Discipling the Nations

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Our slogan for campus ministry is “Change the campus, change the world.” Over the last couple of years, this underlying truth has been brought front and center for so many churches. Being a campus ministry, we have a very high rate of turnover in our students: we invariably have an entirely new group of students (and essentially an entirely new congregation) every 3-4 years!

Through this series, it was amazing to see God open up purpose and significance for the 450 students that sat and listened! This was an incredible series to minster with Kathy Gooch and Jonathan Rens. It was at a similar series more than 15 years ago that I found my own sense of purpose and destiny in God!

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Ministering at the Sunday service

In the second week we had an altar call, and it was incredible to see a couple of young people give their lives to God as a result of understanding God’s good news and purpose for every aspect of their lives! We preached for three Sundays and then had a workshop for the final Sunday. Our aim was to take a look at what God intended the church to be  and do by looking at the “Great Commission.”

Matt 28:18-20:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We started by covering split thinking (Dualism) and how this has affected our understanding of the “Great Commission”. We then covered all 7 spheres of society and looked at Biblical principles for the Arts, Entertainment & Sport, Business, The Church, Media & Communication, Education, Family, Government and Health, Science & Technology.

 

The workshop was in two parts. There was first an exhortation by Jonathan Rens to go and make a difference where God has placed you. There was then a chance for students who wanted to engage further to meet and ask questions of incredible leaders in each sphere. These leaders are on a journey to glorify God as they worship Him through their work and grapple with Biblical principles in their field. About 150 students and graduates signed up for this workshop.

This is what one graduate had to say regarding the series:

“The Discipling Nations series…gave me a better understanding of the sphere I studied and God’s purpose for it. It unpacked for me how God’s character is displayed or glorified in the three spheres I feel called to, which are Business, Media and Ministry.

Personally, it also highlighted the same God-like qualities in me that helped me understand and confirm that God had indeed called me in to these Spheres. The media and communications sphere especially helped me understand that my choice of studying Media and Marketing was not in vain even though I chose it because it was the best option for me at the time.” – Ayanda Mpongwana

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Health, Science & Technology group

 

Faith in Action…

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Three churches meeting to ask God how we can respond practically to the needs on our campuses.

With the “Revolution” happening on our campuses we are seeing a chance to really press in with what we’re doing, because we know that God brings true change as He changes hearts. There are so many areas on campus demanding responses, and this creates opportunities. When we can practically meet needs, it opens up incredible roads to bring the gospel to young people. It also allows the message to be incarnational as people see believers who have been filled with God’s love act it out by sharing, giving and sacrificing.

Churches are finding that there are so many ways to respond and really be missional and practical in our love for people. We recently met as a group of 3 churches that are affiliated with UCT and CPUT to dream and talk about God’s response to the needs on our campuses. It was incredible to see churches come together, even on a small scale, to think about  how we can work together to practically LOVE students on our campuses.

This initiative is one of so many stories we are hearing after “The Justice Conference” which is so exciting. There have been many churches and individuals doing justice in Cape Town and South Africa but bringing the stories together begins to build a movement that draws in other churches, organisations and individuals, and then they can more easily see ways in which they can do acts of justice in their communities.  Many churches met again recently to look at the future of Biblical Justice in our city and nation through the support of the “The Justice Conference” movement.

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Asking if the Justice Conference will fuel and give way to acts of righteousness in our communities by believers.

The First ‘Justice Conference’, South Africa

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Our real kick off for the year was the Justice Conference! This was an absolutely wonderful way to begin the year in light of all that has ensued in our nation over the past months. It was just so timely. The students who came to the conference were so excited by the content and the fact that all the issues facing South Africa were being looked at head-on. It was well attended and diverse making the learning challenging, very emotional but most effective, everyone left the conference stirred.

