Greetings brothers and sisters,
Please find herewith the latest ministry news from Grace Baptist Church in Daveyton, South Africa.
Managing Your Household Well
Anxiety settled in my heart when I thought of leaving my wife alone with our children after such a long time. But the feeling was tenuous because I know the Lord who sees would remain with them. During my stay in Zambia, I heard a good report about the children’s growth in service. It was a pleasant surprise to hear that Zanecebo (five-year-old boy) and Emihle (four-year-old girl) have grown so much in empathy at such tender ages. I heard that they were urging one another to help their mother in the house given my brief stay in Zambia for ministry. My gratitude to God for giving me a wife of such distinction is truly heartfelt. I am happy that, even in my absence, she is faithful to teach our children biblical principles. I have seen God’s grace in my children’s heart posture towards church community life. They show such vibrancy during Bible studies and Sunday services. They are always eager to meet with other children within the local church family. Our prayer is that, as they see how we live our lives for the Lord, the gospel that we preach to them through our words and our lives will take root in their hearts.
My wife’s character shines amidst her continuous struggles with health. I can tell that she is hard pressed at times, but she strives to fulfil her God-given role as wife and mother to our children, as well as ministering to and coming alongside other women in the local church with much groaning as she looks forward to the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Guard Your Life and Your Doctrine
We have seen many church leaders plunging headlong into error and their flock being deceived along with them as a result of not guarding their doctrine. To not fall victim to the same circumstances, we joined Sola 5. Sola 5 is an association of likeminded churches in Southern Africa. I am privileged to be part of the Sola 5 steering committee. The organisation is currently associating with churches in seven countries in Southern Africa. A dear friend of mine and fellow worker in the organisation’s steering committee came to visit our church on a Sunday the day after a three-day Sola 5 conference, which was held recently. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen us in holding fast to the doctrine as revealed in Scripture as well as to encourage me in managing my household well. The Monday following, Chipita Sibale, my friend and fellow worker in the steering committee, left for Zambia.
I was also invited to Zambia by Pastor Phil Hunt. While in Zambia, I was given the opportunity to minister at Central University, in their radio station, as well as to teach two classes on expository preaching. I visited a church in Kitwe as well as other churches planted by Phil Hunt and his fellow workers in this mission. I was challenged by the work these brothers are doing for the orphans deep in the villages of Zambia. Their ministry evoked my own compassion for the orphans surrounding our church situation. I shared my burden to reach out to these desolate orphans with our acting church elders. We plan to urge the church to also be moved to compassion to open our homes to these orphans as we prayerfully consider how to feed them when we host them for our ongoing holiday Bible club ministry in the near future. We pray that you may also consider how to assist us in this ministry.
Putting Things in Order
Putting Jesus’ ministry at the forefront of my imagination has helped me use his methods as a premise for my own methods. Jesus always sent his disciples in pairs. The intensive training I received when I was visiting Washington DC a few years ago foregrounded in my mind the importance of eldership in the local church. I realised that working alone was not the example laid out for us in the New Testament. As a point of departure, I begin equipping capable men for the work of preaching. Two men stood out as worthy and ready for the task. These men meet the requirements according to 1 Timothy 3. We have had enough time with them to evaluate their worthiness for the task and they both pass the test. However, they are not yet ordained.
Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry
The Great Commission echoes throughout the New Testament. Ministry in the church, whatever form it may take, should always be centred on this mission: making disciples of all nations. To carry out this mission, the acting eldership prayerfully considered what spiritual disciplines would help equip the saints for the work of an evangelist. Since the year began, we have worked on three disciplines: prayer, study of the Scriptures, and evangelism. The faith of many believers has grown as we have been teaching them to establish balance between prayer and Bible study.
We have implemented Bible Hour, which is conducted before our Sunday church service begins every week. We have been equipping our members with the tools they need to gain deeper insight in their personal studies of the Scriptures. The church’s eagerness to learn these disciplines has been so encouraging to the eldership. Most of our church members arrive early for this class. The Bible Hour has been a time of fruitful and passionate engagement for us all as we gain deeper insight in the study.
