Report from the LCMC National Gathering Part 3
(a bio of the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba from the LCMC website is found at the end of this report).
Gemechis Buba is a favorite speaker at LCMC events. He is always very Biblical and very Christ centered and a joy to listen to. He prays powerfully and is a man full of the Spirit and truth. In my mind, Dr. Gemechis Buba sets the theological agenda and gives us the Scripture, the other speakers come along and tell us how to implement what he said.
Dr. Buba began by bemoaning the loss of many seminaries and Christian higher education schools to liberal theology. Liberal theology, which believes that all people will be saved regardless of their commitment to Christ or how they respond to his call to, “Follow me,” kills mission. If everyone is saved there is no incentive for the Church to “Go into all the world and make disciples.” Liberal theology is now being exported to other countries in the world and it represents a great danger to our historic faith.
In the Church, we need more leaders faster. Our future depends on how many leaders we are training today.
We need to put more boots on the ground for Jesus. Gemechis’s father was a pastor, a district president, in prison for his faith in Ethiopia during the brutal communist regime. At that time, the church was in retreat. Property was seized. People were jailed or killed. The communist government looked like it would last forever. But his father never stopped developing leaders so that when things changed, the church would be ready. It was people like Gemechis’s father that built leaders for the church, who God used to fan the explosive growth of the church today. Leaders make leaders. Leaders grow churches.
Today, churches are “scared of the magnitude of the mission field.” We must overcome our fears and move forward in faith. Why should we be different than the Ethiopian? We aren’t even in prison yet. We must make leaders. We must advance the kingdom and build the Church. We must get ready for the future that God has in store for it will surely come.
The theme of the Gathering was “Ambassadors for Christ” based on Paul’s concept found in 2 Corinthians 5.
An ambassador, per the diplomatic websites, is a “chief of mission.”
An ambassador is a master at building relationships. An Ambassador for Christ must be a master of building relationships with:
With Host Culture. This means we must understand where we are. Protocols.
How do I become an ambassador? I must make an absolute commitment to the discipline of learning. Ambassador’s learn - furociously. Our primary teacher is Jesus. “Learn from me.” (MT 11).
An ambassador must have absolute confidence in his king and in his kingdom. We do not merely compare religions like the liberal theologians, we promote our own. We do what we do so that people meet Jesus. We don’t want to be a “center for cultural Christianity.” Ambassadors need to be able to explain what their mission believes.
An ambassador must have an absolute obedience to the Scriptures, especially in times of trial. Mt 4:1. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. He relied upon the Scriptures during his trials. “Ambassadors are not to change/debate His policy. We are here to implement his policy.” “Thus sayeth the Lord.”
An ambassador is ready to lay down his life for the mission. The ambassador communicates the mission faithfully, even in dangerous environments. Our mission is not to please the world, it is to please Jesus.
Jesus said, “the workers are few, harvest plentiful.”
As world population expands - 7 billion today - did we increase the number of ambassadors? No. We need to be like farmers - use combines. We need to maximize our capacity for mission. Look at the growth of the Church in China, India, Indonesia. It isn’t the clergy. It’s disciples making disciples.
We’ve lost the thrill, art, ability of discipleship. Where is the thrill in the church about discipleship? What do we do at Zion with new believers? We don’t know how to make disciples. And when someone does come to Christ, we’re so quiet about our joy.
The churches have gone to courses about discipleship but we don’t know how to do it. We are living in a major discipleship crisis in the church today. Teach us, Lord, how to do it. We must pray the Lord of the harvest.
Ambassadors have betrayed Him in the mission field. Sometimes we believe we are smarter than the king. We’re more educated than a 1st century carpenter. Our scholars think they know more than the Bible. Here we go back to where we started. The future of the faith is not in liberal theology. It is in preparing our people to make disciples of Jesus and releasing them to go and make disciples. Thanks for reading. PJ
he Rev. Dr. Gemechis D. Buba is currently serving as the Missions Director of the North American Lutheran Church. He is originally from East Africa, Ethiopia and is currently living in Columbus OH with his wife Nassisse Baro Tumsa and Labsi Gemechis.
Dr. Buba received a Bachelor of Theology with high distinction from Mekane Yesus Theological Seminary, where he served as a Professor for two years. After working on his Masters of Theology in Church History in the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, he moved to the United States for further studies. In 2003 he received a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Christian Education from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. In 2006, Dr. Buba earned a Doctorate Degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, specializing in Missional Leadership.
Ordained in 2001, he has served as a Seminary professor, mission developer, Senior Pastor, Vice President of Southeastern Black Lutheran Pastors’ Conference, an assistant to the Bishop of Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, two term president of the world wide union of Oromo Evangelical Churches Inc., founder and president of Leadership Development Systems Inc.
Dr. Buba has led, chaired and lectured on multiple international events through revivals, leadership development conventions, theological conferences, evangelistic gatherings, church assemblies and academic forums.
He has traveled extensively and served across the nations of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Germany, England, Norway, Sweden, USA, Australia and New Zealand. In his journey across this globe he has ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ in three languages: English, Oromo and Amharic. He has authored and translated numerous articles, booklets, books and produced materials for Christian educational use.
Above all, he is proud to be called a Child of God, which is the highest privilege and authority in the Kingdom of God.