Partying with the King of the Universe

This article first appeared in the Winter 2007 edition of MOVE Magazine.

Agapé UK sent a team of graduates to help others discover Jesus in the Middle East. However, they readily admitted it hasn’t been easy. It’s been hard to start conversations that continue, and hard to make relationships that stick. However, whenever they throw parties, things suddenly start to look rather different.

Perhaps that’s because “God is a party deity,” as Tony Campolo would say. In fact, God’s people are under strict orders to party.

Part of the Old Testament law involved bringing offerings to throw a gigantic celebration together, and many an eyebrow was raised as Jesus partied away in the New Testament. It is the expression of this abundant life that seems to be making an impact among the students more than anything.

“You seem different – somehow whole,” commented one perplexed student. “I am jealousing after your faith,” said another, in halting English that the team didn’t have the heart to correct. “I can see you have something that I’m missing.”

They have thrown housewarming parties, birthday parties, football parties, chocolate parties, girlie parties and Hawaiian themed beach parties. You name it. Any excuse for a party.

“At first it was challenging to share my faith in that setting,” says team member, Kimberley, “but I got used to it in the end. It’s a great way of meeting other people’s friends too.”

It wasn’t long before the first student placed her faith in Jesus – the first in nineteen years of student ministry there in that hard ground. Now that calls for a party!

As Jesus tells us in Luke 15:7, the angels rejoice in heaven whenever a sinner repents, and the Middle East Impact Team went right ahead and joined in the celestial celebration. The tears of joy flowed, there was hugging and singing, and the student could be heard still singing, “Now I’m a believer!” on her way home.

God is a party deity. “He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!’” (Matthew 22:4, the Message)

The team went back for a second year in the Middle East to invite more students to come and join the party with the king of the universe. Get ready to celebrate in eternity with those who chose to come.