October 31, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This is going to be an exciting yet challenging update to write. It will be exciting because of the news I will be revealing but it will be challenging to present all I want to say to you in a short update. I obviously cannot express everything you need to know or all that is in my mind in this short letter. However, here goes.
After spending much time in prayer and deep thinking about this subject I believe that God is leading me to pursue a different approach in my ministry here in Kenya. The last few years I have focused on trying to teach and disciple other men to go out into their home villages and to start their own churches – on their own and without much interference from me, the missionary. I have met with very little success in this endeavor. The problems henceforth have been manifold. The biggest problem has been that I have not succeeded in finding motivated men who will be faithful to minister the gospel without payment, salaries or other monetary incentives. Their expectation (which I have documented many times before) is that if they stick with my program then they should be paid a salary of some sort. When their expectations are not met I lose all my students and prospective pastors. The model I was employing was a good one and could still work and should still be pursued but this will not be my main focus in the immediate future. These men must exist but I have not succeeded in finding them.
The other observation I have made in Kitale is that while there are many, many churches in this area, I am finding it extremely difficult to find even one that I would want to attend with my family. The reasons for this are also numerous: 1) I cannot find a church interested in functioning as the body of Christ on earth, that is interested in glorifying God, that is interested in the Great Commission or that is interested in serving the community with the love of Christ. 2) I cannot find a church that will faithfully teach the Word of God. The pastors scream at the people, beg for money and preach little more than a health and wealth gospel. Most passages are wrenched out of context and used in a way to bolster the preacher’s “message”. 3) The worship services are almost unbearable to me. Now, some may blame my dislike of the worship services here on the fact that I’m getting old (which is true) and I’m just a fuddy-duddy (which may or not be true) who doesn’t like contemporary worship. In actuality, I prefer a more modern and contemporary worship service. But the songs here I find untenable. They are loud to the point of being overbearing and painful, they are repetitive to the point of being nauseous and they are mostly meaningless. In short, I can’t find a good church. These churches must exist but I have not succeeded in finding them.
Thus, based upon the difficulties I have had in finding faithful men who will become faithful pastors and the fact that I cannot find a church in the area that I would consider a Spirit-filled, Bible-teaching and Bible-led, God-glorifying congregation, I believe I am being led by God to start one and pastor it myself. Following are my personal Vision and Mission statements:
Vision: To start a local church in Kitale that will function as the body of Jesus Christ in this town
Mission: I want a church that, while it will never be perfect and will always face internal and external challenges, will bring joy and pleasure to God because it desires above all things to love and worship God, to follow the ways and words of Jesus and to spend its time, energy and resources to further the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on this earth.
I have many other things that I have been thinking about and trying to work through as I try to put substance to my prayers and thinking, things such as objectives and strategies for starting this church. I will include some of these things over the next couple of months as I get started with this endeavor so that you all can be informed as to what I’m thinking and what I’m doing.
HERE IS MY MOST IMMEDIATE AND PRESSING PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray that God would lead me to a place where this new church can meet. I have been searching for an ideal (or even not so ideal) place where the church can begin to meet but I am not succeeding in finding a good place. Please make this a matter of diligent prayer on my behalf.
(Post Script: I don’t know what news you receive of Kenya in America but the presidential election here has turned into a carnival, and not a fun carnival but a serious, violent and unpredictable one. The country is like a cauldron on a fire that is about to boil. My concern is that this election drags out for many more months, causing chaos and disruption to the Kenyan people. Please pray for the peace of Kenya.)
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 Amy, Josiah & Chloe)
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