I will share three things with you in this brief article: a word from me personally, a word about the church, and a word about the gospel in Namibia.
From My Heart
Eastside Baptist Church in Windhoek, Namibia is now in its 27th year of existence. I am a founding member of this church and a pastor of the church now in my 23rd year. I have only spent four years away from this congregation, the years during which that I undertook my theological studies in Cape Town. As you can then imagine, this church has been my life, and I count it a privilege to have been enabled to persevere here, by grace alone. There are many valuable lessons gained by walking through the many challenges which pastoral ministry affords. One of the richest little books on pastoral ministry in my library is, The Work of the Pastor by William Still. William Still laboured for 51 years in his congregation in Scotland, and the book is a wonderful reflection of a pastor who had “learned his trade” in the crucible. The insights he gained in the art of pastoring came by walking through issues and not away from them.
About Eastside Baptist Church
It takes a long time to get a church established in a community. Trust and a good name are not built overnight in an age where unfaithfulness and betrayal, even in the church, are the norm. The faithfulness of a church is frequently tested by cultural, spiritual and theological influences that bear upon it from the outside. The members of our churches are made up from the community in which we live, and they come with those current perspectives which the culture and worldviews have imprinted upon them. Our challenge is to help people think biblically and Christ-centredly about the ultimate meaning of life, and from there to help people to adjust their lives in the light of God’s Word.
Eastside Baptist Church exists in a transient, mobile community where people often don’t think deeply about ultimate issues and sound doctrine. In addition, people are often reluctant to get involved, because they are in high-powered, demanding jobs, and thus deprive themselves of spiritual growth experiences.
Thankfully, however, we have seen many people come and go over the years, and our abiding interest is whether people have left us in a better spiritual shape than when they first arrived. I thank God that we can testify that our church has provided a haven of spiritual nurture, comfort and growth for the many that have come and gone over the years.
The Lord has favoured us with a stable core of leaders (the deacons and elders appear on the picture) and members, and, of late, we have seen some that had left us for studies elsewhere in the world, but have returned to work in Windhoek and rejoined the church. This makes us very glad indeed. It is also a blessing to know that our young people have developed an appetite for sound doctrine even when they were away from home for a while!
Talking about young people: This year we have been able to start a “Young Adults Fellowship Group” with about 25 people. This I find very exciting, and I am looking forward to the God-centred productivity of this group.
I am so glad to be in a church where the doctrines of grace may be preached and are increasingly appreciated. As I too grow in grace, I see the ugly side of legalism and its distorted and sour fruit, and I have a growing appreciation for why the Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul had such strong words of disapproval about religious systems which enslave people to outward performance rather than to heartfelt love for Christ. The Lord has been sending us a number of people who were wounded in such environments. It is heart-warming to see the fear of man melting away as Christ takes his proper place in their lives, and as delight in him takes away from a past sense duty and false guilt.
The Gospel in Namibia
Eastside Baptist Church continues to encourage our sister churches in Namibia through conferences and fraternal meetings, and we thank God for the good fellowship that exists between our churches.
One of our home fellowship groups has adopted a poorer sister church in Lüderitz, in the far south of Namibia. Some of our members will soon travel 800km to go and encourage the church there.
The opportunities for sharing the gospel remain positive, although genuine conversions are not plentiful.
We thank God, however, for the remarkable growth and expansion of our Reformed Baptist Churches in Namibia.
Brothers and sisters, as you read this, please put us on your prayer list and keep us in your hearts!
“He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:10–11).