Timothy held his breath, wondering if everyone in the room would stand up and walk out.
ITMI's Timothy Keller was at the front of a room full of Zambian leaders and pastors. He had just finished sharing about forgiveness from Matthew 18.
One of the chaplains stood up. He gazed around the room. Then in a loud, clear voice, he called two of the leaders to reconcile with one another.
Why this is Remarkable
Many pastors in Zambia come together to form "fellowships."
"There is generally a lot of division between and even within these groups.
For example, you can often find one fellowship for pastors with vehicles - the elite few- and another for pastors without them...and a lot more variations on the theme.
It is quite common within these groups to find pastors who will come in one door and leave through another, just to avoid having to greet another pastor whom he despises."
Pastor training and discipleship is something Timothy does often in the course of his ministry in Zambia and beyond. He has over a decade of experience equipping and discipling believers and leaders all over Africa.
Timothy training leaders in a Zambian village.
Timothy Keller discipling in South Sudan (it was then called just Sudan). (2002)
One of the foundations of the Kellers' ministry is meeting the need for Christians to understand what it means to live Biblically. Once someone is saved, they don't always realize their lives need to change, because they may not have access to God's Word.
And if they do, they may not realize its implications for them.
Timothy's been addressing these issues within the church for years, training African pastors to look into their own hearts as they learn to evangelize and disciple others.
He encourages them that "if the Church in Zambia is to grow and thrive, the leadership needs to learn to seek God’s face and pursue His ways."
Does it work?
Sometimes these tough lessons are received well...and sometimes they aren't.
Which is why Timothy was holding His breath as the chaplain called the two hostile parties to forgive and reconcile.
So, Did the Two Leaders Reconcile?
One of the leaders stood up and walked across the room. Every eye was glued to him, waiting to see what he would do.
The moment he reached the other leader seemed to last forever. The tension in the air was as thick as smoke.
The first leader embraced the other - a pastor from a different church. The other men spontaneously burst into song, "Bind us together, Lord bind us together” as they sought one another in the spirit of love and reconciliation.
"Transformation and revival start here - where men and women seek God’s forgiveness and pursue His ways. It is our prayer that God's Word will continue to bind the leadership of Zambia together with love. Please pray for the pastors and church leadership in Zambia."