Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This month I have included a picture of a rather unassuming and unimpressive room. This room is located on the edge of town in Kitale, on the second story of an unfinished and unimpressive looking building. Why have I included this picture of this small and easily forgotten room? Because I have leased it and want to use it to start the Kitale Baptist Church Planting Training Center (or some other appropriate sounding name). This room will have two main purposes as I see it.
1. Teach people, who have never received good Biblical training, about Jesus and the gospel
2. Train and model for disciples of Jesus how to start, organize, maintain and reproduce new Baptist churches in Kenya
For those of you who talked with me or saw my video during our recent time in the States, you know this is a slight alteration to my plans. My original thinking was to open such a training center in a mud house out in a village and then pursue the above objectives there in that house. After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, we have decided instead to open a church planting training center right in town. Without wanting to bore you with details, I would like to try and explain why we think this is the better option:
- It would be centrally located and easy to find. Everyone will be able to get to it from just about anywhere close to town. It would be easy to direct people to its location whereas directing people to a “mud” house in a village would be challenging.
- We would be accessible to many more people if we were in town than we would be out in a village (where we would be accessible pretty much only to the people of that village)
- It can be small and stocked with Kenyan furniture (much like we would have stocked the “mud” house) so that it can be used exactly as we would have used a mud hut in a village to model for the students/disciples/church planters our approach to church planting
- We could do some evangelism in and around town (and encourage some of our students to do the same). People who are interested in learning a little about the Bible and what it really means to be a Christian, but who do not want to be a church planter, could come to the center where we could teach them a Basic Christianity course. Again, in town it would be much more accessible and more people could come. Even if 99.9% of these people would be coming because of what they hope to get from the missionaries, at least they would also be receiving some good Biblical teaching about what a Christian really is as opposed to what they normally hear at the majority of the national churches.
- As we come up with different kinds of community help ideas that will actually work, I think it will be much more suitable and work better in town than elsewhere.
- We could always set up satellite training centers in villages if there was need or desire to do so.
The bottom line is that using this room in town keeps intact our model and approach to teaching Kenyans how to plant churches while keeping us centrally located and easily accessible. God can use this unimposing little room to start a church planting revolution here in Kitale if He so chooses. This is what we are praying for and that God would be glorified in this place.
Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, & Josiah)
Visit their blog!