Three years ago we made some big moves. After many years of being involved in Zambia through a non-profit organization, we decided to become recognized as a local church. We felt the Lord begin to place the pursuit on us to ‘give the Church her identity back’, in the city of Choma. At the time, we anticipated this would be an adjustment, though we had no idea how massive this change would be. Though we are still learning the long-term effects, we have already seen major shifts in the last few years.
I could write a book, or at least its own post about why we did this and what we have already learned. But in short, being a local church has changed how we are perceived by the community – we are no longer seen as an organization to receive from, but rather a body to participate in. It changed what is required from us – no longer are we able to meet a need or provide a service, but we must walk with and walk through every space and season of life with friends. It changed the circles we are connected to, and who we have influence with – other churches, ministers, and leaders. And, maybe above all, it has changed what we inadvertently communicate about the role of the church, the power of the Gospel, and our faith in Jesus Christ to redeem the world. Though we have always believed that Jesus is enough – being the church has put His name on us. And as we continue to pursue absolute and complete transformation in every sphere of society in this city, we communicate that this role is intended for the Church.
Over the past three years, our church has grown. Although, it’s hard to say how big our church is and it’s even harder to define how the Church should be counted. Of course, we desire growth in the size of the church – but we desire growth in the collective body here in Choma, not just in our own numbers at a Sunday morning service. And beyond that, we really desire that our church body grows in maturity, in faith, and in their activation in the mission of Jesus.
As a team, we are seeking to understand what it means to ‘give the church her identity back’ in this city, in this culture, and in this generation. I believe this is a loaded statement; a pursuit soaked with undoing patterns that have solidified in the culture and the church, and drawing out and building up that which is good and already established. We are using the Word, the examples of the New Testament Church, the history of the Church, and the current and active movement of the Holy Spirit in this nation to guide and inform us.
What we know is that God is after this nation. He wants to build His Church with the people in this city, as active participants in establishing His Kingdom and growing His family here and now. He has hidden His nature and His strategy within His people here.
And we simply want to unearth it, we want to draw it out.
But to do this, we need to go deeper. And our church, the Church in this city is ready for more; ready for more opportunity, ready for more growth, and for more training. Ready to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus and their participation in His work. We want to be part of leading her there, of launching her into every unique, creative expression God has called her to be in this city. There is so much goooood work to do ahead of us. We can’t wait to see what our future holds.
But in the present, we have started something new to begin to go after this with our own church body. On Sunday, August 22, 2021, we launched Poetice Houses. Our houses are groups of 6-20 members ages 15 and older. Poetice House Members will gather together at least once a week in the House Leader’s home. They will learn about God together, fellowship together, and worship God together. We believe that Poetice Houses will allow our church members to grow in their relationship with Jesus, get to know and be known by one another, share in life together, witness each other discover what they are called to do and become, and partner together to see our city transformed. We believe it’s going to take us deeper.
Right now we have six different Poetice Houses and over 100 people signed up to be a part of these new Houses. All of these individuals completed our first-ever Membership Retreat a few weeks ago and have chosen to commit to this Poetice family and our mission. It’s really beautiful and it’s going to require a lot of us, a lot of our church, and a lot of God. I can’t help but think, what an incredible place to be.