challenges and pressures of being a pastor. In fact there were times I would pray and ask God not to call me to be a pastor… I still do! But it was through prayer and sharing with close friends that I began to see what God was laying on my heart. I was beginning to be deeply concerned about the pastors and the church back in Kenya. The more I thought and prayed about it, the more I wanted to do something.

A dear friend once asked me while we drove to church on a Sunday morning, “if statistics show that Kenya has 80% Christian population, then why are people dying of HIV/Aids, why are there tribal animosities, high crime rate, witchcraft, and corruption?” I do not remember what my answer was, but I know this question has troubled me ever since. It was only today that a friend from Kenya shared about their burden for Christians who are in the church but are living like unregenerate people who have not been transformed by the Gospel of Christ; to them being a Christian is just a name, going to church every Sunday morning and singing some ‘Christian songs’ that excite emotions. But life is a different story come Monday morning when reality kicks in. As one of my professors likes to pose the question, “if we have the gospel, where is the power?” Where is the power of the gospel? Are hearts being transformed and changed by the power of God`s word? Do we really understand what the Gospel means for us?

Back to two years ago- so I decided to seek God`s direction concerning ministry through prayer and sharing with close friends. At the back of my mind I kept thinking about the church, pastors, seminaries, young people going into ministry etc. I couldn’t stop thinking about many churches that fill up the pews every Sunday but no sound doctrine was being taught. I could almost hear, in my mind, the sound of tele-evangelists on the local Christian media appealing to people to ‘plant a seed and harvest a hundred-fold’ (by giving money of course) or ‘come for your miracle, this is your day’. I was burdened with this and knowing that though many people are coming to Christ, they are not growing, and being nurtured in the right way. The lack of sound doctrine and trained ministers is leading to a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of God`s word. But how can we begin to change this dangerous trend the church is experiencing in Kenya? It seemed to be a daunting task to even think of trying to do anything about it. But I could not help think that there was a way I could make a difference. So this is how the idea of a Christian Resource Center came to mind. If we have a library that would provide good, and sound material for the pastors as well as open it to the public, it will have an impact in the church. As I mentioned earlier, EPI and other organizations are already training pastors in Kenya, so the CRC would serve to cement and complement the work already being done.

I knew this would not only be a big task to undertake but also a challenging one. The main challenge was once the CRC begins, how would we be able to sustain it, even when there is little or no support coming from outside? How could we make sure that the Bookstore for instance has updated books, pay for employees, and just day to day running of the center? Coffee shop! I love coffee, and I love the ambiance at most coffee shops I have visited… I thought this would be a great source of income for the center. Coffee and books sounded like a great idea to try and make the CRC sustainable. I still have not heard any objection to this, so am assuming that most people would agree with me when I say that ‘people who love to read (at least a large majority), love coffee as well”. This is not an original idea anyway; there are many bookstores that serve coffee, so I am not claiming any unmerited credit here. I am simply borrowing from others!

The CRC idea was therefore borne out of this desire to seek the Lord`s will for my life in ministry. I am so glad God planted this idea in my heart and mind, I long to see how he will use the CRC to transform and impact the church in Kenya and hopefully beyond. I long for the time when the church in Africa will not only be described and recognized for her numerical growth, but also for her deep understanding, and maturity in God`s word. This is not a task the CRC will be able to achieve on its own, but requires a collective effort from all who truly love the Church of Christ.


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