I have been at Lynnwood Baptist Church for 19 months. I am so thankful for Richard Blackbeard who, with Delmarie at his side, has ministered faithfully for the years that Lynnwood was without a pastor.
Lynnwood is a diverse church with a multiplicity of cultures from all over the world. We have domestic workers worshipping alongside chemical engineers in our church. It has been a great encouragement to see some of them desiring membership and attending membership classes. We have all races of people, which is a good representation of the community around us. It is a true picture of what the body of Christ should look like and is a great encouragement and testimony to me.
As a church we were greatly encouraged to have a combined family camp with Emmanuel Baptist Church and to have Choolwe Mwetwa preaching God’s word. His messages on Joseph’s life were both a challenge and encouragement. It was also good to experience warm fellowship with those from Emmanuel. The Sola 5 Confession of Faith encourages such inter-church fellowship. It has also been helpful for us to read one Core Value together as a church each Sunday.
One of the highlights of ministry at Lynnwood has been the opportunity to train men in our church. To this end, I began a men’s discipleship group. The response of the men who wanted to be trained and discipled was a real encouragement to me. We started with How People Change by Paul Tripp. This material was chosen because it specifically deals with the heart struggles we face daily and our response to a world that is groaning. Often, in our day-to-day response to life, we see that we are living with a gospel gap. We have our confession on the one side but we live our lives on the other extreme, not putting our doctrine in practice.
I have looked at various materials that were helpful, but I was struck by how many did not deal with the issues of our heart, the treasures that we wrestle with every day, the rewards we live for and make decision with. I can highly recommend this material for your men’s groups. I have included a testimony from one of the men that attended the meetings. He says,
We partook of the discipleship training led by Pastor Sybrand de Swart using the book How People Change. It has been a challenging and fruitful time in our lives. Challenging because we had to visit our hearts and discover our struggles with sin. We had to review our identity and the object of our worship. We now know and are convinced that we are the redeemed ones by the blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. We ought to be aware of idolatry and direct our worship to our heavenly Father and not to ourselves or/and to the things we do. It was a fruitful time because we continuously asked our Father to help us be controlled by his Holy Spirit, and whenever we stumble we turn to him for forgiveness. In short, we are in the business of putting off the old man and putting on the new man and becoming more like our saviour Jesus Christ. (Patrick Nyonganyi—deacon, LBC)
We are planning a second phase of training and discipleship that will specifically look at doctrine and its practical application in our lives. I have been amazed at how easily we can talk about our great doctrines but often do not see live them practically. We have decided on studying a very practical book on theology called A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay E. Adams. As we study the various doctrines discussed in the book, the emphasis will be placed on the practical living out of the doctrines. Added to this, the men will summarize their study and get opportunity to present their thoughts to some of the newcomers at LBC giving them an opportunity to be useful in the body of Christ.
Another highlight has been our Adult Bible Hour which has been taught by Wayne Mack. He is currently working through Pilgrim’s Progress, which has really been a great study in Systematic Theology. Wayne’s years of experience in biblical counselling and insight into the human heart has placed a great practical spin on the teaching and has captured for us what Bunyan meant when he spoke about the Christian’s struggle as a pilgrimage to the celestial city. This has been a great blessing to many who attend.
We also started a Sunday school class for the women in our church who have English as a second language. These women have worked through the material Christianity Explored and also have gone through a series on how to study the Bible. God has blessed this class and we have seen some of the women come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus and have seen others grow in their relationship with Christ.
Another exciting ministry for our church has been the presentation of Shepherding a Child’s Heart. This has been done in conjunction with the Christian School that uses our facility and has been a tremendous blessing to those who have come. Out of this, we have had the opportunity to come alongside parents and even share the gospel with some of those who have attended.
I have been preaching through 1 Timothy and we have been looking at the qualification for elders and deacons. The elders have decided that it will be good for the church to look out for men who are qualified to serve as elders and deacons. Two names were brought forward by the congregation and we are currently looking at the process. Please pray for us as we work with these men.
We covet the prayers of our brothers and sisters. Specifically:
- Please pray that God would raise up more elders in our church to assist with the shepherding and leading of our congregation.
- Pray that people will grow in maturity and live lives that that are not only externally conformed to the word of God, but that they would do so out of a heart that loves God and worships him.
- Pray that God would give us wisdom in how to shepherd the many refugees who come and neglect their biblical responsibility to their children by leaving them behind to work in South Africa.
- Pray for those who have and are attending membership classes to commit themselves fully to Christ and his church.
- Pray for the Family Bible School to be more effective in reaching the children of the neighbourhood.
- Pray for wisdom as we seek to build the youth work in the church.
Sybrand de Swardt