My good mate Pastor Wayne Field and I decided this year that it was the year of challenge and personal growth. To get out of our comfort zone. To keep this post reasonably short, we sought out an opportunity to teach Pastors in a cross cultural setting. We wanted to share some of what we have learnt, and were given a opportunity in Kediri, Indonesia. It took about 4.5 hours to drive the less than 200kms (aprox) from Surabaya to Kediri, less than it took to fly from Perth to Surabaya. Kediri is the home of the President and Vice President of the Baptist Church in Indonesia, although HQ is in Jakarta.
We set out after having prepared material on….
Organizational Vision, Inclusion, Program and Management. This deals with the life-cycle of any organization, but in this context tailored to a Church Environment.
Conflict management and resolution.
Leadership Identification and recruitment, both in paid and volunteer setting.
I also had some on personal character and relationship issues.
I prayed about it, and decided that before we left I would have no expectations. Whatever happened…happened.
This was because before we left we had studied cultural issues, local tension between different faiths in Indonesia. What we read and studied informed us, but nothing prepared us for what we found.
*As long as Indonesian Churches are aware that Indonesia is a Muslim dominated country, and are aware of the cultural sensitivities…they will not be persecuted. If Churches are deliberately provocative they will find themselves in trouble. In the local Church leaders view, some of the churches who have found themselves in trouble have been unwise.
*The Church in Indonesia is alive and well, growing and healthy. It has much to teach the West.
*It has some cultural difficulties to overcome if it is to become increasingly healthy. As we talked about recruiting leaders and identifying leaders, it was obvious this will be difficult in a culture which honours age over effectiveness.
*Pastors can find it difficult to ‘lead’ depending on their context. Like Australia, they need to determine to be in the church for a long period of time in order to gain trust and respect, and the authority needed to be an effective leader.
*Pastors find the same issues in character and integrity that we have, there are men…there are women…there are issues.
*The Indonesian Church needs to understand they are stronger, wealthier and more effective than they give themselves credit for. They should realise that far from needing support from ‘The West” they have entered the lifecycle where they are significant contributors to the Global Church. It is time for them to send, release and multiply.
Personally this time was challenging to me. It is great to have your structures right, but a Church with spirit will always be more effective than one with good structures, but not as much spirit.
Most of the churches impressed me.
But the one I preached at first on Sunday morning was extraordinary in its worship.
It was a swelling, pulsating, passionate, emotive sense of passion. I loved it…and only understood a few words. It felt just like Inglewood Church. As far away as they are, and as different…worship transcends language.