Bishops Prioritise Discipleship Training

Growing the Church, which oversees Rooted in Jesus in South Africa, has just published its July newsletter.  Amongst other exciting developments there is a report on the Rooted in Jesus training held in the Diocese of Natal and Diocese of Free State. Natal introduced RinJ back in 2013, and the current Bishop Dino Gabriel had prioritised the programme in his former diocese of Zululand.  It is being introduced to Free State for the first time, and early feedback is very encouraging. Here are some extracts from the newsletter:

GtC July 2018

SECOND QUARTER – JULY 2018
Bishops prioritise Discipleship Training

DIOCESE OF NATAL

“In May GtC ran a Discipleship Training Course in the Diocese of Natal. The first part of the training conference was mainly for clergy and it focused on the first module of the J-Life material which is a discipleship framework, viz. Strategy for Discipleship. This training was given by Dr Johann and Louise van der Bijl, both missionaries from SAMS.

The second part of the discipleship training conference was to train clergy and laity in the “Rooted in Jesus” and “The God who is There” discipleship courses. The implementation of these courses is done through formation of small discipleship groups.

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Above: These trainees were trained to make disciples who make disciples.
Above left: Clergy and some laity who were trained in the J-Life Strategy Module on discipleship in the Diocese of Natal.
Above right: + Dino Gabriel hands a Certificate of Completion to Anele Langa. On the left is Canon Dumisani Shezi, the Discipleship Coordinator for the diocese

Delegates commented:

“I can’t thank you enough for the spiritual armaments that you have imparted into my spirituality as well as ministry through this training. The material is so divine to extent that I have waited for such since 2008, but I really would  not put my head around to formulate anything that, even though I knew that something is missing in the way I teach the children of God. But now with this material everything will be so easy.” –  Phiwa Mahaye
“Thank you for equipping us with the tools to utilise in teaching and discipling many as Christ’s followers. The Rooted in Jesus training was a phenomenal experience. In between sessions we received testimonies that were heart-warming and encouraging.
“We thoroughly enjoyed all the sessions and noticed God activating gifts of teaching His Word, evangelism, healing and counselling.
“I am confident that we have deepened our faith in God. There is hope for many who will follow us, as we invite them back to Jesus. We will hold feedback  sessions with Revd Canon Shezi, to carve the way forward. I would certainly love to sharpen my facilitation skills and contribute to the body of Christ. God willing, we shall come to the Anglican Ablaze conference to be further equiped and empowered. – Dr Zama Mtshali-Dlamini
“On behalf of our Diocesan Bishop, Dino, I wish to pass a word of gratitude to the GtC Team for coming in our Diocese to lead J-Life for the clergy and Rooted in Jesus for the laity.”


DIOCESE
OF THE FREE STATE

The Diocese of Free State ran a Discipleship Course using the Rooted in Jesus and Rooted in Jesus Junior and The God Who is There resources. Canon Itumeleng Pooe reports:

“The conference was a miracle from its very inception. Organized within a very short period of time, with no budget and no visible support. The Lord really showed His faithfulness and reliability as we depended entirely on Him. The GtC team, Estelle Adams, Amanda Ohlsson and Fr Trevor Pearce who led the intense, challenging and interesting programme were assisted by ten coordinators of the diocese.

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Trevor Pearce introduces The God Who is There

In total 45 people attended the conference,  including Bishop +Dintoe and his wife, Zanele. The group included ten clergy from various parishes. Though most of the attendees were members of the AWF, there was a sizeable number of Youth, lay ministers and Sunday school teachers. We were also joined by two clergy from the Diocese of Lesotho; Revd Dr Joseph Morenammele and Revd Dr Ntsiuoa Rathabaneng.

“What can one say! I left that place very encouraged and inspired. For many years since I came to Christ in 1985, I have been longing to see my Anglican Church in Lesotho sold fully to the preaching of the saving Gospel through Christ. The training in Bloemfontein gave me a great hope that things are now at the doorstep in our own diocese. For me it was a strategic training on discipleship and fulfilment of the Great Commission. Rooted in Jesus is an excellent programme helping us to deepen our faith in Christ and equipping us for life-long discipleship leading to the growth of the church. I am truly excited with what took place in Bloemfontein and I cannot wait to see the seminar take place in our Diocese.” Dr Joseph Morenammele

“In between the sessions delegates expressed sincere appreciation and thankfulness for the programme. I was impressed by the discipline of the delegates, who were in time for the sessions and participated excitedly in all the sessions and activities. The sessions also brought to the surface some deep underlying emotions and pain in some, and therefore granted healing, blessing and deliverance to many. At the end of the conference, all delegates felt inspired to go back to their respective parishes and organisations, and to implement the Rooted in Jesus Programme. In addition, three delegates, Zanele Letloenyane, the Revd Hectorina Tsotetsi (Priest in Charge, St Bernard the Martyr, Namahadi) and myself were designated as trainers.

Bishop Dintoe & Murs Zanele Letloenyane copy

+Dintoe and Mrs Zanele Letloenyane gave their full support throughout the discipleship conference.

