Ministry in Lockdown – Update

Knysna Baptist is Open!

(No, not the building, but the Ministry!)

Here is an update to encourage you. Please stay in touch and remember to continue praying for this ministry and it’s leadership.

my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1Co 15:58)

Online Services

A steep learning curve: Recording, editing, and producing

It has been a steep learning curve for Malcolm, Claude and Jemaine. The sermon is now preached a day earlier on Saturday which requires sermon preparation to start latest by Tuesday. The Worship leading elements of welcome, reading, prayer and songs need to be prerecorded, edited and published online with the sermon. Fortunately the elders agreed to purchase a new sound mixer just before lockdown, which Malcolm now has at home and so there has been a great improvement in the sound recording quality. We are also working to get our young viewers engaged through story and song because they no longer have a Sunday School to attend!

Getting the Online Service Right

The service is ordered by a YouTube playlist of videos for each item. This works fairly well, except that some worship songs have advertising links, and in the middle of the service one may be presented with an advert! Unfortunately we cannot make our own videos of the songs as we need to respect copyright law. Much time is spent finding songs that a) we know, b) have words on the screen, c) are sing-friendly, and d) don’t have adverts! We don’t get it right all the time. Remember, on the YouTube playlist, click on the Big Red Pay button, and the service will play automatically in the right order. Suggestions are welcome!

Making the Service accessible

For those who wish to view the service via computer and not cell phone, the YouTube link is also published on our website : For those who cannot access YouTube, the sermon audio recording is available from Jacques Malan directly. By Wednesday, Matthew also uploads the sermon audio to our website with manuscript and PowerPoint as usual.

Elder meetings

The elders Whatsapp group is regularly flowing with strategy, organisation and updates. It is great to have our rogue elder Mark participating even though he is stuck thousands of miles away on a sea vessel! The group keeps us in tune and available. We have also done conference calling, a first for us. In times gone by, there was not much confidence in meeting online. But it has proven a very good alternative, and might even improve our ability to meet after lockdown!

Caring for the most vulnerable

2 main caring initiatives were launched as soon as the lockdown fell in place.

  1. Under the direction of Diane, the deacons have identified those in our church who would be the most at risk when going to shops. Statistics of Covid19 show that older people are affected more severely. The elders identified Jared’s business ‘Shop4U’ as a good solution. His service delivers groceries to the home. The elders have agreed that we can cover the delivery cost for these most vulnerable in our church. If you need to know more, please speak to Diane.
  2. Secondly, there are those in the church who have lost all or much of their monthly income. We have already helped 3 homes. If you are in need, please speak to a deacon or an elder.

As far as helping the broader community, we are not equipped for that in any significant way – financially and logistically. Our best material help is to channel people toward the organizations that are geared (and licensed) to distribution. Examples include Rotary and YFC who are currently providing this ministry. It was a great blessing to see Alan White arrange masks for the Provincial Hospital (see here: )

Investing in Courage

What the Church needs most in this time is the Church! Are you remaining in touch? For this reason we have lit the fire of an “Encouraging Ministry”. The goal is to keep spiritual encouragement alive among us all. Angelique and Charlotte have asked some of our members to help get this flowing by providing them with a list of names to whom they can send scripture and prayer in a personal Whatsapp message. I’m hoping and praying that the principle will take off and everyone will be motivated to do likewise – Send a personal Hello, with an encouraging scripture, and a short prayer. It’s not a program. It’s part of God’s design for spiritual health. This is very close to my heart.

Weekly Bible study

It’s a blessing to have access to Alistair’s Bible study every week. He is covering “The Miracles of Jesus”. His video recording and the material are being uploaded to our website. If you wish to have material sent to your email, you can request that at

Easter Week

I hope it was a blessed 2020 Easter Week for you. The daily devotions by DesiringGod called, “Love to the Uttermost” were a fitting title for our Easter sermon series, “Saved to the Uttermost“. I enjoyed sitting quietly in the sun and taking in the timeless truths again. The Gospel never gets old, only we get old in our passion! There was quite a lot of positive feedback from the Thursday evening program. I only know of one other family that held communion, and I’d like to know if you did too! We had a dimly lit time in the lounge and each took a turn to read. After the second reading and communion we needed to attend to the chicken braai so we combined the dinner and communion – not too different from the last supper! We came back in for the final 3 readings and then settled into bed quietly. I’d love to hear how you did it!

Please remain plugged in!

May I urge you to keep your home worship consistent. The worship leader has taken much time to prepare the welcome, readings, and prayer as ministry to the people, and the preacher has laboured many hours to feed the flock. See the Sunday service not as one option of many online subscriptions, but a core aspect of your spiritual life. Follow through the whole service and don’t skip the videos. Get everyone around. Sing with the songs. Read with the scripture. Have your bible during the sermon and take notes. And turn all other cell phones and notifications off!

Our family is fortunate that we can plug our PC into the TV, so we get a big experience. A smaller computer screen would be 2nd prize. But even if all you have is a cell phone, it is still blessed to let the audio fill the room.

If you have any problems in this area, do let me know.

