Faithful in Little, Faithful in Much

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,

The Tates have served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

Not long ago I was challenged by one of the people at the Chapel. If you are reading this and you are a pastor or a church leader you have probably been challenged to think through this too. And even if you are not a pastor or a church leader you have probably thought through this challenge before also. So, the challenge this Chapel lady gave me went something like this: “This Chapel is all about you. You do everything in the service. Nobody else gets a chance to get involved or to participate in the service. This Chapel is all about you”. 

First of all, I was forced to think through her challenge about the Chapel being all about me. Was I hoarding the service and ministry duties because of pride, or because I was the important one, or because nobody could do it better than me? I have had to think about this, not only when she spoke to me but also subsequently to that. And, no, I don’t think that is an issue. One, I am trying to give them an alternative, something different than they would typically receive in a typical Kitale church (that being: 1. Simple, Biblical teaching  2. Reasonable, heart-felt worship  3. A focus on knowing God and following Jesus  4. No health and wealth gospel  5. No “God is my genie” mentality  6. No emotional craziness  7. No…well, you get the point). I am the only one I trust right now to incorporate these elements. Two, there is no one who comes on a regular enough basis to entrust with ministry responsibilities.

I have always had the opinion that ministry responsibilities should be given to those who show faithfulness to a church, its services and its ministries. In other words, if you want to teach Sunday School then you should show yourself faithful to the church services and ministries. If you want to lead the worship and singing, then you should show that you are committed and dedicated to the services and ministries of the church. That is my opinion. The Chapel lady had another opinion. She told me that people were not being faithful because I hadn’t given them responsibilities and opportunities. If effect, her opinion was opposite of mine.

My view – Give ministry opportunities to those who show themselves to be faithful, committed and dedicated

Her view – Give ministry opportunities to the unfaithful, the non-committed and the un-dedicated in order to make them faithful, committed and dedicated

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much…” –Luke 16:10

I discussed this with her and gave her my position on the matter, explaining why I approached the matter in the way that I did. She obviously disagreed and told me that I should take a risk. After giving the matter some thought I decided to give the experiment a try after all. 

So, here is what I did. I asked one man if he would be the one to open up our services. I asked him to read a Bible passage, say a few words and pray in order to open up our weekly Sunday services. I asked another young man who knows how to play the guitar if he would learn a couple of songs and lead the Chapel in singing them. I let him choose some songs and I gave him song sheets with chords so that he could practice them and lead the Chapel to sing those songs on the next Sunday.

The results of my experiment? I am hesitant to share them, but, here they are. The man I asked to open our services came the next Sunday and did exactly what I had asked him to do. After that, he didn’t even show up for our services for three out of the next four Sundays, leaving me wondering if I should wait for him or start things myself. The other young man that I asked to lead some songs came the next Sunday but he hadn’t learned the songs. Then he missed two Sundays and when he returned on the third Sunday still hadn’t learned the songs, meaning I had to have songs ready each week to play, not knowing whether he would be ready or not. He still hasn’t learned the songs.

I don’t know if the results of my experiment are typical. I don’t know if I haven’t let it run long enough. I don’t know if it verifies my original opinion. Should I keep trying it? God knows.

Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie & Chloe


Roger & Julie Tate
P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200

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Missionary Update: The Tates in Kenya [May 2015]

The Tate Family has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is indigenous church planting.

May 8, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last month I mentioned a tragic event that occurred in Kenya, namely, the attack by the Muslim terrorist group Al Shabaab (based in Somalia) against an innocent school in the town of Garissa.  Gunmen stole in at night while the students slept and murdered nearly 150 people.  The carnage and the terror it caused was heard in news reports around the world.  In my newsletter I mentioned that this terrorist event didn’t effect us too much because it was in a different part of the country from which we live.  It turns out that I was wrong in that assessment.  That event actually has effected the whole country in ways similar to the ways the whole United States of America was effected by the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centers.  I’m sure it will be easy to think back 14 years and remember the ways that attack impacted our own country.  Then you will be able to understand how the attack in Garissa effected Kenya.

KenyaMapFirst, do you remember the initial fear that the 9/11 attack caused?  I remember watching the TV with shock and fear and thinking “how could this happen”?  At the time I was working at the Wright/Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio and shortly after the attacks I watched out the window of my office and saw the command center plane took off and fly away.  Do you know the command center plane?  It’s the one that can launch all our nuclear weapons and control total annihilation all from the air.  I couldn’t help thinking “we’re all going to die”.  Well, similar reactions occurred here in Kenya after the Garissa attack.  I just talked with a young man this week who told me that his entire school refused to sleep in the dorm after the attack because they were afraid of being sitting ducks in their rooms.  They all slept outside or hid in places where they thought would be safer.  People everywhere were concerned that subsequent attacks would take place and that they were all at risk.

Second, do you remember the anger that followed up the initial fear after 9/11?  There was anger toward Muslims in general.  There was outrage that innocent people were killed and that our way of life was altered.  We went to war, we heightened security at the airports and we spew out vitriol against anyone we thought was an enemy.  The same occurred here in Kenya after the Garissa attack.  The government looked to close the border between Kenya and Somalia.  Then there were loud calls to move the IDP camp (Internationally Displaced People) where thousands of displaced Somalis live.  Kenyans didn’t want that camp to be located in Kenya anymore and demanded that the United Nations move it to another country.  Security was beefed up as well, at schools, shopping centers and government offices.  Most Kenyans were angry that so many students had been killed.  They felt violated.

Third, do you remember the questions that resulted from the 9/11 attacks?  People started asking questions like, “Why did this happen to us?”, “Where is God in all this?”, and “How could people be so evil?”.  For a long time people were more interested in spiritual things.  Churches had more people in them.  More people prayed.  People thought more about their eternal destinations.  The questions that resulted here in Kenya after the Garissa attack were a little different however.  I had people ask me questions like, “What should we do if a terrorist holds a gun to my head”, “Should I lie about being a Christian?” and “Should I pretend to be a Muslim to protect my family?”.  One person in one of our groups asked me if it was OK to memorize a few passages from the Koran so that if he were threatened by a terrorist he could quote them, pretend to be a Muslim and live to see another day.  Because of questions like these I have been addressing these issues in my teaching to the groups.  You can look up what the New Testament says about these things on your own, but, in short what I’ve been trying to teach them is that the cost of following Jesus can be high and that they need to count the cost.  I’ve tried to teach them that if they put their hands to the plow they should not look back.  I’ve shared with them that if they gain the whole world and lose their own souls they have gained nothing and lost everything.   I’ve shown them where Jesus says that if we seek to save our lives we will lose them and if we lose our lives for his sake we gain eternal life.  They’ve seen also that Jesus says if we love father or mother or children or nations more than him then we are not worthy to be his followers.  These are all hard sayings indeed but they apply just as much to Christians in Kenya in the 21st century as they did to the first century followers that Jesus was talking to.

How would you react if you were put in the same situation?  9/11 was worse by far that the attacks in Garissa in Kenya.  But it didn’t take long for those effects to fade away in our country.  I wonder how long it will be before people stop thinking much about it here too.  I pray that we Christians here in Kenya and you brothers and sisters in the States as well would be totally devoted and committed to following our Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength.  And even with our lives.

Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.

For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, Josiah & Chloe)

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