I am passionate about the local church. Everything we do in Uganda, is done in relationship with the local church. To some that might seem intuitive and obvious. To others that may seem bizarre for a whole variety of reasons. Let me set out my thinking.
It makes strategic sense. There is no network in the world like the church.
I’ve visited churches on four continents. Churches meeting in cow sheds in rural Ethiopia, churches in shaky timber structures with mismatched iron sheets in Uganda, and persecuted churches meeting in disguised soundproofed rooms in Asia. I’ve also visited churches meeting in traditional cathedrals, school halls, nightclubs, and purpose built megachurches seating thousands.
These churches are all so different, but have the same fundamentals in common. Hope for the broken, rest for the weary, training for the willing. All with a passion to change the world in the name of Jesus.
The church is committed to education, healthcare, community development, championing the family, taking in the orphan, and breaking chains of exploitation in all its forms (to give just a few examples).
We’re committed to partnering with local churches, the greatest network of all, and to help those living in communities to change their worlds.
The practical things I mentioned above are brilliant and true. That said they’re not the primary reason we partner with the local church. Fundamentally, we believe the church to be the hope of the world, God’s plan A. Not just a building, but an empowered movement of people carrying the message of God’s restoration to all corners of the earth.
So it’s not just what the church does, although that is exciting and important, its about the message of hope the church brings. The message of God’s redemptive love through Jesus.
I have seen countless instances of lives turned around following an encounter with Jesus. We work hand in hand with churches, so that we not only help people in their physical need, but so that we can also help them in their spiritual need at the same time. This is a truly amazing remedy to the challenges of our world.
So is the church perfect? No, but is it beautiful? Yes.