Vision Sunday, 17 January 2016. The Way Forward!

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his sanctuary”

Dear family and friends – fellow followers of Jesus!

Happy 2016! Welcome back to the holiday-away people! And welcome to SANCTUARY! The Lord clearly impressed on me to start the new year in “Finding Sanctuary”, for me personally, and for Following Jesus. To thrive in this year – not only survive – we need to find, build and live daily from sanctuary: a safe and sacred place of stillness and rest in God. David said in Psalm 27:4, “one thing” is needed above all the things that demand our attention, that is, to dwell in God’s sanctuary, where we gaze on his beauty. We learn to live in and from his peaceful presence, even when the storm rages around us! I’m teaching on this over the next four Sundays, so come along and bring some friends!

I want to remind you of our Mission and Vision statements, recorded in our monthly church bulletin (read it!) Our vision gives us our five key focus areas: to become truly diverse, developing a spirituality, healing and training centre, for social transformation. With the growing concern in the state of our nation, the racism and polarisation, the struggling economy and corruption, this vision and its fulfilment is seriously needed! How do we work at these focus areas? By doing “the main and the plain”, as John Wimber said, “do the basics and do them well and the rest takes care of itself” And what is the main and plain, the basics, in our church life? Doing “The Big 6” – our priorities for 2016.    

Evangelism & social transformation: I’ve put this one right up front because we must keep turning our church outwards to engage our world in evangelism, reconciliation, community care and missions. We’re planning to do a large Apha course to draw as many ‘seekers’ as possible to Jesus. Dates will be made known. Are you using your prayer cards to pray for and lead a few people to Jesus? Tell us if you’ve had the joy of actually leading someone to Christ. And we’re starting a Missions Team to work on areas of mission in and from our church – please let our office know if you’re keen to join the team! Other initiatives and events regarding diversity and social transformation will be made known.

Worship and prayer: This is normally first – our highest priority in Church & Christian life is to worship and prayer – following Jesus in intimate relationship (SANCTUARY). Pray for the worship team, pray that we experience more and more of God’s presence in our worship. And I want to appeal for volunteers to join the worship team so we can grow the worship in our church – and also we need more volunteers for the sound desk, to do the data projection and be trained in sound-mixing! Please let Ray or Terxia know! 

In terms of prayer, at our BL (broader leaders) meeting last year we decided to move the half night of prayer to call on people who can make themselves available for an hour of prayer Sunday mornings before the service (08:00-09:00). Come and pray with us! And remember the week of fasting and prayer from Monday to Sunday 25-31 Jan. We need to fast and pray for 1) daily living in and from sanctuary in our lives, 2) for this year ahead in our church, that God may truly increase all the ministries mentioned in this letter, 3) for our nation in terms of the ongoing challenges that we face – that God may break through!

 Home Groups – growing community: Our 2nd priority is healthy community. Home churches (small groups) are the only real way to build family in a local church. They are the spine of the Body that gives strength and co-ordination to the Church. That is where we get to know, build relationship, learn to share life and grow together. So, we will keep focus on integrating people into small groups and planting new ones! We will announce dates for home group leaders training for existing and new small group leaders.

 Sunday Celebrations: We gather on Sundays as a community of home groups to celebrate God’s presence through Worship, Word and Works. To come on Sundays is an act of obedience to God’s call for his people to gather to worship him, to sit under the authority of his taught Word, and to do God’s works by laying on hands to give the gifts of the Spirit to each other. How about prioritising the REGULAR gathering for Sunday worship? As we grow we will plan to go to two services, so you’ll have a choice of an early service! And I do plan to address themes of public interest to draw in new people, to lead them to Christ.

 Children’s Church: It starts today (17 Jan). We owe a great debt to Waynne Pienaar, Peggy Maruma, Zelda Pringle and other teachers, who work in children’s church. This is SUCH AN IMPORTANT ministry for our church in catering for families. Once again, we seriously need people to volunteer to help out so that we can ‘spread the load’. Please speak to Waynne and Peggy, they will guide you in whatever level of involvement works for you.

 Youth and Young Adults: We REALLY need to prioritise the growth of our youth church and young adults ministry. Dumisani Misi, Shawn Lambie and Waynne Pienaar take care of the teenage youth, and Lerato Moselane leads the young adults ministry. The growth of these two areas of focus is critically important for us in 2016. Plans of events and dates will be announced as the year unfolds, but please pray for these ministries – and support them!

 A new Assistant Pastor: To show our seriousness in regard to building up the youth and children’s church, we want to employ a paid part-time person who has a heart for youth and children. If you know of anyone, or would like to offer yourself… we’d like to interview whoever! So please pray with us, speak to us, re the right youth and children’s pastor.

 Finances: God truly blessed us in 2015. Our ‘giving goal’ was R125k per month. We ended the year with an average income of R137k, which is R12k over target! We have worked out the 2016 budget, which includes the proposed assistant pastor, plus modest increases for the existing staff, plus putting some money into various ministries. So the target budge for 2016 is R155k pm – our new faith goal! May God bless your giving in the midst of our challenging economic times. Terxia Chigwidden continues with property maintenance and development as and when money comes in to the “Building Fund” – you are welcome to give as God blesses you with extra bucks, just mark it “Building Fund”.    

 Ministries and pamphlets: Stop and look at all the pamphlets for the various ministries at the back of the hall on the table. There is a wealth of information and contact details.

 Discipleship: We believe discipleship and growth takes place organically in our daily lives through finding sanctuary, and in all the ministries of the church. But it also happens through programs of training and equipping like VI (Vineyard Institute). I sent an email to the entire church membership advertising the VI courses on offer this year. Each course is at a reduced price of $29! Speak to Quinton Howitt for info! We will also be offering other discipleship and training courses through the year.

Translocal ministry and missions: I’ve cut back on the number of trips I’ve committed to, in order to write more, and be present in Following Jesus. Both Claude Jacques and Alison Papenfus do translocal mission trips now and then. We will get a list of all our trips and make it known for those who want to plan ahead to join one or two of the translocals.

Finally, thanks for all your prayers, love and support in my six months of severe muscle pain and stiffness. Good news – it’s definitely going!!

God bless, Alexander and team.