As I continue to help you focus on issues to consider and decisions to make in identifying and fulfilling your life’s destiny I will now share with you a testimony of a good friend of mine and how he was helped in his approach to this important subject by being a member of Church of Christ the King (CCK), the Newfrontiers church in Brighton, UK.
Introducing John Kpikpi
John came to Brighton from Ghana to study for a PhD in zoology over 20 years ago. While at Sussex University he became an active member of CCK (called Clarendon Church in those days) and successfully completed his PhD - as well as finding a lovely wife !
In preparing this material I phoned John to ask various questions:
Q1 What did he see that was different at Clarendon Church?
• High value of church on God’s heart (had seen churches in Ghana – people just left and moved easily)
• Expectation of an encounter with the Holy Spirit
• Preaching faithfully from the word
• Healthy attitude to money
• Servant leadership in contrast to one-man ministry
• Young men can come through in leadership
What have you observed in your church that has impacted you and given you fresh understanding of God’s purposes?
Q2 What did John feel God was saying to him?
• That he should become a church planter – he had responded to a guest speaker at the Newfrontiers Leaders Conference in 1990 at the Brighton Conference Centre who made a call for church planters (I have heard many others say their response to this appeal changed their lives).
Q3 How did this affect John’s thinking?
• His expectations for his career path had been only academia/zoology. Now he saw it on a ‘bigger canvas’
• He felt commissioned to plant New Testament churches
• He prayed in a more intentional and focussed way about the future.
Q4 How did this affect John’s time in Brighton?
• Attended every prayer meeting possible
• Obtained resources
• Built friendships so that he could learn
Q5 What did John regret not doing while in Brighton?
• Not sitting with leaders enough and asking questions e.g. how to start a church and lay a good foundation
What steps should you be taking to avoid ‘missing the opportunity’ of being at your particular church?
Be specific about:
• People to see or spend time with (e.g. asking questions from church leaders)
• Meetings you would like to attend
• Resources you would like to obtain
Now plan how you will follow these things through.
Q6 Was Cultural re-entry difficult?
• Not too difficult – but it was for Alex, his English wife.
• Faced issues about Ghanaian culture v Kingdom culture e.g. racism, funerals, marriage, grace.
(Nb John has written an excellent book God’s New Tribe out of his experience and theological study, which addresses these issues. I strongly urge you to obtain a copy and read it. Price £4.99 + postage. I would be happy to handle any order you may send me at email@example.com)
I then asked John if he had any word of advice for those facing the next season in life:
• Time here (ie studying in Brighton) is not accidental – use it well. Throw yourself into whatever you are doing
• Time away from your home setting is a good time to hear God – you can more easily ‘separate the wood from the trees’
• As you consider your future remember that separation of married couples is not good e.g. when one goes to USA, say, to earn money but leaves his/her partner and family at home. If this possibility applies or could apply to you settle this issue in your heart before you face it.
There are several exercises I have given you. Please be diligent in doing them before we move on to the final part next time.