After two weeks of overseas travelling and missions, I was very excited to be back home and reunited with our Church Family here in Nigeria.

As I expected, everywhere is a beehive of activities funneled towards final preparations for the forthcoming festival of home churches 2010

the desire to be different, to make history

I’ve discovered that the one thing I share in common with the membership and leadership of our ministry is the desire to be different, to stand out and be different. I feel it every time I get the opportunity to spend time with any of the leaders here, both male and female.

I am a non-conformist, and I enjoy being that way. And I’m really glad that this is one powerful common thread that I share with the leadership of the movement that I lead.

Festival of Home Churches 2010We want to stand out in the sands of time and have it recorded that we lived extraordinary lives and performed phenomenal feats such as no other ever had, or ever will.

During my sermon yesterday in church, I pointed out the reality that we will never realize our dreams of distinction by doing what every other person is doing, or doing it how others are doing it. Rather, it is by daily and deliberately making that conscious choice and effort to be different.

I see this coming Festival as an opportunity for us to register a statement, to introduce new realities. This is an opportunity for us to actually make history, to do something we’ll be proud of for years to come; something that people would refer to for decades to come.

…our real strength

First of all, this Festival is our opportunity to defy the traditional ministry paradigm that strength lies in numbers.

Of course, that traditional paradigm makes sense; it’s absolutely logical. But it’s not essentially true. As a matter of fact the following scripture flies right in the face of it:

“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all it’s great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”
~ Psalm 33:16 – 18

Note my emphasis in the verse above.

David was a mighty warrior and won so many victories. Indeed, he was Israel’s greatest warrior king, and in the course of his numerous campaigns and victories, he learnt a very profound mystery relating to victory and conquest – no king is saved by the size of his army.

I’m certain he learnt this secret both from divine revelation, as well as from practical experience.

Life is a race; it is a battle too. And in this race and battle, victory is never a function of size or numbers. David learnt that the secret to winning in the race and battle of life is the LORD Almighty actively working in the life of an individual, group, or nation.

Our real strength is not in our numbers or human resources; our real strength is in our God.

“The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”
~ Psalm 28:8

…the real church

Secondly, this Festival is our opportunity to bring the real church into spotlight.

Our generation is enamored by size and numbers, and this has infected even the church. Ministry success today is measured in terms of church attendance figures: the term ‘mega-church’ has been among us now for a while and has become some sort of ‘goal’ to aspire to by church leaders.

Actually, I have absolutely nothing against mega churches. As a matter of fact I do admire them and believe that they are a force for good in a society that seeks any cause to despise the church of Jesus Christ.

As I wrote in an earlier post on this blog, the Church can take many forms in its expressions in time and space – a massive stadium celebration galore, as well as a small, simple Christian friends club.

The fact that God is not in any away against ‘mega-churches’ is clearly expressed in the words of Saul’s son, Jonathan:

“Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.
~
1 Samuel 14:6c

In fact, any mega church, as their history will show, is actually the result of decades of faithfulness and diligence from a committed few.

The problem however is when we erroneously believe that we can’t fulfill our dreams and visions if we are few in number; when ministers feel intimidated, discouraged, and develop a sense of failure simply because they have a handful of people in their congregation.

Personally, in a world that is enamored by mega churches – huge crowds and large numbers of spectators, I’m more interested in mini churches – compact, small groups of intimate brothers and sisters.  Jesus defined the Church as “Where two or three are gathered together in my name…’”

Our Home Churches This Festival is our opportunity to highlight the essence of the Church as defined by Jesus Christ. I want to encourage those who lead ‘a handful of people’ to be strengthened in their heart and become more motivated to faithfully shepherd the flock over which the LORD has made them overseers.

Leaders of so called small groups must realize that they can achieve any dream that the LORD has placed in their hearts in spite of their numbers.

…a very important distinction

Yet, we should never be under any illusions in terms of God’s demands for increase, productivity, and fruitfulness: God wants us to be fruitful in life and ministry. He wants our services to Him to be productive and expansive. He wants us to be achievers, winners, victors, conquerors, and overcomers.

“Five of you will chase a hundred and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.”
~
Leviticus 26:8

As you can see from the above verse, the essence of a team is one thing, her reach, impact, and output is another. This is a very important distinction.

In other words, big or small, numbers should never define our level of impact; big or small, we should be able to reach hundreds, thousands, millions, and even billions with our gifts and talents. Scanty numbers should never become an excuse for mediocrity.

This was actually what David meant in the following verse which we have already quoted before:

“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all it’s great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”
~ Psalm 33:16 – 18

And this is an important point we want to make during this Festival.

Regardless of the size of your congregation, five or hundred , you have the potential to make a difference and reach the entire world from where you are if you understand where our real strength lies and how to tap into it for multiplied output.

The implication of Jonathan’s statement below that…

“Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” ~
1 Samuel 14:6c

…is that a church of, say ten people, has as much capacity to fulfill their divine vision as much as another church of, say one hundred thousand people. Provided, of course, the group of ten people understand that…

…the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”
~ Psalm 33:16 – 18

…as well as that,

“The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”
~ Psalm 28:8

…multiplied output

In the Parable of the Talents, the King (symbolizing Jesus) gives a talent to each of his servants and sends them out into the marketplace to produce profits.

“So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
~
Luke 19:13

Festival of Home Churches 2010 When the king came back, he rewarded the servants on the basis of how much they were able to multiply their original talents.

And when one of the servants failed to multiply his talents he is severely rebuked and punished by the master. “Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?” said the master in verse 23.

Clearly, our Master, who has invested so much in us, expects profitable returns on His investment.  This is another important point of this Festival – to challenge individual members of Christ’s body to make the most out of every resources and opportunities that we have for the glory and joy of our LORD.

…secrets of the Master

As always, and in everything, Jesus Christ remains our model. In the miracle of the feeding of the multitude, He shows us a perfect example of how little things can make a phenomenal difference. Using only five loaves and two fish, He fed a crowd of over five thousand people!

That miracle showcases the Master’s secrets to making the most out of the least:

#1. Jesus Christ recognized His potential – what He had.

“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five- and two fish”. ~ Mark 6:38

He took stock of what He had.

Warriors focus on what they do have, the strengths that they do possess. 

#2. He was grateful for it.

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.” ~ Mark 6:41a

#3. He stepped out in faith with it.

“Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.” ~ Mark 6:41b

4. He was not wasteful with it.

“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’” ~ John 6:12

I dare you to step out today with the many or few that you have. Step out in faith and courage, and with a heart of gratitude. You will be amazed at how much you can achieve with what you have.

Welcome to the Festival of Home Churches 2010

Download our App