There are hundreds of churches in Beira, some of well-known denominations like Anglican and Baptist, but more often they are small independent Mozambican denominations. Most are charismatic, and many pastors have not been trained. They may come into their positions simply because they own and know how to read a Bible.
Many churches want a missionary as part of their congregation. Perhaps it’s a status thing? Perhaps they genuinely want the encouragement and training. And missionaries, regardless of their capacity, are expected to preach. Fortunately, I shouldn’t be asked to preach for a couple more months. In the meantime I am spending time visiting various churches. Part of this is to connect with different pastors and congregations, part to experience different types of Mozambican churches, and part just to see where I would like to settle in for my time here. During this time I should ask myself if I want to get involved with a smaller church on the outskirts of town who would use me as a missionary. Or do I want to get involved with a larger, more established church in town where I could blend in more and just be part of the congregation without automatically being assigned a leadership role? I’ve got some time to ponder the options.
So far I’ve been able to visit three local churches (four if you count the International Fellowship). Last Sunday morning I attended a small church that was nearly identical to mine in Honduras, from the singing style and preaching to the cement building with wooden benches. In the evening I attended a lively and informal service geared toward young people (teens to twenty-somethings) at a small church in town. Yesterday morning I attended a service in Manga, the peaceful, clean “suburb” I mentioned in a previous post. In the service, there was a group of about 20 who had braved the rain to worship together in the tiny, wood-and-straw building. Every service I’ve attended so far has involved harmonized, a capella singing, clapping, and a little bit of dancing. And all the churches have had sound, biblical teaching. They’ve also had warm, friendly congregations. So far so good. I also have a growing list of other churches I’d like to visit, including the Assemblies of God Africana church my host family attends and another church in Manga.
In the meantime I will also be writing more posts concerning church here.