Up, Up, and Away! That was Superman's words. Thrilled with Flyin? Not me! Not near so much as I am thrilled with the opportunity to minister among my African brothers and sisters in Kenya. In fact, I can say from experience that Flying is an experience that many people glamorize but which is not so glamorous after you've been on a plane for 23 solid hours. Oh well, that's a topic for a future posting.
It was my privilege in June to do a M.E.D.I.C.A.L. seminar with leaders from all the nine countries of Eastern Africa. Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zanzibar all had delegates there. No, I'm not a doctor. That's just something that I believe the Lord gave me to hang some thoughts on so I could remember to talk about them to my leaders in Africa. As some of you know those letters compose an acronym for Meaningful Membership, Evangelism & Discipleship, Doctrine, Intercessory Prayer, Church Planting, Administration, and Leadership Development.
MEANINGFUL MEMBERSHIP is the point I use to encourage the overseer's to get accurate statistics from their churches. There must be some commitment to the church organization on the part of the people. There must be some commitment by the pastor of the church to the flock over which God and the Church have appointed him.
EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP refers to the fact that if we do not follow up on our evangelistic efforts we are wasting our efforts. I said it this way: "Evangelism without discipleship is spiritual prostitution." There is a certain excitement in going out and looking for a place to deliver the seed (which is God's Word). There is a thill in inviting people to the front and center, and there is ecstacy in the encounter when the person actually receives that which we are sowing. But if we pull out without making any provision for the nurturing and training of the new-born babes in Christ - we are guilty of desertion.
DOCTRINE, sound doctrine, is a must if we are to stablize our churches. The Church of God Declaration of Faith is sound doctrine. These 14 articles of our faith will keep our members from being swept up in fads nd gimmicks which are being proliferated continent wide.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: There is nothing that will take the place of prayer. It is basic to our survival as Christians. Someone has said, "When all has been done and said, there is more said than is done." This certainly applies to this area of prayer. We must learn how to pray. It is not easy. It does not come naturally. But "prayer can move mountains".
CHURCH PLANTING. When I talk about Church Planting I want to emphasize the fact that we need to plant churches among the un-saved. Too much time and money has been spent on planting churches among the religious who are dis-enchanted with their churches and/or pastors. Find the lost, get them saved, then organize the church.
One step further - don't abandon fruitful soil. At this point I take up a lesson I learned from someone else...Don't put all of your workers and your resources into green apple orchards. You cannot make apples turn ripe. Keep a watchman out there where the apples are green and when they start turning ripe then deploy more workers there.
ADMINISTRATION means "add to your ministry". Some seem to believe that if they become administrators then they can sit back and just push buttons and give orders. That may work for a short time - but Godly administrators add to their ministry. They look for ways to be of more and/or better service.
LEADERSHIP. Leaders Lead. If you think you are a leader it may be good to look behid you and see if anyone is following. "You can lead me with a piece of sewing thread, but if you push me I will kick you every step of the way."
Brother Jurgen Rudolph (Regional Superintendent) really coordinated the meeting exceptionally well. I am very grateful for his leadership. We were able to stay in the Discipleship College President's house on the campus in Eldoret because he (Gordon Bloodworth) was still here in the US itinerating. We did not know why the water quit working after the first night - until three days later when the workers found the main water-valve had been shut off. It was great to finally get another shower!
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- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.