Today was a good day. I had known for a while that I would be preaching at Kauma Prayer House, one of the three church plants of Lingadzi C.C.A.P. But I didn’t know until earlier this week that the service was going to be such a large celebration.
Kauma is trying to charter itself as its own church, but needs to have a building and be able to support its own pastor before the Synod will recognize it as one. The prayer house system here is a phenomenal model for church growth and someday I plan on blogging about it—But today is about Kauma.
This morning’s service started at 9:30 and didn’t finish till 1:00. There was singing and dancing, and then I preached. Usually I’m not a fan of the bilingual service, because of how long it can get. Back and forth, English and Chichewa (or, Chichinglish) all morning long. Those that understand both languages hear the sermon twice (which may be a good thing—double the chance something sticks right?). It is draining.
For some reason today was different. When you preach in Malawi, you are not onlyresponsible for the message but also the entire liturgy (as if learning a language hasn’t been difficult enough). I had a translator, but still tried my best with certain Chichewa phrases. Within my first few words the congregation was rolling in laughter—I knew it was going to be a good day.
I preached on John the Baptist, about his call for fruit bearing repentance. I mentioned that, in the same way he was tasked to prepare the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry we are called to prepare the world for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
The first offering was taken (regular tithe collection), and it was followed by a special offering to support the building project. Again I was astonished by the eagerness of these people to give. Singing, dancing, laughing and celebrating all the way up to the offering plate.
I couldn’t help to sit, listen and watch all the smiles. The building, as incomplete as it is, was overflowing with joy. It was contagious. Church had rejuvenated me. The people of Kauma know how to celebrate. I can’t wait to go back.