Our Back to Basics conference was held at Emseni Conference Centre in Benoni.
The conference was attended by over a hundred people with a ratio of 1 minister to every 6 congregation members. It was a great experience and people were inspired, motivated, encouraged, equipped, revitalised, revived, connected, resourced and well-fellowshipped.
We were graciously hosted by the staff at Emseni and people enjoyed great fellowship, good food and the use of well-maintained practical facilities.
Marius Nel was our keynote speaker and he used some powerful images and offered some amazing challenges. You can download the notes from his presentations HERE. Just some of the thoughts he left with us:
- We build bridges over rivers and sometimes the river moves and we faithfully maintain a bridge that now has no purpose. (He showed us the Choluteca bridge which was left high and dry when Hurricane Mitch moved the river.)
- Sometimes we need to change our message and sometimes we need to change our method and sometimes we must change both.
- The Kingdom of God is breaking through all over the place – sometimes all we have to do is to jump into what God is already doing!
- The Gospel is about four relationships
– to God,
– to others,
– to the world (justice and ecology)
– to ourselves.
- The church is the communal expression of the Kingdom of God breaking through.
- Be must engage the culture, not become the culture – we are the bridge and not the river.
- We looked Acts 4:13 where the Pharisees refer to the disciples as “unschooled ordinary men” and the fact that the word used in the Greek is “idiotês” which means unqualified and inexperienced.
- If we, having about 5% of people’s time don’t convince them that the other 95% of their time is important, we will lose them!
- The story of God’s work in the world is like a play with a missing scene that we have to fill in with the information we have from the other scenes.
Scene 1: Creation
Scene 2: The Fall
Scene 3: Israel
Scene 4: Jesus
Scene 5: (The Missing One) The church
Scene 6: New Creation.
The better we know the other scenes, the better we will be able to improvise scene 5.
- Scripture is an unfolding story that we must teach faithfully and not a rule-book that we quote from.
There were also six workshops that were offered:
- Rod Botsis and Mukondi Ramulondi discussed Effective Preaching and methods to be both effective with good content. You can get some of the notes HERE.
- Jaco Bester defined leadership, the need for leaders to embrace the constant change and for the minister to empower those working with him/her.
- Dr Inette Taylor, a counselling psychologist ran a practical workshop on ministering to trauma victims, including ways of protecting oneself from infected by the emotional weight of the trauma. Click HERE to download notes from the workshop.
- Training is a key to effective ministry and one of the ways could be by means of training courses. Chris Judelsohn and Craig Smith detailed the ways to ensure that the courses were both relevant and effective. Click HERE to download.
- As explained by John McKane and Theo Groeneveld, good administration systems are needed, both to provide confidence in the leadership as well as to meet legal requirements. In addition a church needs good records to be able to respond rapidly to a crisis or need of any family. Love is attention to detail and good administration helps us to care. Click HERE to download notes from the workshop.
- Awedzani Nemaukwe covered the vital aspect of how a congregation can only flourish if there is a healthy relationship between the minister, elders and the rest of the congregation.
There was also an Open Space exercise that allowed people to raise points and issues they felt passionate about and this released a lot of energy. All of this was encapsulated by worship and fellowship and a profound sense of God being with us.
In the final session people spoke very warmly about the conference’s impact on them:
- We are part of a bigger story.
- Horror of the thought of bridges over dry river beds and the wonder of the Kingdom “breaking through”
- The Order of Supportive Lay Ministries concept that was presented and discussed.
- The wonderful gap-filling that happened in interactions
- People were blown away by how much has been learned.
- The church needs more idiotês! Hallelujah.
- People were impressed at the Overall quality of the work that has gone into the conference.
Soli Deo Gloria!
God’s People at Prayer… (More pictures HERE…)
Leave a Reply