With church services suspended, Christians all over the world are looking for creative solutions.
One pastor in Kiambu, Kenya has found a unique way to minister to his congregation.
And it sounds so fun, you’ll wish that your church did the same thing!
Traditional, in-person church services were suspended in Kenya in mid-March, when the country’s first case of COVID-19 was identified.
“When corona opened its floodgates to Kenya and the world, one of the things that was quickly cut off is the fellowship of believers,” said Reverend Paul Machira, the preacher at the All Saint Cathedral of the Anglican Church of Kenya in Kiambu.
But Reverend Machira knew his congregation needed to keep worshiping together, so he started brainstorming creative ways to stay connected.
He quickly realized that, even if the people couldn’t come to church, the church could still come to them.
“I also think this is the greatest opportunity that has ever arisen to the church, reason being we have got reason to out on the streets,” Machira reflected.
“Jesus sometimes would go the temple but his main ministry was out in the fields, out in the streets.”
So Machira, set on imitating Christ, found a way to bring church into the streets of Kiambu with a “mobile service” each week!
Machira, a supporting band, and other church leaders travel to apartment blocks in the heart of Kiambu, performing music and preaching sermons for people to hear from the apartment balconies.
They perform in the street, using amplifiers and loudspeakers to reach the residents all around.
Machira and his team call the mobile service “Balcony to Balcony,” or “B2B” for short.
Of course, they make sure that every apartment neighborhood wants the service before they come—but most neighborhoods jump at the chance to worship together!
“Of course [the service] has not happened unless and until all the members of that neighbourhood have agreed and actually accepted to invite us over,” Reverend Machira said.
Despite closing churches to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Kenyan government has approved this service and applauded Machira’s initiative in bringing Jesus to the people.
“It has been beautiful—children coming together, worshiping God, praising Him,” said Reverend Machira.
He’s been nicknamed “Uncle Sam” by the local children, who look forward to each and every service.
In Kenya, it’s often difficult to view church services online, so the children Machira reaches have very few Biblical resources outside of the B2B services.
Lilian Mbere, a Sunday school teacher, was one of Machira’s inspirations for creating the mobile service program.
Mbere had invited children to sing hymns and Sunday school songs from their balconies to connect and stave off their boredom, but she quickly found that she needed more help after the initial response was overwhelming.
So she invited Machira to help her—and the rest is history!
“I have seen a lot of growth in the children,” Mbere said excitedly.
“When I sometimes delay and I am not in my balcony by 2 p.m., they usually come asking if they are having a service today. It’s like a way of life for now.”
“Sometime when I am in my house I can hear them singing the songs we have taught them,” she added.
The Sunday services are bearing fruit throughout the week, and they’re an eagerly-awaited event for children and adults alike!
“So on Sundays whenever we see the van come in, we see Uncle Sam [Reverend Machira] coming in, and with his overall and removing the piano and the sets, my daughter just stands through the balcony window looking at it and waiting,” said one mother.
She added that it’s been difficult for her daughter to adjust to Kenya’s stay-at-home orders, but the B2B services have restored a feeling of normalcy for her and many of the apartment residents.
“[I would love for the visits to continue because] they have helped dilute the fear,” she concluded.
Machira plans to continue his mobile services as long as necessary. He knows that he’s bringing hope and joy to many who are growing discouraged throughout the pandemic.
His work is a great reminder that the church should go to those in need instead of waiting for them to come!
Is there a way you can bring church to those around you during this time?