It’s the trip of a lifetime.

I am currently in Nairobi, Kenya for the S4 Conference with Global Surge.

“S” stands for Synergy. Synergy is the “interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects”

“4” stands for Scope, Speak, Scale, and Sustain.

I am representing the Baptist Bible Fellowship International – taking pictures, videos, interviews and hanging out with some amazing people.

I had an 8 hour flight from Detroit to Paris, then another 8 hour flight from Paris to Nairobi. Took my first Uber at 10pm last night and saw a zebra standing by the side of the road on the way to the hotel.

S4 hopes to create a conference that allows church leaders from all over the world to ‘cross-pollenate’ best practices for reaching and serving people in the name of Jesus. A big team from the Philippines are showing the Kenyans some of their ideas of children’s ministry, camps, and other outreach ideas. We have leaders from North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Africa. 

So, as I try to assess what I have taken in today on my first day in Africa, I think of three key ideas:

1 – We need to learn from each other.

Pride is one of our worst enemies in the area of personal and church life. Though we may say we appreciate others, we still think our way is the best. But today I have learned that no one has the market on the best method to do something. We are hearing from ministries that are reaching thousands and none of them are doing it the exact same way. We had several speakers simply talk about what they are doing to reach their community and it resonated with the attendees. I love it when an idea comes up and I think, “I could do that.”

When I visit another church I often look around to see what I can borrow to take home to my church and implement. But S4 is on a global scale. We are learning some of the best practices of churches and ministries around the world. If it works in the Philippines, or Germany, or Kenya, it might work in Michigan.

2 – We need to work together.

Taking the Gospel to the world is a BIG job and no one can do it alone. It takes a lot of different people to reach all the different people. Rather than fight against each other, we need to work together. For instance, Global Surge is doing an amazing job in children and youth outreach. They have camps, outreach teams that are making an impact all around Manila. So rather than keep all their great ideas to themselves, they brought an entire team of dozens of people to simply show the Kenyan church leaders how they do it. They are working together. Lifelong connections are being made and lives will continue to be changed because of this week. There is nothing that can break down racial and cultural barriers like the passion to take the Gospel to the world. When we work together, we multiply our efforts.

3 – God can use anybody.

My personal conversation with Vincent proved the life-change that Jesus can make in someone’s life. Vincent was a gangster in Manila at the age of 14 years old. But at 19 he was invited to attend camp and got saved. He soon surrendered to the ministry and was taught karate in seminary. He eventually used his love for karate to start a ministry called “Tough Guys” that is reaching thousands. He currently has 48 clubs around the world.

Whatever our talent, ability, or passion, God can use that to give us a unique way to serve Jesus. I have had conversations of people that have used magic, law enforcement, restaurant services, photography, and many other ‘non-religious’ abilities to reach people for Jesus. Don’t ever think that God cannot use you. He can use anybody.

I’ll be posting tomorrow about Day 2 of the S4 Conference. Thanks to Randy Harp (Baptist Bible Fellowship Communications Director), Faith Baptist Church (my church), and my wife for allowing me this privilege. 

Pictures courtesy of Keith Gandy.