Father is doing something remarkable in rural Kenya. A few years ago, a typical missionary family from the states was living Kenya. They were trying to serve God using the usual methods they were trained in from the institutional church to reach out to the community they were in. During that time, something just wasn’t sitting right with them, and Johnny Brooks was writing about it on his blog. He shared his frustrations of how Christian religiousness was running rampant as a clever money making scheme for the local ‘pastors’, and how the truly needy were being taken advantage of.
As we were developing our FRM website and blog, I was often online doing searches for other blogs that were talking about life outside of the institutional church. Part of our vision for this site was to share what others were doing, and to help tell the story of their experience living loved and following Father’s heart. One of my searches led me to Johnny’s blog Pure Christianity. We began to communicate back and forth via e-mail and in 2008 while Johnny is in the states, he had the opportunity to visit me and stay in my home for a couple of days. I even introduced him to his first In and Out burger. We discovered that we were both on the same page. We both sensed that Father had a bigger plan beyond how the institutional church had been doing missions for the past 100 years. There was a genuine hunger to engage in a more relational organic way of doing missions as the church in Kenya.
Jumping off the page
This was the first time I had encountered anything like this. We had interviewed folks for our Church Outside the Walls video series that were doing ministry outreach outside of the traditional methods of the I.C. (institutional church) in their communities. These folks were here in the states with their own jobs supplying their financial needs, but a missionary family seriously considering stepping away from the I.C. and its obvious financial support while living 10,000 miles from home, was all together new. They were jumping off the pages of all the blogs and the conversations in podcasts about living relationally with Father. Easy to talk and write about, but to be immersed into the reality of completely being vulnerable to the need of financial support? That takes guts, and putting to the test the strength of the relationships, love and support of their friends and family that believed in them. And what about the people who left the I.C.? Would they even bother to give to them, since they were now free from the religious obligation of the tithe, and no longer being marinated in guilt from the pulpit? Would anybody even know they were there?
They prayed about it and chose to leave the ‘church planting’ model, and follow their passion for the plight of the orphans in the city the live in. Instead of building an orphanage, they added 9 orphaned/abandoned girls to their family of 5. It’s so easy to wrap your head around institutional things like orphanages, church plants, schools, and so on, but how do you communicate a need for financial support for relational things, without obligation?
Enter social media and crowdfunding.
I have been with the Brooks since they’ve left the I.C. and lost their primary funding source. My friendship with Johnny and Kate has grown ever since. We have journeyed together on this path of missions outside of the I.C. I have tried to communicate and expand the awareness of their mission through social media and crowd funding, since they are no longer have the luxury of a captive audience on a Sunday morning raise support. It hasn’t been easy, or smooth, but there has been growth and expansion, and Father has been faithful. Each year we run a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for their very real needs, and to grow the awareness of their mission. Take a look at it and learn more about A Future and a Hope, and consider giving to it. Click here: Campaign
God is writing a story of love and hope that astounds me. This is his church. He can really be its head. What can happen in this world as people simply listen to him and do what he asks of them. He truly does all things well!