Bou 'n Christus gebasseerde roeping vir Afrika

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van Afrika? Hoe lyk Sy wil in verskillende omstandighede?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Future Process of Mission in Mozambique

The blue line on the Graph is the line of visible growth in the IRM in Mozambique. From a few Prayerhouses in 1994, the church grew very quickly till there were about 300 churches. After about 6 years I discovered that the invisible part of Church growth (Green line on Graph) did not grow. It is so easy to have the appearance of Church, but do not have much influence on the culture of the members and community.
People accepted the Lord and after that they were baptised. A lot of my time went in organizing congregations to do administration, organize training for children and youth, studies for leaders and members, elders and deacons, creating the culture of marriages etc. In many places the leaders wanted the pastors to baptise new members and on investigation I often found that they did not understand who Christ is and that they have no personal relationship with God through Christ.
Pastors continued to baptise new members who didn’t have knowledge and experience of faith. The thousands of members came to the church but they also continued with a life based on traditional beliefs. This is the point on the graph with the vertical line. It was a big crisis in my ministry and I struggled for about two years to find a more effective way of ministry. We discovered that to change the visible actions of the church and teach people to help the poor, needy, widows and unevangelized, did not bring the long term transformation. People started doing that work but the results were on a visible level and it did not last. Real lasting transformation happens only when you change a value system. A value system changes only when you work from a new belief system. It starts with the reality of accepting that there is a real Good God and a character that became flesh in Jesus and continue His work through us as His church. In other words, when you know the character of Christ you can start demonstrating this new character through your deeds. This insight not only changed my ministry, it also changed my faith.

On the graph the emphasis of my ministry changed towards the green line, the foundation or worldview. On this foundation you can build your understanding of church and community, calling and destination. Changing the focus of my work on this level resulted in more personal contact and focussed training through conferences. Listening is a very important part of it. Later the IRM Tumbine synod decided to use the conferences as their main tool in this faith growing process. They also asked me to continue to support pastors and help congregations with strategic thinking and planning.
I do not want to say that the mission work before the vertical line had no effect, but according to my understanding the ministry became much more effective afterwards.
This process developed through the years. I myself is still in grade one in my learning process, but I belief it as the right direction.  It is a very sensitive process to work with leadership style, working more and more with local Mozambican resources (not depending on outside help), understanding partnerships. It was a challenge to approach the mentality that says “there is no future” or if people live out of the reality of good and bad spirits and depend on them or when leadership is done through power and manipulation or with strong tribalism and many other cultural preconceptions. For sure our Western culture also has its own lies.
To bring the light of the Word as the point of reference is a long and steady process.
God’s Word bring a alternative to many traditional ways. He is giving us a new mentality with good consequences. The green horizontal line represents this process. As you can see on the graph, based on what I have seen, this new process was steadily growing in last years. I could tell you many stories of transformation on this level, that started to influence the visible part of the church.
Future involvement with Mozambique, will not focus on building the visible part of the church, but we will continue the process of working on the invisible, the foundation. Many of your, as supporters, efforts are working towards this process. I am sure that building the foundation is the right thing to do even if the visible part of the church is showing cracks. Transformation on this level is real transformation, not pretence. I can tell you many stories that illustrate this progress, where new Biblical ways of thinking has visible consequences.
The way I see the road to the future for the work of God’s Kingdom in Mozambique, is as follows:
  1. 1.   Continue to focus on building the invisible foundation and don’t be too concerned about the visible decline. As long as we have open doors in Mozambique, we need to continue the good work and demonstrate that our Lord is their friend and saviour.

I am aware that we need to tread carefully in giving materially. Giving without a relationship, mostly have more negative consequences on the process than positive. For a relationship we need to grow in compassion, mutual understanding of our vision (mostly we do not understand our written vision in the same way. There are too many assumptions from different backgrounds), understanding how partnerships function, understanding the values that we are working with and knowing our Good God behind everything. The relationship will not grow automatically. There are some tools to help us give in such a way that it will result in the growth of the relationship with God and therefore also with one another.

  1. 2.  As we became more uncertain about agreements with the Church, I belief that we accept the uncertainty as part of our sacrifices. We will find time to help the church on this aspect. To fight for our interests as we understand it now, will not help the growth of the Church.

I am still available for a few months to think about implementation, to find new approaches and to develop concrete plans in line with building the invisible foundation.

My vision is to see that blue and the green horizontal lines on the graph will soon meet. (The blue line will not decline under the Green line). From there I can see a steady growth. There are still so many opportunities for us to be the representatives of Christ in Mozambique. Our sacrifices are not in vain.