Up from the soil, part 2… Finishing a story

Indigenous ministry comes up from the soil. Last post dealt with the ramifications of this idea. If a church wants to do indigenous ministry, they will resign the preference of doing what they want and engage with what God is already doing in that local community.

Lamin Sanneh, who is the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and Professor of History at Yale Divinity School, once remarked on the way the message of Jesus has been so influential in Africa while secularism and humanism has not been effective. Embedded within the story of many of the African people is a familiarity or pursuit of supernatural power, something that is given space in the sandbox in the secular story. Jesus, on the other hand, is the name above every name and the power above all powers. Therefore, the African people would be more open to the story of Jesus almost immediatly, than the claims of secularism.

Sanneh reveals that Jesus “finishes” the story of the African people. What an interesting thought? It is also good theology. Paul notes in Colossians 1 that Jesus was one that the fullness of God dwelt and, “through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making people by the blood of his cross.” (Col 1:19-20) There are a lot of stories in God’s creation that are unfinished because they have not encountered the gravity of the gospel message. As ambassadors of the message, God’s people are called to announce the fullness of God’s mercy and love in Jesus, wherever we might find ourselves.

One of the questions the worker of God needs to ask when engaging in local ministry is, “What story has been started, but needs to be completed in our city for the glory of God?” Another related question, “What story needs to be confronted and challenged for the glory of God?”


Published by joeskillen

I'm a husband, dad of 2, Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS.

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