Earlier this week I, along with four other Elim pastors from the UK, returned from a twelve-day trip to Kenya visiting some of the 350 Elim churches and church plants there. As well as visiting churches in Nairobi, we travelled south to Malindi to play a part in training leaders and supporting the launch of a new church, and then travelled north to Lodwa to witness what church life looks like with nomadic communities who live in semi-arid conditions.

During those twelve days we had the opportunity to learn from inner city church leaders, as well as those who are reaching out to rural communities. We were inspired by stories of the miraculous and the supernatural, as well as stories of great sacrifice and surrender. Although we were privileged to teach and preach to leaders who were hungry to learn, we found ourselves receiving much more than we gave. It was truly a life and ministry-changing trip!

As I reflect on the things I journaled about during the trip, here are the top-four things I learned (I’m sure I could add many more!):

Great stories require great sacrifice. As I listened to leaders share their experiences of church growth, multiplication of church plants and communities coming to faith in Christ, their stories were always accompanied by stories of surrender and sacrifice. Pastors who received no salary and who sometimes didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, described how they and their families lived sacrificially to serve the Church.

Breakthrough comes through prayer and fasting. Time and again leaders would share their experiences of financial, material, strategic and spiritual breakthrough, and they would always describe how these occurred following a season of prayer, accompanied by fasting. These periods of fasting could last from one day to forty days, sometimes done as a community, at other times on their own, but they all attributed their breakthroughs to a dedicated lifestyle of contending prayer and fasting.

Supernatural events are expected and treated as the norm. It made me smile when one pastor causally dropped into a conversation that last week he had visited a lady from their church who was in hospital. On reaching the ward, he discovered that she had died, so he prayed for her and she came back to life! Unlike our Western cynical, secular culture, the Christians in Kenya have an expectation that God will do miracles. They don’t just expect it, they rely on it to happen! In the UK we have other options. If a miracle doesn’t come, we will figure out an alternative answer to our problems. The church in Kenya relies on God to come through for them.

There’s an experience of ‘family’ that transcends boundaries and borders. Depending on which part of Kenya we travelled to, there were significant different cultural differences to our experience of life in the UK. The further north we travelled, those differences became more pronounced. But, despite those differences, it was evident that we were part of the same ‘family.’ Firstly, we were part of the same ‘Elim family’ with the same Pentecostal distinctives, and secondly we were all part of the same global Church family that transcends race, ethnicity, culture and national borders. Though we are many, it was obvious that we shared the same love and were part of the same body!

Until the next time!

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Pastor Duncan Clark

I love being married to Helen. I love being dad to Ben, Hannah, Daniel and Ruby. I love being the Senior Pastor of Coventry Elim Church ( I love that I get to run, read, lead and loads of other great stuff!

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