Every year Nairobi Chapel (a NewThing church in Nairobi, Kenya led by Pastor Oscar Muriu) puts on a church planting conference that they call "Viral". The intent is to bring together church leaders within the African context to encourage, inform, and equip them in the hopes that they will catch the vision and spread the "bug" that is church planting. And every year it grows in size, reach, and impact. This year there were nearly 700 ministers of the gospel from more than 10 countries who gathered to hear what God is saying to the African church about the idea of church multiplication.
One of the major highlights of the three day event occurred during the last session of the final day. During this time 78 church planters were brought on stage – all of whom had recently graduated from Nairobi Chapel’s church planting school. They were there to be celebrated for the completion of the program as well as to be commissioned to plant a church in the next 12 months. How inspiring it was to see these men and women stepping out in faith to start new churches in the name of Jesus and with the hopes of helping people find their way back to God. So cool!
Another memorable part of the conference came in the form of a Ugandan pastor named Elisha Kakwerere. Pastor Elisha leads a church in rural Uganda and under his influence they have planted over 30 churches. He reached out to NewThing via email just a few months ago. As he and I talked, I felt more and more that it would be greatly beneficial if he were able to come to the Viral Conference. And come he did!
Pastor Elisha arrived the day before the conference started with two of his top leaders. All of them having traveled together by bus on a two day journey. Over the course of the conference we had nothing but enjoyable interactions. I was in awe for his enthusiasm for what he felt God was saying to him about the future. Pastor Elisha said he is now a part of NewThing and has extended an invitation for me to go to Uganda next year.
Every day of the Viral Conference brought exciting conversations with new (and some familiar) faces. Every day I left energized and expectant for the role I'll be stepping into full-time in just a few short months. God is on the move all over the world!