 

TWO MONTHS LATER…

Canon Itumeleng Pooe writes:

“Despite the apathy amongst some of the clergy, the Lord has assured us that He has chosen those whom he wants to touch and transform. My own ministry has changed remarkably. I’m am so much more at rest in His presence, as I learn to rely more and more on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I am experiencing such peace I am, a peace as I’ve never known before. Amongst the highlights of my week are the Saturday evening Rooted in Jesus Junior sessions with my wife and three kids (to the accompaniment obligatory Pizza, of course!!!). I’m also so grateful that the Lord is mightily using  our Bishop. Firstly, his support from the beginning has been unequivocal; even though the programme was not in the Diocesan plans or budget for the year. Secondly, he fully attended the conference, sitting and participating in each session; he even received the certificate! Following the conference he issued a fiery charge, asking all to participate in the programme.”

Bloemfontein

“In Bloemfontein there are several RinJ groups that meet each week, all at different stages of progressing in course study. The most advanced of these is the Bishop’s group, which sits every Tuesday morning at the Bishop’s office. It consists of Bishop Dintoe Letloenyane, and 5 Diocesan workers, including the Administrator (Fr Itumeleng), who is the RinJ Diocesan Coordinator. Another group meets on Wednesday at the Diocesan Chapter House;  it is co-headed by the Fr Itumeleng and Mrs Zanele Letloenyane (yes, you guessed right, this is the Diocese’s first lady!!!). There is also a group that consists of FOV members; it meets on Friday evenings at the Diocesan Offices.

There are 3 other groups under the leadership of Fr Kgosi Hendriks, who is the Rector of St Margaret in Bloemfontein; one for adults on Wednesdays, one on Fridays for youth and one on Sunday for Sunday School.

As of Thursday 26 July 2018, Fr Itumeleng will be starting a weekly training course for 2 school chaplains to train them to also become RinJ facilitators. The training will take place over a period of 3-4 weeks.

Far Eastern Free State

“The parish of Bernard the Martyr under the leadership of the Rev’d Hectorina Tsotetsi has five different small groups of the Rooted in Jesus program.  Three groups are those who do the Rooted in Jesus program,  one group for the Rooted in Jesus Junior program and one group is for The God Who is There program.”

 

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Faith in action in Bloemfontein

Testimonies 

  • “Since the program started some people have reported that they have peace, joy and happiness in their lives.  They confessed that now they are new Beings, New Creations and New Humanity. They didn’t know what it means to have eternal life but since they started on this program they understand fully.  Some of them were ill because of holding grudges and not letting go. Many since they started this program they are able to forget and forgive. Some they thought they have misfortune because they were told that by sangomas (traditional healers). But now they realized that they were suffering because of sin. Sin separates them from God.
  • Some of them they realized their callings for various ministries in the body of Christ.
  • They didn’t see the importance of giving generously in the church and ploughing back into the communities where they come from but now they completely understand what it means to have faith in action.”

 

A Decade of Discipleship

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All these developments are inspired by the Anglican Communion’s Season of Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making. Bishop Martin Breytenbach writes:

“Perhaps the biggest need in the church today is for members who see themselves as disciples of Jesus, to help others to become disciples as well. Jesus’ disciples were apprentices who followed him, watched how he lived, healed the  sick, confronted evil  and imitated him. They listened to his teaching, sought to live by it,  and passed it on to others. In the process they were willing to set everything else aside in favour of the reign of God, which Jesus proclaimed. They wrestled with what it meant to love God, their neighbours, one another and even their enemies. They turned the world upside down!

God is calling the church today, and Anglicans in particular, to accept the challenge to become disciples who make disciples (2 Timothy 2:2). With this in mind the Anglican Consultative Council adopted a Season of Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making in the Anglican Communion in 2016. Our Provincial Synod accepted the call in that same year and ACSA launched the Season at the Anglicans Ablaze Conference in October 2016. Since then the challenge has been accepted in many Provinces of the Communion,  and a Task Team has been established to encourage and guide the process globally.

I am privileged to serve on that team under the chairmanship of Archbishop Ng Moon Hing of Southeast Asia and members from South and North America, the United Kingdom, several parts of Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Our goal is for disciple-making to become central to the life, ministry and mission of Anglican Churches everywhere. In order to do this we are working with appropriate groups and ministries throughout the Communion. We are also developing and encouraging the development of disciple-making resources for all ages, which will help   our people address the challenges of life in the 21st Century as disciples of Jesus. It is all about becoming more like Jesus in our different contexts. Hence the phrase: living and sharing a Jesus-Shaped life – in a Jesus-Shaped church.”

†Martin Breytenbach

breytenbach

Bishop Martin & Mrs Colleen Breytenbach

To find out more

  • visit the Growing the Church website here
  • check out the Rooted in Jesus website here
  • for The God Who is There it’s here

Rooted in Jesus, Rooted in Jesus Junior and The God Who is There are published by The Mathetes Trust.

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Posted 8th August 2018.