There are a number of reasons for this. Since I came to Uni, back in 2005, and ever since I’ve met Pentecostal Christians. Some have challenged my prejudices and have taught me lots, others have confirmed my worst stereotypes. However, this is not a general comment, but rather the 2nd part of my reflections of being part of a church in Malawi.
The second church we experienced in Malawi was a more modern, independent church with a Pentecostal feel, where our hosts and a number of other ex-pats were members. Sadly we couldn’t join them on the Sunday, but were pleased to accept an invitation to a home group meeting.
In contrast to Area 50 Baptist Church, the ex-pat community have more than they need – so it was great to see the Christians being so generous with what they had. The South African family I stayed with were part of this church, they taught me 3 key lessons about the Christian faith:
Firstly, they live out their faith, their faith moves them to action, not just to principles for life, or a theory, what they believe they actually do, and really seek to put into practise. To me, the God Channel, which they often had on sounds just like “how to live the good life”… but if you actually live out some of these principles it is powerful!
Secondly, and this is an outworking of the first, they showed me what generosity and hospitality look like in practise. They put up 3 strangers for 10 days, they welcomed us into their home, they said “Don’t feel at home. Be at home.” The reason they welcomed us so well was because though they didn’t know the details, they knew it was gospel work that had brought us there. Their generosity could be seen in lots of practical ways: tithing, adoption, hospitality, offering employment, serving their church, taking in extended family, supporting their workers and those in need around. Theirs is a faith very practically lived out.
Thirdly, they have a strong sense of Spiritual Warfare. While I would be cautious about attributing events “to the devil” they very much embraced this idea, not in an unhelpful way, but in a way which sought to do good to others and to serve the gospel as a way of “fighting back”. While not all their beliefs I’d agree with, you couldn’t fault the way they actually put them into action!