WHEN THE MAPUTO CHRISTIANS OF MOZAMBIQUE GATHER FOR WORSHIP, THE LOST GET SAVED, THE DEAF RECEIVE THEIR HEARING (WITHOUT EXCEPTION), THE BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, THE SICK ARE HEALED (AS MANY AS 80 AT ONE TIME), AND THE DEAD ARE RAISED TO LIFE. WHAT DO THEY KNOW THAT THE AMERICAN CHURCH DOES NOT?
The May 2012 Issue of Christianity Today tells the story of Heidi and Rolland Baker, a self supporting missionary couple from the tiny village of Chiure, Mozambique, home of the Maputo, some of the poorest people on earth. These people are experiencing the power of God to save and heal on a scale remiscent of New Testament times. Why is God demonstrating such miraculous power in this little backwater? You would have to read the article to know all the details, but here are a few of the principles under which they operate. Contrast them with the way the modern church in America functions and you will discover the meaning of 2 Timothy 3:5: "They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power.”
PRINCIPLES OF MAPUTO WORSHIP:
- SHOWING A DEEP AND ABIDING JOY
- UNQUALIFIED BELIEF IN THE POWER OF GOD TO PERFORM MIRACLES
- MINISTER FIRST TO THE LEAST OF THESE – THE POOR AND POWERLESS (HOW MANY ARE THERE IN YOUR CHURCH?)
- WELCOME SUFFERING AS AN EXPRESSION OF SOLIDARITY WITH CHRIST
PRINCIPLES OF AMERICAN CHURCHES
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE MUSIC AND DRAMA
- FIRST RATE EXPOSITORY PREACHING
- COMFORTABLE AND CONVENIENT FACILITIES
“Love looks like something,” i.e. it is more than just prayers and advice. It means drilling wells for water, building homes for the homeless, providing disaster relief and practicing the 'one anothers' one on one.
WHAT DOES LEADERSHIP LOOK LIKE IN THE MAPUTO CHURCH?
“One Mozambican pastor was caught in adultery and theft. Suddenly leaderless, the church needed help. Baker says God told her to walk to a certain tree where she would find it. What she found was a young man who had just left jail. He needed a job and his mother, a Christian, had told him to sit under the tree and wait. He didn’t seem like a promising prospect, but Baker says she took God at his word and invited the man to join their work. Today he is a co-leader of the whole Partners in Harvest missions organization…”
Would this man ever have a prayer of becoming a leader in your church? Not without formal training or some pretty impressive experience in the working world.
While it may be true that the Maputo church is not exempt from the same sins that plague American churches, they have little reason to cover up their transgressions to protect their interests as American churches often do. They have no lavish church buildings or impressive church programs. All they have is the clothes on their backs and the food on their plates.
Jesus always downplayed the significance of religious structures and monuments anyway. Why? Because these things can so easily become an end in themselves and compromise the kingdom. His kingdom is not of this world, so why expend precious resources on something that is perishable rather than the eternal kingdom of Christ?
2Tim 3:5 “They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these.” Do you believe in and practice the miracle working power of God?
1Co 8:1 “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Where does your Church place its emphasis, on knowledge or love? Do your members express their affection for each in practical ways, one on one, not just as part of a church program?
2Pt 1:5-7 "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love." Love is the ultimate goal of Christian character - the top rung on an eight rung ladder. And while expository preaching is important, knowledge is only the third step up from faith, the first rung of the ladder. Beyond that third rung the message moves from head to heart. Too many church never go beyond that point.