If you want to define where the Kraaifontein Baptist Church (KBC) is at present, it would probably be transition. Now, transition implies change, however it doesn’t necessarily mean change in the way that most people think. Why then, is the word transition, an apt way to describe where KBC is at present?
The Sola 5 fellowship is well aware that KBC was without a Pastor/Elder for a period of roughly four years. Since the Powell family left in 2011, the church has been in search for a man fill the shoes of Mark Powell who had faithfully lead KBC for a period of around 8 years. During this period, Mark had put in place many of the existing structures that are now what makes KBC a Reformed Baptist Church, with its simplicity in worship and its commitment to the public reading of Scripture, expository preaching, and adult Sunday school. Mark had sought to faithfully cultivate a commitment to the 1689 Baptist Confession, which was already accepted constitutionally prior to his coming, and impressed upon the members a love for God’s Word and the doctrines of grace. In many ways, Mark faithfully shepherded the church through a period of transition, and left a strong Reformed Baptist foundation for whoever would follow in his footsteps.
Now, upon this foundation, a new Pastor has taken the task which God has assigned to him, and in many ways will continue to build and shepherd the church through the next phase in its transition. On the 14th of June, 2015, Morné Marais was inducted into the role of Pastor/Elder at Kraaifontein Baptist Church. Morné had been sent from Constantia Park Baptist Church in Pretoria to study theology at The Bible Institute of South Africa in Kalk Bay, and during his Honours year, towards the end of 2014, began ministering at KBC in a part-time capacity. After completing his degree, the diaconate of KBC began discussions with him toward the end of January 2015 concerning ministering at KBC on a more full-time basis (by this time, he was already preaching every Sunday morning since November), and by March the process of an official call was started. By this time, God had already begun to work in the hearts of the congregation as well as his own heart, and a mutual love was developing between them which can only be explained as coming from the Lord. After the Call Committee affirmed the candidate, the church met at a special members meeting on the 1st of April 2015, and voted unanimously to extend a call to Morné Marais to shepherd the flock at KBC. The result of the vote, and the warmth with which Morné has been accepted within the fold confirmed in his own heart that this was the church whom God has entrusted into his care, and he accepted the call to commence his pastorate on the 1st of June, 2015. As a result of this, KBC is now in a new period of transition.
Of course, the natural question to be asked whenever a new Pastor enters the pulpit of an existing church is, what has changed? We trust that many who have come to know KBC well over the years will remember the warm reception with which you were received, the simple singing of the old hymns which carry so much meaning and theological weight, and the commitment to faithful preaching and public reading of Scripture, and the prayers that are extended to the civil, family, and church institutions throughout our country. We trust that, when you visit again, you may find that these are still in place. However, the difference we do hope you notice is in the way we love one another, the way we are being sanctified into becoming more like Christ, and the way we enjoy celebrating our Lord’s Day together as a community. If there seems to be no change in this, then please have a word with the Pastor about it.
As to practical ministries, KBC has had a long-standing outreach at a local shelter for homeless people, called The Haven. The outreach is in the form of a Bible study which is held monthly on the last Friday of each month. Some of those attending the study at the shelter have made KBC their home, and it is a joy to have them among us. Recently, we have seen three more men from the shelter regularly attend our congregation. Please pray for this particular outreach, for it has begun to show signs of genuine fruit among the folk at The Haven.
In addition to the ministry at the Haven, a once-a-month tract drop has been maintained consisting of a few members going from door to door of houses in the vicinity of the church, engaging men and women willing to talk, and leaving invitations to the church services and/or tracts.
One of our deacons and his family have felt convicted to reach out on a particular farm on the outskirts of Paarl (about 25km from the church) called Lindenhof. Though this ministry may seem barren, their continued work has recently shown promise of fruit as they have been invited by some to minister within the farm labourers’ homes. In the last year, the Maneville brothers from the Bellville-South based Reformed Faith Mission have felt the Lord’s leading to join them in this ministry. This has been a real answer to prayer as the Manevilles are really gifted with this type of ministry and it has truly become a fellowship in the gospel.
Having said all of the above, it would be greatly appreciated if the broader Sola 5 partners can pray for KBC as we continue on our path of transition, which will be completed only once our Lord returns or calls us to be with Him. Of course, much prayer is needed for Morné as he seeks to build upon the good foundation that has been laid, and continues to shepherd the church into the future. This is his first full-time Pastorate, without a prior full-time intern position, and so he will need much wisdom and the church great patience with him, as he often learns by trial and error. Pray that God grant him steadfastness in prayer, faithfulness in preaching the Word, and joy in shepherding the flock.
KBC is still in need of elders to assist Morné in the task of leading the church. This is an urgent plea for prayer, as it is both good for the Pastor and healthy for the church that there be a plurality of elders.
Please continue to pray for our services, our outreaches, and also our future. Though we are small, we want to make an impact for the gospel in our area. Pray that we will be sensitive to the demands of the gospel in our own context, the needs, and the concerns that face our people. Also, as we look to the future, we desire strongly to be a church who has a heart for missions. Pray that we will be willing to learn, and be sensitive to the need wherever the Lord should direct our attention.