In the film “Forrest Gump”, the lead character says, “My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.” This is very true of life in the Anglican Province of Southern Africa. When you first meet someone, you are not quite sure of their churchmanship…high church, low church, or anything in-between church…charismatic, evangelical…and then there are conservatives, liberals, progressives...the whole gamut. So, I have learned to do a lot of listening before I say anything lest I inadvertently offend a potential disciple and lose them even before we begin.
The brilliance of the material we use to teach intentional disciple-making is that it is a mere structure based on the model of Jesus…the windows and doors and furnishings must be supplied by the person using the scaffolding we provide in our training. Whether that be Rooted in Jesus, The God Who Is There, Alpha, Pilgrim, or any number of possible studies that will bring the disciple into a deeper walk with Jesus…that is the ultimate goal. To walk with and as Jesus walked…anchored in the Word, empowered and in step with the Holy Spirit, energised by constant prayer.
As homework, the trainees are given a 60-Day Chronological Study of the Life of Jesus to complete. There are accompanying free videos online for them watch if they have Internet access. If not, the study stands on it’s own. I also encourage them to do a chronological study of the Bible as well as this will give them a firm foundation on which to stand when engaging in disciple-making.
Last week, I (Johann – Louise is not with me on this trip L) attended the three-day Provincial Standing Committee Meeting. While not officially invited to attend as a member, I did have the opportunity to address the participants together with the head of Growing the Church, Bishop Martin Breytenbach. It seems that merely being introduced by Archbishop Thabo was enough to open a number of doors for me. The title “The Reverend Doctor” was used and the assembly was told that we had started and run a theological College in Ethiopia…at that point it seemed as if I gained credibility…not the way I wanted it to be, but titles are important here, and if that’s the way forward, then so be it.
I managed to talk to Bishops and representatives from all the Dioceses in the Province save St Helena Island…Niassa, Angola, and Namibia all want us to come and do training in their respective areas. Praise the Lord for this! Pray that Growing the Church will receive the necessary funds to be able to make all these trips! Our budget was cut in half recently.
From PSC I went up to the city of Polokwane in the north-eastern part of South Africa to train seven members of the Volunteer Internship Program (VIP), or the Secret Seven as I like to call them. This Diocese is biblically well grounded and the participants already deeply engaged in kingdom ministries. We will return to this Diocese in February next year.
From Polokwane I returned to the Gauteng area…here I will train Diocesan representatives together with a few of the faculty members we have trained on previous occasions.
On the way down, I stopped to see Louise’s aunt who had just had gallbladder surgery. We spent a good two hours chatting about the Lord and all He means to us. When I first arrived she was out of breath and obviously in pain, but after we prayed together, she seemed to be much better. The change was actually quite remarkable. Praise the Lord for that too!
I will report later on the training here in Gauteng. We are going into a busy month, but most of our activities will be centred in and around Cape Town. I miss Louise and I am looking forward to my return on Sunday.
Love you all.
Johann and Louise