Dear CBC family,
I was privileged to experience two very different types of solid rock churches on my mission trip to Ethiopia last month. The first type was the famous rock hewn churches of Lalibela. These eleven churches, built in the 12 century AD, were literally carved out of solid rock under the leadership of King Lalibela. He built them in response to a vision he received while visiting Jerusalem. The King envisioned an alternative pilgrimage site for the Christians of Ethiopia because Jerusalem had been conquered by the Muslims and was no longer accessible. Despite being 900 years old, they are in use to this day and still attract Coptic pilgrims.
The second type of solid rock church that I experienced was Salvation Rock Church (SRC) in Addis Ababa. SRC was planted a couple of years ago by Pastor Workneh Tesfaye and is led by his sister, Pastor Mimi. This church is built very differently but is even more solid than the rock hewn churches of Lalibela! This church, which owns no building, is built out of people. Notably, SRC is intentionally located in a majority Muslim section of Addis. This type of solid rock church is described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:19-21: "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
You might have wondered at first how I could have described a new church plant that doesn't even own a building and is stretched financially as more rock solid than the 900 year old rock hewn churches of Lalibela. But now you know! Anything founded on Jesus and filled with His eternal Spirit is going to outlast anything built by human hands, even if carved out of solid rock. I would have enjoyed the satisfaction of taking part in the construction of the rock hewn churches in all their majesty and uniqueness. But even more do I find satisfaction in taking part in the construction of Salvation Rock Church!
I don't know God's plans for the connection between CBC and Solid Rock Church but at this point let me invite all of you to carve out :-) some time to pray for Pastor Workneh, Pastor Mimi, Evangelist Solomon and all the other leaders of SRC as they give themselves to building a church in Ethiopia not out of solid rock but on The Solid Rock!
To be continued,