Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reflections from South Africa

It has been a very busy trip here in South Africa. I have barely had a spare moment but have loved every moment.

It is Saturday afternoon. This morning was spent with 40+ Josh Gen elders and wives. They lead a church of 10 campuses here in Capetown. Their passion for Jesus is contagious. Their love for the bride is infectious. Their heart for the lost is tangible. I am so looking forward to ministering at 2 of their campuses tomorrow.

Having been in 3 cities here in RSA on this trip, I have found myself reflecting on a number of issues:

1. The dispersal of an apostolic household that could have multiplied and celebrated and not fragmented, has left a residue of pastors and churches who are somewhat disorientated and vulnerable. Of course it need not have happened that way. However there is a way forward to recover some of the lost ground.

2. Losing the big picture has led to most churches focusing in on their own health and growth as well as seeking to transform their city for and with the gospel. This has been one of God's great acts of mercy. Whilst the call to the nations has sadly diminished, the attention to the city conversation has been very empowering and essential.

3. The apo fathers in the nation are too quiet. Being nervous to be seen to be drawing pastors to themselves, they have stepped too far back in an effort to appear to honor. The victims of their reluctance have been the pastors themselves. I have appealed to several of them to accept and take ownership of their clear emerging apostolic role and lead. The pastors and churches are looking for a clear voice and clarion call.

4. The conversations have often drifted towards what third generation apostolic movements looks like. Whilst I will blog my thoughts on this later, RSA does need these men to disengage from the stranglehold of the past - good and bad bits. This is a chapter turning moment. A new day. A day of God's clear promotion and leadership repositioning. It is the ongoing beginning, of the emergence of today's apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These men and women will have new job descriptions, new role and responsibilities. There will be some new collaborations, alliances, partnerships as well as the wondrous long standing relationships of our past.

5. These emerging apos must fire up their steam engines. Churches, pastors, believers are looking to hitch their wagons onto a train that is fired up with destiny, a big story and a hill worth dying on. Each apo man will journey uniquely as differently as Paul was to Peter, as Peter was to John, as John was to James, as James was to Timothy. There simply is not a one size fits all.

6. Once again, the intriguing seed from the South African soil will be felt around the world. The splashes from these waters will burst their banks and wet the wastelands of the foreign shores. I am delighted.

5 comments:

  1. Hey, Al. I have watched some of this from afar... less insight and less contact with the people involved, because of where I have been and all that but as I have moved amongst churches and people. I have seen what I have thought of as the diminishing of the role of spiritual fathers, and the beginnings of a less connected style of leadership... nothing is perfect - neither the past nor the present - but as you said, the changes did not need to happen this way.

    I am deeply saddened by the loss (In the world I now live in, far from SA and the USA) of the fatherhood and sonship dynamic that brought such safety to my spiritual world. Not safety as in "free from danger" but safety as in strong wise relationships and accountability.

    In a strange way, I guess I am wondering if we do not now have too many fathers, and not enough sons... do we as leaders have the humility to bow, as well as the strength to lead? They are not exclusive traits... It seems to me we need both, in equal proportions, and the pendulum may have swung a little?

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  2. LOL I meant to say CHRIS, not AL.

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  3. Brad said - Hey Chris, You are so right in your observations. I have a few friends that planted churches in RSA that have somewhat lost the greater vision of apostolic minsitry (missional living)The focus has been on the survival of the local congregation. While this is very good and of course vital, the outward reach to their own city and nation has faded, so there is clearly no view to even travel beyond the borders. As I speak with them regarding our apostolic influence and the need we have for their gifts into some of the areas we work there seems to be a non-register and the convo seems to revert back to the local congregation again.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on a way to spark this apo vision in them again. One way I know is that we let our passion rub off on them as we draw them into the vision we are seeing. But other ways? I look forward to hearig your views and advise.

    Blessings,
    Brad

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  4. Chris, thank for being with us and sparking these key conversations ... the mandate we have received from Christ to go make disciples of all nations is what will keep us from becoming parochial and "me" focussed as churches - that inward looking focus is destructive in the longrun. We need to be propelled into new advantures of faith through a koinonia/partnership with apostles who hunger to see regions and nations transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. That gospel is only seen, is only incarnational in the now, through the planting of faith communities that pervade every nook and cranny of society.

    And God is doing it now ... the more we dream these things together with passionate, creative, deeply spiritual and strongly theological mates, fathers and brothers the more space we give God to commission us in His Acts 13 moments.

    Much love
    Rob & Linda

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