BU Assembly, Day 4

Monday was the day of anticipated stress. 2 very critical items were on the agenda: firstly, the future structure of the BU, and secondly, the proposal to appoint a youth developer. These items, among the other usual toughies, like finances, made for a very interesting assembly.

  1. In short, the BU executive have initiated an indaba of people representative of the union, to look at some of the core unhappinesses that exist in the union. It was noted that there are many 'happinesses' but that certain 'elephants in the room' existed that have to be identified and addressed. The details of the initial bosberaad are in the assembly handbook, and include questions such as "Does the BU need to be reinvented?", and the relationship between and roles of the central office and regional associations. As a first step, a statement of unity was proposed by the executive, who encouraged all to sign it as a pledge, which affirmed that we will "seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" despite differences in race, culture, and (Baptist) theology. Unfortunately, amid someone raising the question of "hermeneutic" as a safeguard against 'unity with false doctrine', the assembly became confused with procedures for admitting and contesting proposals and voting. It seemed that the executive present, were not well versed in the procedure. And so a couple of men from the floor were directing the chairman and general secretary on what was allowed and what wasn't. This also effected a general confusion in the assembly about what people were voting for. It was a terribly messy situation, and almost irrecoverable. And worst of all, it was evident that a large contingent were hurting because beyond the procedural confusion, they felt robbed of proper representation or recourse. No doubt, this will leave a bruise for a while, and I believe it needs to be addressed in the final sessions.
  2. As for the youth developer proposal, we have agreed to submit this issue under the greater investigation of the indaba – as one of the critical issues of the BU to be addressed. The think tank of the BYSA will get to work immediately in conjunction with the Indaba.Youth Developer or none, it is agreed that urgent action is needed to encourage youth ministry development in the union of Baptist churches.
After a long and arduous day, we skipped the assembly dinner and met as friends at Bradley Trout's (assoc. pastor, Mountain View Baptist) place for dinner and more fellowship. A refreshing time indeed.

BU Assembly, Day 3

As far as engaging topics, Sunday left much to be desired. I also found it unfortunate that Sunday's morning session of worship and devotion didn't feel any different to the business of the previous days, so that the sense of corporate Sunday worship was absent. 

The morning devotion touched again on poverty and the different biblical definitions or facets thereof, such as poverty from Laziness, poverty from Disaster, poverty from Exploitation, and poverty from Personal Sacrifice. Perhaps the conclusions could be stated thus:
  • we must resist the temptation to generalise – i.e. to assume that a person is poor by their own fault.
  • we must not glamourise poverty – i.e. especially those in poverty can idolise it and expect that it exempts them from being generous or merciful towards others
  • God certainly cares deeply for those in poverty.
  • Using the illustration of a man stuck in a pit and another man trying to help him out, identify where the "ladder" lies. If it's in the pit, let the victim work themselves out. If the ladder is lying on the ground above, let the helper set the ladder down
I and Chris Wood (Waterfall Baptist, Durban) decided to skip the BU lunch and went to a harbour in Fishoek instead for some local fish and chips. The town was buzzing with people, and we found a cramped take-away/restaurant (Kalkies) that served huge portions of hake and chips. What made the meal remarkable, was that a Muslim gentleman asked if he could sit with us, because his family couldn't all fit at the table behind us (what with his 2 wives!). We had good engaging conversation but neither Chris or I found an entrance to talk about the gospel. Nonetheless, it revived in us a sense of God's providence, bringing that man to our table, and also the sense that ultimately the best witnessing with a man like this (very religious in his Islam) would be through relationship. Naturally, after the time, you think of things you could've said to direct the conversation a bit more. The more we have these encounters, the better.

BU Assembly, Day 2

The second day of the assembly was very productive particularly through 2 very engaging events. One of these was actually not on the official program, but 8 of us pastors, of similar age and theological leaning, joined for coffee to discuss ministry and theology. A very edifying time ensued, debating the line between needed social upliftment and preventing a purely social gospel. Questions such as "Are the great commission, and the great commandments equal?" were addressed. 

The other very edifying session was a sermon delivered by a representative of the Baptist Union in Zimbabwe, who incidentally was standing in, last-minute, for the planned speaker. For someone who had little time to prepare, it was a remarkable delivery. He preached James 1, on the inseparable link between hearing God's word, and putting it into practice. These sermons should become available on the BU website at some stage.

I also share some morning devotion points that stuck with me:

Be cause we are made in the Image of God, we are relational beings. Those relationships are with God, self, others, and creation. When those relationships are not operating in His image, we reap poverty.

  • In relation to God: Lack of Spiritual Intimacy
  • In relation to self: Having a God complex
  • In relation to Others: Oppression
  • In relation to Creation: Materialism

Baptist Union Assembly, 3-7 October 2014

Once again the annual assembly has kicked off, this year in Strandfontein, Cape Town. This is the first year ever that it is hosted in a coloured church, after 136 years. There's a good attendance, a provoking theme, and I've heard there will be done interesting engagement over the future structure of the union.

The theme : God's mission, our compassion…. We cannot separate the great commission from the great commandments.

Michael’s progress

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Inside  the Harvest
 3 September 2014
Steven (Fanie) Loots


Inside
is a personal update from founder & CEO Steven (Fanie) Loots
to those closest to the Harvesters Family of Ministries.

 

KENYA – Michael Update
 

 
Since our last update, Michael has become fully lucid but remains paralyzed apart from his arms. It has come to light that what we thought was a hit and run accident was actually an attack by a mob of men who tried to kill him – possibly because of his faith. 

 
Michael is going to need help in his recovery and rehabilitation and we are asking our partners to open their hearts towards this precious brother. 
All gifts will go to Michael and his family. Their immediate need is for almost R20,000. Herbie Venter, our Field Director, will visit Michael as soon as possible to encourage him and work alongside him to ensure the ministry in Kenya continues. 

 

The video included below was filmed a day before the attack and shows his passion for his work. 

Michael - Kenya 2014
Michael – Kenya 2014

  


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