April showers bring Church flowers…

By July 19, 2013

Kenya (MNN) — For 23 years at Global Advance, team members have trained, resourced, and encouraged hundreds of thousands of pastors worldwide.

Four months ago, at the Apostolic Leaders Summit, in Nairobi, Kenya, 98 bishops and overseers of denominations and church planting networks came together and figured out a way to win their nation for Christ, with the help of Global Advance.

(Screen grab courtesy Global Advance) Apostolic Leaders Summit, Nairobi, Kenya

(Screen grab courtesy Global Advance) Apostolic Leaders Summit, Nairobi, Kenya

The plan called on everyone to take mission to different level and incorporate ‘Gospel Sunday’. Global Advance founder David Shibley explains, “Gospel Sunday is a cooperative effort of churches who agreed together that on a particular Sunday, they would each hold something of an evangelistic meeting in all of their churches, all of their Sunday Schools, and that a clear presentation of the Gospel would be given.”

At the end of the Summit, all 98 leaders unanimously endorsed The Nairobi Commitment, which states in part:

We commit to utilize the fourth Sunday of June each year as “Gospel Sunday” throughout all the churches in our stewardship. On that day a clear presentation of the Gospel will be given in all our classes and services along with a call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We joyously anticipate a great harvest of souls.

This year, the date was 23 June. Shibley says the initiative yielded some of the greatest results in Global Advance’s history. “Hundreds of churches participated together, all of them reporting a real uptick in evangelistic fervor in their churches, and a strong number of people coming to Christ-in fact, 1,301 is the count, but the full report isn’t even yet received.”

Shibley acknowledges that Kenya has a rich spiritual history, however, “Like every nation, there is a continual need for Gospel proclamation, because always, there’s an upcoming generation.” He goes on to say this strategy differs somewhat from the ‘revival meeting’. “This was an opportunity for people throughout these churches to invite their family, to invite their friends, to come under the sound of the gospel with the assurance that the sermon that day would be a clear presentation of the death and the resurrection of Christ and how we can know Him in a personal way.”

Since that fateful April meeting, the church leaders, representing 15,000 churches across Kenya, have formed a loose, evangelical coalition. Again, it goes back to the ‘why’ of the Great Commission. “There has been a lot of desertion from many of the churches, plus the encroachments of other religions, and the secularizing influences which we often see in an open society like Kenya.”

What’s more, because of Kenya’s success, the idea is building steam, Shibley adds. “A return to the Gospel there is very hopeful. Other churches around the world are now beginning to hear about Gospel Sunday on the fourth Sunday of every June, and they’re beginning to pick up the idea.”

The greater challenges come now through discipleship-learning what this new faith in Christ does, how to grow and apply God’s Word. It’s very much like Christ taught: ‘First, the blade. Then, the ear. And then, the full crop of corn’, explains Shibley. “A very important seed has been planted this year. There’s been a wonderful harvest of over 13-hundred people coming to Christ. We are poised to see even greater results in the future.”

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