Contend Earnestly: Why Harambee Convinced Us to Stay

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Why Harambee Convinced Us to Stay

So, now that we have visited Harambee because of all the reasons stated in my last post, what is keeping us here? I want to just put up some of our thoughts on what we have noticed about the church as a whole after we have attended Sunday morning, missional groups, met with elders and leaders and attended the men's retreat. These observations are God's ways of calling us to stay and dig in at Harambee.

1. Christ Centered, Heart Gripping

This is the biggest thing we have noticed. It is all about Jesus. The sermons are full of the glory of Christ instead of just tagging him at the end of the sermon. Christ, the cross and the glory of the Trinity are shown as the fulfillment of every sermon and how it should impact our hearts, minds and actions. These things aren't just put at the end of the sermon as a quasi alter call for those sinners in the audience to repent. The whole sermon is a calling for believers and non-believers alike to repent and live a life of repentance by peeking into the throne room of Christ and his completion of each passage or topic preached. Because of this focus, your heart is assaulted and you leave knowing your shortfall, but with the hope of the work of Christ for you. The cause for change isn't because I desire to make God happy with me, live a better life, get rid of this sin or that sin, the cause for change is happening because I desire to live for the sake of the One who incarnated himself on a rescue mission for my soul. Quite the difference and one that is not just found in the sermon, but in the very lives of the congregants and shown in the music, the discussions and in the kids gospel classes as well.

2. Purposeful to Exalt Christ

I used to scoff at those churches that were emerging and missional. Was told that they didn't know how to do church. I have to say that Harambee is the most purposeful church I have ever been to. Each week for the Sunday gathering the service is scripted to show the flow of the Christian walk. This is what has historically been called liturgical worship. Now, when most people hear this, they think boring and repetitive. Not so here. The service is set up like this:

Songs of Repentance (with corporate Scripture reading)

Songs of Hope (with corporate Scripture reading)

Scripture reading for our sermon and prayer for our kids


Reading of Nicene Creed

Communion with songs of confession

Songs of Celebration with all of our kids present with us to see the glory and joy found in the fullness of the gospel

This is a gathering with a purpose. Not to mention the preaching and music are simply amazing.

Not only is the Sunday gathering purposeful, but if you ask why the church does anything, it is always purposeful. From church planting, community development, family Sundays (where there is no childcare to have the whole family present during worship to show how church is done worldwide), partnering and taking overseas trips to develop local churches, to the individual member taking ownership for the purpose God has put them into the church for. It is astounding to see what this church does without care if the attendance will go up. They keep planting churches with members, sending members off to team up with new plants, etc. because they care more about where Christ is calling them, than what the attendance is week in and week out.

I have yet to find something that Harambee has that is done just because they have "always done it this way." They truly are men and women who gather under the flag of Semper Reformanda: Always Reforming. All for the Glory of God Alone.

3. Gospel Saturated Transparency

We have only been at the church for 3 months but this has been interesting to see. No apologies for past sinful lives. No apologies for struggles within the person. Just honest discussion on how God has restored, or is restoring the sinner for the glory of God. We have seen this from the pastor preaching, unveiling struggles he has, to the time of testimony where real lives have been exposed to show the glory of the Gospel and its transforming power. Women have shared past sins and past/present struggles openly and honestly so that the church as a whole can come alongside them and love them and see the work of the Spirit in their lives. They open up because they know that they aren't going to be judged, but are going to be loved. This is because this church has been saturated with the gospel and the response is found in lives that desire community with a family.

We have seen it in the Sunday gathering but we have also seen it within our interaction with individuals. Whether it is from our missional leaders to discussions with men on the retreat, it is apparent that these Christians desire deep relationships to penetrate the heart with gospel living. It has allowed myself and my wife to open up and expose our hearts like we have not done in a long time, knowing (or hoping at this point) that it won't be used against us, but will be used to pray for us and come alongside us.

This is where we are with Harambee. We are excited to see what God has in store for us here. We are still in the infancy stage with them, but already see a huge difference and see the gospel clearer and clearer the more times we interact. Our hearts are already being drawn to Christ closer because of their witness and we thank God for them, and can't wait for God to continue to show us his greatness through them.

This is why we are not sneaking out the back door. This is why our journey is just starting with them. This is why God has already started to knit our hearts to them.

May God be glorified and Harambee be humble always seeking out the will of our God for the sake of the cross.



Darlene said...

Good to hear you are being introduced to liturgical worship. I left the non-denominational church I had been attending two and half yrs ago. My heart was crying out for more.

Now I am a catechumen in the Orthodox Church. The Incarnation is central to Orthodox worship. We often call upon His mercy for we know that we are in desperate need of forgiveness. The homilies focus many times on the gospels and stress the importance of living our faith in our daily lives by the manner in which we treat others.

I am blessed to worship with others in the Divine Liturgy where the Nicene Creed has been proclaimed for 2 millenium. Everyone worships as a family, the elderly, moms & dads, little children and babies.

The Lord's Supper (the chalice) is given at every Divine Liturgy. Such reverence I had never witnessed before attending the Orthodox Church.

May Christ be glorified as you seek to serve Him more fully.

In His Immeasurable Love,


Seth McBee said...


I have a feeling that our liturgical style of worship is far different than yours...


Darlene said...


I suspect that your "style" of Liturgical worship is different as well. :) Nonetheless,it is good to hear that you are saying the Creed during worship. Many churches use the expression, "No creed but Christ" to justify not reciting the Creed.

I also gathered from your comments that you are now more focused on the Incarnation. This is good to hear as well. Many churches have forgotten the purpose of the Incarnation. Christ assumed our humanity so that we could share in His divinity. And we live the incarnational life by being Jesus to others and extending His love and mercy toward them.

May you be comforted by His presence as you journey toward the Celestial City.

In Christ's Immeasurable Love,


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