Listening globally

New ways of being the church
It is instructive and ultimately very encouraging for an American churchperson to get a glimpse of the global Christian enterprise. I had a chance to do so recently at a pastors consultation sponsored by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. The alliance is a loose affiliation of 216 Reformed and Presbyterian denominations.

As different pastors talked about their ministries, amazing stories emerged. Gideon Khabela of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa described his ministry in a rural church composed of 27 different local congregations. Khabela preaches in each every few months; the rest of the time congregational elders are in charge of the preaching, teaching and pastoral care. Zsigmond György Vad described the resilience of the Hungarian Reformed Church in Debrecen under communism and its rebirth with multiple Sunday worship services, hundreds of baptisms and an impressive array of outreach programs.

 

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