We live in a radically different world today: A world in which despair, destruction and death has become the new norm. From the North to the global South, there is a common denominator of human destruction that leaves behind a trail of ruins and all sorts of atrocities. Darkness seems to have overtaken the light. Children are born and die without ever knowing the true meaning of peace, prosperity and a life that is truly life.
The question I intend to raise in this article is how are we, as Christians, churches, supposed to live in such a context? Surely, it can’t be business as usual. The brokenness around us calls for the rethinking, redefining and re-imagining of the mandate of the church. The sounds of death and wreckage of destruction are not far from us. We hear and see them every day. Churches and church leaders know of this prevailing pain. The Sky News documentary of Congolese children robbed of their childhood and turned into forced labourers to mine Cobalt international corporations is one of the many examples of the inhumanity in which we live.
This prevailingbrokenness is calling for a church that is prepared to assume its contextual God-ordained responsibilities. The social context we live in should compel the church to do church differently? From the world’s cruellest colonial system of King Leopold II of Belgium,to the Mobutu’s dictatorial reign, the Kabila regimes that have claimed over 10 million lives, the story has remained the same: instability, ruins, poverty, death, and brokenness. And this in spite of the paradoxical reality of being one of the world’s richest country in natural resources.
How do we minister in this socio-political context? Is the church and its leadership up to the task of doing theology contextually? My humble observation is that we have a myopic church; a church that is unable to see far beyond the basic “spiritual” needs; unable to perceive and lead the nation into its prosperous future. The near-sightedness of the Congolese church (both in the diaspora and at home) is expressed through the shallowness of “prosperity gospel” (a gospel that leaves the majority of its people poor) and its fascination with the demonic, the invisible, but also through its false theological dichotomy the spiritual (more important) and the physical (lesser important).
It is true that the Congo needs a message of prosperity and deliverance. But, not the kind preached in our churches today. We have tried that for over a century and have seen no tangible results. It’s time a new breed of church/prophets take the mantle of leadership to take the Congo into its glorious future. It’s time we turn the Congolese Christian majority into a revolutionary social transformational force. To do that, the church needs to acknowledge her own “brokenness” and allow the Lord to “FIX” her in order to become the much needed “FIXER-CHURCH”.
What is this “FIXER-CHURCH”? This church is modelled after Nehemiah; preaching and living out the word and will of God; and informed by its socio-spiritual context.
The following Seven-Point-Profile will help define this church: Firstly, it is a supernaturally PRACTICAL CHURCH. This is a church that does not give spiritual answers to practical social questions. She is not “so heavenly mindedthat she becomes of no earthly use”. She repairs walls (Nehemiah 2:18); She is heavenly minded for earthly impact (Matt. 6:10). Secondly, she is a PONDERING CHURCH; an intelligent and inquiring body; a church with both intellectual and spiritual capitals capable of dealing with the nation’s socio-political questions: How are things in Congo? What’s the state of affairs? (Nehemiah 1:2). Thirdly, her spirituality is not only expressed through her practicality and pondering capability but also her praying fervour. Her practicality and inquiry informs her prayer: a strategically PRAYING CHURCH (1:4-11). Fourthly, she is a PLANNING CHURCH. This is an outflow of her practicality (2:1-18). Fifthly, because she is practical, understanding, with divine insight and plan, she bears a divine obligation to share the vision with all (2:18; 3:1ff). That’s a PROMOTING CHURCH. Her prophetic voice is instructional, mobilising and revolutionary. Her Sunday and mid-week gatherings should help shape the minds. Sixthly, as a PRODUCING CHURCH, she is goal setting and results-oriented; defending the gains made (3:1-32; 4:1ff). And lastly, the foundational essential of the proclamation of the unadulterated word of truth (8:1ff) make of her a PROCLAIMING CHURCH. Like Ezekiel, shefeeds on the word to proclaim it (Ezekiel 3:3).
Arise, FIXER-CHURCH! Yes, let’s rebuild our God-given nation, the DR Congo.