For evangelism, we began our study by focusing on the motives that should incentivise the believer to do the work of an evangelist. Now we are working on the planter’s mentality. One of the central purposes for focusing on this discipline is to foreground the importance of seizing the opportunities of sharing the gospel with those closest to us: to bring to the believer’s awareness the fact that their mission field is found in every station of their lives; that is, their immediate families, their students, their children, their friends, their colleagues, their neighbours, etc. One church member admitted recently in our Bible study this past Wednesday that he thought that a missionary is someone who leaves their country to preach the gospel in a foreign land. A similar idea was echoed by other members. However, I am glad that there were exceptions to this idea.
On 17 September 2022, we hosted a conference in association with other township churches in our province. Our association is T4i, which is an abbreviation conveying the message that we are together for the work of evangelism. The women’s ministry really stood out in their service for the conference. A married sister in Christ took it upon herself to delegate a few young ladies who are members of the church to help her prepare food the night before the conference. It was so encouraging to see Titus 2 in practice. To encourage believers to be proactive in giving and service, we asked them to bring salads and biscuits. Those who could not do that found other ways to serve by arriving early at the venue to prepare in other areas for the conference. The church has been growing in giving and service as they do the work of an evangelist.
Excuses Why We Are Not Involved in Missions
Whenever the topic of church planting arises, we often raise the issue of numbers in the church, finance and space for people to gather. This is one of the issues which were addressed in the Sola 5 conference. During my visit in Kitwe, I saw that the commitment to church planting transcends the perceived obstacles which have hindered many of us including our local church from planting churches around Daveyton. Phil Hunt and his fellow laborers have planted so many churches amidst these perceived hindrances. I was greatly challenged by their faith in action. We have taken a young man under our wing who became the pastor of a likeminded church in Standerton, Mpumalanga recently, following the passing of their pastor. The Lord has also brought brother Athi in our midst, a young man who is passionate about church planting. We have been urging some capable young man in our local church to come alongside him to help him in his outreach in Orange Farm which is another township in our province.
T4i’s mission is to see reformation in the churches in the townships. We have eight associate churches currently. We invited Conrad Mbewe to speak in our context, to strengthen the ministry in our churches in the township. He covered three topics in his sermons: evangelism, worship, and membership. We were glad to see people come in big numbers to be equipped for this ministry of evangelism and discipleship in the township context.
Pray Without Ceasing
There are areas in which we have been greatly tested as the church and thus have been required to pray without ceasing. The new church building project is one such area. The commencement of the building project has been delayed for a very long time. The finances and the plan to begin the project are there, but the municipality has been really making it difficult for us to begin. This has brought such distress for me but nevertheless we are trusting in God’s sovereign providence. The eldership has been prayerfully seeking other avenues to see this project to fruition. We have hired a representative who is well acquainted with the procedures to be followed for the authorisation of a building project. He has been liaising with the municipal authorities responsible for authorising the inception of the building project.
We thank God for the burden that the Lord has put in the heart of brother Johannes, who is currently studying at Shepherd’s Seminary to serve with us full time. He is a teacher by profession. He has been burdened by the Lord to pursue the ministry of church planting. He is a man of distinction whose character we have been evaluating for a number of years now and we have found him to be above reproach. We are still monitoring how well he is doing in managing his household before we send him out. Please remember him always in your prayers.
God’s grace has truly been abounding in our church. We thank God for brother Nkululeko’s growth in service to the Lord. He has been with us since the inception of Grace Baptist Church. He has the desire to go and study in CABU University in Zambia. Please pray for discernment on our part as elders in this regard, whether to send him there or not because we were making plans for him to begin an internship for full time ministry in our church.
In closing we just want to thank God for the wives in our church, who are faithfully serving alongside their husbands. Please pray that women of such character abound in the church. We thank God for his work in the church.
Thank you for taking the time to read our report. Please keep is in your prayers.
Grace Baptist Church Daveyton