FOLLOWING JESUS @ VINEYARD COMMUNITY CENTRE

11 January 2015 Pastoral Letter: Facing the New Year

Dear family and friends – fellow travelers in Following Jesus!

Happy new-year to you! Welcome back from the festive season holidays!

Last Sunday Gill and I shared what we believe God laid on our hearts for us and for Following Jesus – key actions and attitudes to take into 2015 (from Psalm 37:1-9). Note that these are decisions we make before God, and with God’s help we will be able to live by them: “Don’t fret… Rather trust the Lord and do good… delight in him… commit your way to him… be still and wait on him… therefore do NOT fret or be anxious or angry.” Why not enter 2015 like this? Listen to our message @ followingjesus.org.za.

In praying Psalm 37 and praying for 2015, four clear “prayer-intentions” (desires and priorities) came to me, which I have laid before the Lord, and will continue to pray for:

1. Discipleship: That ALL of us in Following Jesus will become fully devoted disciples of Jesus, daily learning from him how to live our lives as he would if he were us. That kind of diligent daily discipleship builds the spiritual psycho-emotional muscle/stamina that gives us the resilience and strength to not only survive, but to thrive with joy!

2. Evangelism: I’m praying that, being true followers of Jesus, we will make followers of him from unchurched irreligious people. Our big weakness is evangelism. May we turn our church outwards to gossip the gospel and make disciples of Jesus!

3. Workers & Leaders: The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few (Matt 9:37-38), so I’m praying for God to raise up and bring to us people who can work in team, and lead teams, to do ministry and mission. A big challenge is for new leaders to come forward to facilitate home groups as a safe place for healthy community and growth. As a Home Group Church, we encourage everyone to be in community.

4. Lastly, I want to complete the writing of my book Doing Spirituality this year (I’m half way!) I need time every now and then to write. Please pray! I consider this the most important of all the books I’ve written – and it’s all out spiritual warfare!

This gives you insight into my heart, and the priorities I want to pursue. As a church we will continue to lay the foundation of Follow, Form and Fish – completing our value of Forming (in) Community through the practices of relationship, healing, servant gifts and equipping. Then we’ll focus outwards by teaching the value of Fishing the World via four specific practices. In other words, we’re NOT playing church! We’re NOT entertaining you! We’re discipling you! We’re a church of spiritual formation. We’re following Jesus and making followers of him. Why not join us (afresh) in this very intentional journey?

Staff changes and events coming up!

There is a shift in the staff at the church office. We thank Felicity Williams for her work as the church administrator and bookkeeper. She will do her handover in January, thus ending 13 years on paid staff. Felicity, thank you very much for your faithfulness and hard work. And we welcome Victor Pillay as the new church administrator. He will work mornings only from Tuesday to Friday and on Sunday mornings. Waynne Pienaar is giving Tuesdays to volunteer in the church as the emerging operations pastor, and he, together with Gavin Pringle, will keep the books and account for the church finances. Sheila continues as paid Site Manager, and Grant continues as part time paid admin assistance. Terxia Chegwidden also gives volunteer time and energy to our VCC (property) maintenance and development. Nthabiseng Dladla also is a volunteer helper with admin at the church office. So, please pray for us as we do our work, meeting every Tuesday morning for staff/ops meeting, and after that, the OT (Oversight Team) meets. We do want to serve you all as best we can with the gifts God has given us.

To draw attention once again to the monthly church bulletin: remember to get one and keep it with you through the month so that you can check on the upcoming events. I wont mention them here… check the bulletin! But I do want to motivate three things:

1. Vision Sunday 18 Jan: Gill and I invite all who come to on the 18th to bring a picnic lunch (and meat if you want to braai – we’ll have fire!!) and stay after church to celebrate with us our combined 60th birthday!

2. The Vineyard Institute (VI) Evangelism and Discipleship Course being offered through Quinton, held over four Wednesday nights 19:30-21:00, on 21 Jan, 4 Feb, 18 Feb, 4 March. Please come along and learn about evangelism!

3. A Week of Prayer and Fasting from Monday 19 Jan to Sunday 25 Jan. This is our practice of prayer and intercession for the church and what God wants to do with us this year. We call everyone to fast whatever you determine before God for this week, and to give much time to pray for the church and our nation for 2015. We will also have our first half night of prayer on Friday 23 Jan from 20:00-24:00 in the main hall. Please set aside time to come and pray with us.

Let us join our hearts and minds and hands in prayer and work for Jesus and his people, to serve one another in and through the gifts God has given us, and to make it a priority to reach out to people who really don’t know Jesus, to ‘fish’ them into God’s family!

God bless

From Alexander and Gill and the OT

Alexander’s translocal ministry trips (diarize if you’re interested in coming along):

29-31 March, Sun-Tues: with City Life Church East London on Friendship with God
23-27 April, Thurs-Sun: “Doing Healing – The Equipping to Heal Conference” with Walmer Anglican in Port Elizabeth (and other invited churches)
12-18 May, Tues-Mon: Belgium trip to do healing conference with Brussels Vineyard
18-21 June, Thurs-Sun: Do “Kingdom Transformation – Personal and Social” conference with Glenridge church, Durban
16-19 July, Thurs-Sun: Church Unlimited & Vineyard in Nelspruit, to do The Equipping to Heal Conference
11-16 Aug, Tues-Sun: Global School of Supernatural Ministry (morning lectures) and also Harvest Church (evenings and weekend meetings), in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban
18-20 Sept, Fri-Sun: to do a conference at Durban North Vineyard (no set theme as yet)
19-23 Oct, Mon-Fri: Vineyard National Conference in CT – all are welcome! After that… 23-25 Oct, Fri pm – Sun pm: doing the Equipping to Heal Conference at Knysna Vineyard