My highlights were seeing this conference come together in this incredible weekend, and speaking to friends and students about what they were learning. It was an answer to prayer to see justice accessible for individuals and institutions, which was so helpful, as people’s most frequent question is, “What does this mean for me?” All in all, it was an awakening, relevant, and rewarding weekend with much work to be done in South Africa!

 

Leading after #FeesMustFall 2016

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Photo of the protests courtesy of the Duke Chronicle

In the Western Cape, the university campuses where we have our campus ministries started very late this year (mid March), except for the University of Stellenbosch. This is some of the aftermath of the Fees Must Fall protests; deferred exams, lack of student housing for the new year and delayed employment for those who were meant to be graduating.

As the dust settles and we look ahead to our future – and the prospect of more unrest – we sense the need to both strengthen leaders and raise up more leaders as we move forward. We are aware as campus ministries that we are always only 1 year away from extinction because of the fast student turn-over. We witnessed last year that God’s presence, and specifically His presence through Christians, makes such a difference during times of deep turmoil. The mediation, the peaceful witnessing, the prayer, and the counseling carried out by many Christians across the body of Christ had such an incredible impact on the situation.

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Photo of UCT’s Jammie Plaza courtesy of Stay Centred

This year, we are looking to strengthen our leadership development across all of our campuses. For us this means being more effective in equipping our student leaders both for their own growth, and to improve their ability to disciple other students. It also means more effective equipping of Christian students who are entering student governance, and framing the issues of the day with a Biblical perspective so that they can be salt and light on the campuses. There has also been a greater interest among the Christian university staff to engage and explore their role in campus life.

Through every adversity and difficult situation, we move forward with the knowledge that God has His hand on His people, and that we carry His presence within us.

New name – same people, passion and purpose…

His People Church in Southern Africa officially changed their name from His People to Every Nation, effective from the beginning of 2017. We wanted to adopt the name of the apostolic movement that His People Church belongs to. Many of the students were still on break at the time of all the congregational commemorations, so we are yet to commemorate the change with our students. We will still do so at the Every Nation Campus Conference in September this year!

Back to Work

My first day back at work was the 3rd of June. I was back just in time for our biannual strategic team meeting – we call it the “Baxter Indaba” – during which we plan for the next 18 months after a period of prayer. I love these meetings, as I really enjoy dreaming and planning! It was a wonderful start for me, being together with the team and hearing testimonies of the last semester, and getting caught up on all the new and exciting developments on campus. It was also encouraging to have a bigger team this year, including the ‘Year of Your Life’ team. A highlight for me was the number of congregants (i.e. not our vocational ministers) we had giving feedback on the ministries they head up in the church. This is always very exciting for us, as it means that we are actively practicing Ephesians 4:12; equipping the saints for the work of ministry.

After our Indaba we put our most important strategic objectives on one, collective team calendar. We have big prayer needs around the fulfilmentof this God-inspired work; please keep praying with us for our congregation, our community, our campuses and our ministry assignments.

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Team Time, working better together

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Small group feedback

I work part time, half of the week, so that I can still be at home with my children some of the time. My three main areas of focus at work are:

  • My pastorate at UCT
  • Year Of Your Life (YOYL)
  • Leadership Training

Unfortunately I just missed the students when I came back, as they were in their final week of exams that week, and after that they went on their midyear break which lasts until mid-July. As a result, I got a good amount of time to catch up with the team overseeing my pastorate (Muofhe & Chinelle), to assess where we are and plan for the next 18 months. We are excited to grow our leadership base in the next 18 months by focusing on and pioneering more connect groups, actively raising, equipping and mentoring more leaders. We have already begun creatimg better systems to ensure our existing leaders can excel in their leadership and see multiplication.

The Year of Your Life (YOYL) team and the students in the School of Campus Ministries were still active at the time, so I got to catch up with the YOYL team and finish up with the School of Campus Ministries students (I mentor the Cape Town Students that are training to be campus ministers).

I’m off to a good start and I’m excited to be back to continue reaching students, building Christ into their lives and raising leaders for God’s purposes!