The more I learn about Nashville First Church of the Nazarene, the more I am thrilled with the place God has prepared for CTTF. Below are a few of the details that Sabrina Jones, the children's pastor, shared about their church.
"On Easter Sunday of 2015, a small group of Africans attended our Celebration Service. They came from our ELL classes. For the next couple weeks, they continued to bring a few more and then a few more to witness our services. It was evident and unanimous among the five pastoral leaders of this group that God was compelling them to request a partnership of their community of believers with NFCN. Very soon a meeting was scheduled, and by May 2015 this African congregation of Christian believers began worshiping in our Wise Chapel each week.
"It was not until after they had begun meeting at our facility that we learned there was a back-story. When this group of church leaders was still in the Congo, on the continent of Africa, there was an elder prophet among them who sent them off with the unfolding of a vision God had given him. He told them, "When you enter the city where you are sent, you will know the church where you are to meet because it will be a very large church that will teach you how to speak the English language (ELL Classes), and in that same church you will also find an elderly American gentleman who speaks Swahili. This is the place where you are to start your church." David Smith, my father, is that gentleman. He is the son of missionaries to Africa, so he grew-up speaking the Swahili language.
"These 16+ months later, we are humbled that God has blessed us with the gift of this vital congregation. They have already outgrown their space in our Wise Chapel, and are moving to another location within our facility which will afford them extended space. Recently, out of necessity, a satellite African church was opened in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda are the five countries from which these church members have come.
"I mentioned to Pastor Jerome Songolo, the lead pastor of our African congregation, that his congregation is a true gift to First Church. He nodded his head in agreement, and proceeded to grab his shirt with both hands and say, "You think we need clothes, and you think we need chicken, but our coming here is of God." He was saying that basically we think they are in our church because they need us to meet their basic needs, but it's far greater than that. Obviously, many of these refugees are living in government-subsidized conditions. Then he said, "When you are seeking God's presence, you must first experience a Spirit of Sanctification Cleansing." He went on to describe that your heart must be clean just like the priests had to cleanse themselves prior to entering the Holy of Holies in the temple. Then he told me that there are three types of visitations from the Spirit. He said, "The Spirit will come over you (anointing), the Spirit will come within you (empowering), and the Spirit will come among you (unifying power)." Ladies, His Church needs the fullness of the Father in the Spirit. We must prepare so that we can receive HIM in a whole new way. Are you eager like the virgin who ran to fill up her lantern with oil awaiting the flame?"
Susan Mann is sending out prayer requests daily until the conference. If you would like to receive them, please email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Monday through Wednesday, the praise team will be
writing music around our new theme.