Stories of Fire: Timber Village

Daniel Hennessey lost both his house and business premises in the fire. One day, I visited him in their temporary factory space. He told me one of his Malawian workers, Geoff, had something for me. Geoff handed me a wood carving which he’d made on his own initiative. He had crafted it with the tools he’d received from Honeyridge Baptist.


Created by Geoff as a monument to the help they’ve received

“There is a story to this,” he said, “You can see this carving is of a father, a mother and a child. The parents are surrounding this child with love. You have rescued a baby – You have come around us and helped us. Thank you.”


Timber Village, the famous wood carving and crafting business, was completely razed by the devastating fires and many of their staff were left homeless and jobless. But through the generous giving of many churches, businesses and individuals, it has been rebuilding itself into a stronger body than before. Knysna Baptist were privilege to personally assist Daniel Hennessy who has now taken partnership in rebuilding the business.

While the original site is being rebuilt to house their factory, TimberVillage operate from temporary quarters in Knysna’s industrial area. It’s a squash, but production needs to continue and previous projects lost in the fire need to be urgently reproduced.
Bosch Power Tools, in coordination with Honeyridge Baptist Church were able to supply a superb donation of equipment which stunned the new owners. Carl, partner and friend of Daniel, recalls, “Every week, Daniel would Whatsapp me again and again, saying ‘Look what the Church has given us!’ – I couldn’t believe it, and I don’t know how to thank you enough.”

Timber Village has been able to employ 14 staff, including a young jobless draughtsman who had sunk into addiction. He is now off the streets and significantly contributing to the work. The effect of the help Timber Village has received is almost impossible to quantify.
It has been and continues to be a difficult recovery with heavy emotion, but among those emotions are a bounty of tears of gratitude.

Donated Bosch tools

Donated Bosch tools

Geoff using the Dremmel tools

Malcolm (Knysna Baptist) and Daniel (Timber Village)

Site rebuilding beyond burned remains

Stories of Fire: Van Zyl family

The Van Zyls were one of the families in our church who lost everything in the Knysna Fires of June 7, 2017. Here is their memory of the day

Retha’s account: Upon returning from a playdate with my two little boys (Christopher 5 & Jean Louis 3) from the opposite side of town… there was this unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach staring into the enormous cloud of smoke that seemed to be growing bigger and creeping closer with every passing minute…yet, I had full confidence that everything was under control… Having every intention of getting home to get a pot of soup on the stove and delivered to the fire station…non of us the wiser as to what was about to go down in the next hour or so…

My husband, JC, was still making his way back from George and due to a low battery..and disruption on the networks, keeping in touch became next to impossible…
I tried to settle the boys all the while preparing the soup but could not refrain from constantly running back onto our deck to check on that cloud of smoke.. I tried to stay as calm as possible… For my boys sake, but decided to pack an overnight bag for us…just in case, you know?!… My mother in law, who was also home at that time, gave a helping hand with the soup..but after a few minutes, thought the better of it and instead decided to rather also grab a few of their items as well… Limbs and personal possessions flying all over the place..
Upon emerging from our bedroom 5 min later, I was rattled at what I saw..a wave of flames, enveloping the whole of Eastford …. that’s when I came to the stark realisation that we were in a whole heap of trouble..
I rushed to grab our few essentials and put that, together with my two boys and two dogs into my car…trust my mum in law to grab the pot of soup as well!! I opened the gate, ran to the car only to discover that my keys were nowhere to be found.. My mum in law, idling in her own car, waiting on me as I parked her in..
I begged the Lord to please.. please just keep me calm and collected.. I rushed back into the house and by His Love and Grace, He provided… I found the keys on my kitchen counter and as I grabbed it I looked up one last time to take in my surroundings..something I’ve had the privilege of enjoying for a whole of ten days since we bought the place and moved in only end of.the previous month.
As I looked out onto our deck I saw the flames making it’s way towards our neighbour’s picket fence… We made our way out of there as fast as we possibly could…from there, all “hell” broke loose and chaos ensued.
Yes, we may have lost our livelihood, our memories… our sentiment. However, we were reunited with my husband a few hours later, who in turn didn’t know where we were or whether we were still alive and safe…Our lives were spared and in the end, that’s all that truly matters.

JC’s account: It’s been a tough year for our family. My father had a heart attack in March. They stayed on the same plot as us in a separate dwelling. We all lost our homes and earthly possessions in the Knynsa fires…but not our loves ones. We however have learned as a family that God is gracious and merciful beyond imagination…he provides in many ways. Through the love and kindness of many people but especially our Christian family, we felt loved and a closeness to God beyond comprehension. In many ways the support we received was so humbling . It was not only an encouragement to us in times of great need but it was also a testimony to the world that the Lord provides and looks after his flock.
JAMES 1:2-5 states that we can count it Joy when we have trials and tribulations because it produces steadfastness in our faith.

We praise God and thank everybody that made contributions towards us and the greater Knysna area. God is good and gracious beyond all measures and expectation…We will never be able to replace the material things we had…but we have gained so much more…as a family we have grown tremendously in our faith and dependency on God our father and we have experienced the love of our greater Christian family…people we have never even met but have a special bond to through Christ … every good and perfect gift comes from Him, our Father of light.

To God be the glory and praise forever…Amen


JC, Retha and their boys after the fires