Our time for formal lecture phase is coming to a close and we started this week with our very own DTS staff member, Keri Fishlock. He gave us a very interactive two-day work shop on Community Development and held everyones interest. “Community Development is essentially applied biblical worldview,” he said. He posed questions and invited discussion about something that we often don’t think about. “How do we help people without hurting them?”
We had a wide variety of discussions about things from our motivation behind outreach, to how we can practically meet physical needs of those we’re reaching out to, and where bringing the Kingdom comes into play. We also discussed if that means sharing the Gospel, what is the Gospel story we’re telling, and if so when, where and how. Keri showed us that the word ‘sin’ was only used 17 times in the gospels, but Gods Kingdom was referred to 117 times. I’ve come to see that it isn’t about church planting or salvation or evangelism in community development. I think the message needs to be that ‘our Father loves us’ and from there things can only go uphill.
“If God calls you to be a businessman don’t lower yourself to be a pastor”
This is what Keri told us about bringing the kingdom. Obedience to God is better than sacrifice. Keri talked to us and reminded us that the language we use defines our thinking. We talked briefly about ‘Christian-ese’ or language that Christians use that may not make sense to those who aren’t in a Christian environment. He told a story about an elephant and a mouse who decided to throw a party. The elephant danced and danced until it realised it hadn’t seen the mouse in a while. When he looked, he realised he had crushed it. Sometimes westerners are like that when we go on mission trips or into community development. When you have a desire to help, but walk all over those whom you are attempting to serve, there’s a problem. We have to re-evaluate how we act and what we view is “helping”. To whom much has been given, much is expected.
We are getting closer and closer to December 19, which is when the teams go off for outreach in the UK. Wednesday and Thursday were dedicated to outreach prep which is both exciting and nerve-racking. The three teams Newcastle/Uganda, Bristol/Next Wave, and Luton/Cambodia split up and began to prepare dramas, devotionals, bible lessons, and bond as teams. Outreach will hold different things for us all, and we’re ready to begin.
“Adventure is letting the unexpected happen to you.” -Richard Aldington.