Previous | Next

October 1979 · Vol. 8 No. 4 · pp. 18–19 

Reports of Renewal: Revival Among the Mennonites of Indonesia

Dale Warkentin

We had heard phenomenal stories about the mighty movings of the Spirit in Indonesia before coming here in 1976. Since arriving we have personally witnessed the following fresh movings of the Spirit among the Mennonite Churches (GKMI) on the island of Java and their new mission churches which are also being planted on the islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo), and Bali.

1. Delayed Reactions. Many of the Muslims now coming to Christ formerly experienced the loving concern and help of Christians. Ten or fifteen years ago they may have attended a parochial school or were treated at a hospital sponsored by Protestant or Roman Catholic churches.

2. Opposition Stimulates Interest. Government restrictions, antagonistic elements, and the hostility of Muslim leaders seem to generate an interest in learning more about the Christian religion. Wide public interest is now being focused on the trial of a leading Muslim convert who has been a strong Christian witness even while spending the past five years in jail without charges. The prosecution is asking the death penalty for his “endangering the stability of the country.”

3. Power of the Bible. People who have had very little direct exposure to the Gospel testify that when they read the Bible they are captivated by its truths and become convinced that it is God’s Word. The local Indonesian Bible Society is often temporarily sold out of Bibles.

4. Supernatural Manifestations. A significant number of Javanese mystics witness to dreams, visions, and healings that led them to a true Christian commitment. (Speaking in tongues is not common.) One man dreamed that a prominent man would visit his home the next day and bring an important message. The next day Dan Nickel showed up without appointment and led the man to Christ.

5. Team Ministry. Often every member of the church council is expected to lead an evangelistic home Bible study (house church). The laity handle the church administration and programming, not the pastor. The pastor preaches only twice a month in his own church, with guest pastors and lay members filling in the other two Sunday mornings.

6. Initiative of Students. University students aggressively begin evangelistic Bible studies and open up extension house churches in new areas. One architectural student is taking a lighter load this semester so he can serve on the church council and offer leadership in the Sunday School.

7. Homogeneous Communities. New converts seem to come {19} following homogeneous relationships—relatives, occupational groupings, or school friends from the village who years later meet in this metropolitan city of six million. These new Christians very quickly form strong caring communities, helping each other in times of emotional, economic, and physical crises.

8. Teenagers and the Institutional Church. High schoolers are aggressively practicing their spiritual gifts in the church. Not only are they active in musical and drama groups, but they make up the majority of Sunday School teachers.

9. The New Breed of Missionaries. Not all the missionaries in the jungles are from North America! Now young Indonesian men and women are leaving their comfortable homes on islands such as Java or Timor, and going to the less developed unevangelized areas like Kalimantan and Sumatra. These Indonesian missionaries learn new languages, study different cultures, and adjust to more primitive conditions where there are few schools, inadequate medical services, and no electricity.

10. Great Turning. Hundreds of Muslim mystics have been baptized during the past few years in the GKMI churches and PIPKA mission churches. This past Easter Sunday over 100 tribal Dyaks were also baptized in Kalimantan in two mission churches of PIPKA (the Indonesian Mennonite Church’s Board of Missions/Services).

Dale Warkentin
Teacher of World Mission and Pastoral Ministries
PIPKA Missionary Training Center
Jakarta, Indonesia

Previous | Next