After miraculously excelling at my High School Final Exams (A Level), I went to Makerere University to do a Bachelor of Architecture. Makerere is a huge university sitting on hundreds of acres, with tens of thousands of students. Campus, as we called it has different buildings housing different colleges and faculties, administration buildings, halls of residence, academic and non academic staff quarters, recreation and entertainment spaces, a huge library, chapels, banks and many other facilities.
Coming from the “village”, I spent much of my first year between my hall of residence, my faculty (we had LOTS of work in year one of Arch school), the library and sometimes the Chapel. I wasn’t the experimental type. Towards the end of that year, I ran into some friends; Pati, Gabriel and Timo, who “showed me around!” I ended up making lots of friends and being involved in so many initiatives at the Hall, the faculty, the chapel and everywhere there was opportunity. You could visit different people everyday and not have to repeat yourself in a single term, mnnnnn… semester! Did I mention benching? In the end, I barely made Upper Second!
I can confidently say, I went to Makerere!
On the other hand, some people may go from my village to visit Makerere. The university now has a magnificent structure for a gate. They could go to that gate, sit around there, take a few drinks and take the bus back home. Some may even go further and cross the gate threshold, managing to even sit in the compound of the University Mosque which is right by the gate and even having a few drinks and their packed lunch of katogo or mugoyo.
On returning home, they too can confidently say, “I went to Makerere!”
I believe that in this short illustration lies the problem of why Christianity on the whole is not having the Kingdom impact its founder had hoped it would. The numbers at the gate are swelling. People are saying the sinner’s prayer, making a confession of faith and settling right there, not going any further to find out if there is more to this Salvation that we received than just praying the prayer so we avoid going to hell.
It reminds me of Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees; “you aren’t going in and at the same time you’re preventing those who want to go in.”
If I had taken the villagers’ approach to my going to Makerere, there is no way I’ll have come out with a degree or the relationships and experience that I developed. Many of us made a decision to follow Jesus – up to the gate! We refuse to go deeper to examine why He died, why He redeemed us and what His will for us in the world and His Kingdom is.
As a result, we have created commotion at the gate and very few can now get in.
The hope for this book is that we’ll take a deeper look and perhaps see if we can go further than the confession of faith and baptism and start experiencing “Makerere” or The Kingdom in its fullness. The hope is that we can participate in it fully, so that when we are inviting and describing to others what their experience will be if they come in, it’s not all about the gate. My hope is that we’ll clear the gate, move in and create room for others to go past it and experience the fullness of what Christ purchased for us at Calvary.
Above all, my hope is that having received our Father’s love through Him, like Jesus our Leader, we’ll all become activists, renewing communities and spreading Kingdom living everywhere we go – creating better leadership, assisting the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, housing the destitute, clothing the naked, fathering the orphaned, spending time with the lonely, educating the next generation, caring for the environment – all the while understanding that salvation is a whole package.
There is so much going on in Makerere. My hope is that we’ll leave the gate!