Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Interview with Bishop Elisha Tendwa of the Diocese of Kalémie, DR Congo

Rooted in Jesus is a discipleship programme designed in and for Africa. First developed in partnership with the Diocese of Mount Kiimanjaro in Tanzania, Rooted in Jesus has now been running for 17 years; it forms a major focus of the work of the Mathetes Trust, which publishes and supports it.

In 2012 Elisha Tendwa, then a pastor in the Anglican Diocese of Dar es Salaam, was appointed missionary bishop within the Diocese of Katanga in DR Congo. He got in touch with us to say he would like to use Rooted in Jesus – could we help? We were delighted to accept the invitation. To cut a long story short, the course books were duly adapted into congolese swahili, a team leader was appointed, a series of conferences held, local coordinators trained and Rooted in Jesus groups planted across the diocese.

Six years on, Elisha has completed his mission and returned home – and last month Alison Morgan met him in Arusha to catch up with the story.

To watch a short video interview click HERE: – or read on for the full story…

The call to serve

The Diocese of Katanga covers an area more than twice as big as the entire UK, and is home to some six million people. Elisha’s task was to grow the church in the eastern region of Kalémie in order to form a new diocese. He explained:

“The Archbishop of Tanzania was the chair of the House of Bishops in Africa. He was visiting DRC, and Katanga requested a missionary bishop from Tanzania who would come to serve in the area of Kalémie in Katanga to prepare it to become a new diocese. He came back and shared that request, and asked me to go to serve in that area. I was then a parish priest. I shared with my family and my wife Fidea. But the situation in Kalémie was not good, they had war, and it was difficult for me to  accept. We prayed and fasted, and I said to my wife ‘Let me go and see the situation, and when I see it is all right I will be able to come home and say that I should accept.’ But my wife said, ‘No, if you go and you see the situation is not good to serve there, what then, will you come back and say you will not go? If this is God’s call on your life, you should accept.’

“So I accepted. I left my parish, and we prepared to go to Kalémie. I used the boat to get there. I reached Kalémie. The situation was so difficult. There were only three pastors in that huge area, and four evangelists. My church was small, you had to bend to enter, because it is a small building. My house was not good, and I prayed and said to God, ‘Are you really calling me here? I have left a good house and a good salary – why do you want me to come here? Is this a kind of punishment?’

“I started my episcopal ministry after being consecrated on November 25, 2012 at St Paul’s Cathedral in Lubumbashi as an assistant missionary Bishop who will live and work in Kalémie to prepare that area by making evangelization, and by increasing the number of Christians and church buildings and growing the numbers of ministers like pastors, catechists, deacons and evangelists. I asked my God through prayer and I took a time for fasting; I used Psalm 121 to ask God: ‘I lift my eyes to the mountain, where does my help come from?’

“And God is good. He gave me a vision.

The Province & Diocese of Katanga, DRC (white area)

Growing the church with Rooted in Jesus

“I returned to Tanzania and I connected with missionary Jerry in Zanzibar, and he connected me with Revd Dr Alison Morgan. I shared with Alison the situation including the security situation, and she connected me with team leader Matthew. As soon as the situation was OK Matthew came with a Rooted in Jesus team of six people, 4 from UK and two from Tanzania, to plant a Rooted in Jesus ministry. They conducted conferences at  Lubumbshi and Kalémie.

“For me it was a time of blessing. Rooted in Jesus is a discipleship course; it plants groups. We invited people through the evangelists and pastors, and 270 participants came, from far away areas. People from Moba came with their bicycles, two days it takes to reach there. These were lay people from the different parishes, youth leaders, Mothers Union leaders, church councils.  The team stayed for one week and taught us about church planting with Rooted in Jesus. It was very, very useful. Rooted in Jesus ministry changed the life of people in Congo.

A syllabus for evangelism and discipleship

Rooted in Jesus has a syllabus. There are leaders’ books, which you can follow. It is based on Matthew 28, go and preach and teach and make disciples. There are 4 books. When you follow the first one you have a thirst to know what is next. The first book helps you to grow, it gives you faith. In DRC, discipleship and evangelism you cannot separate them, because evangelism is the beginning of discipleship. You don’t go to preach the word of God if you do not lead people into discipleship. It is useful for people of God in Kalémie because they have been affected by the wars, they do not believe in each other, they have many gods in their minds. They were suffering and finding God in other ways. But when we introduced them to the real God, and we prayed, and they saw miracles, they surrendered their lives to God. Some had been possessed by demons, and after praying they felt like a new human being. We prayed also for physical healing. This gave people confidence in God.

“When each group finished the first book the coordinator gave them the second book. The syllabus connects the books together. So the first book is a foundation, the second book teaches how to invite the Holy Spirit. The third book is about the church, about Jesus when he gave authority to St Peter, build my church. The third book talks about church, not as a building only but as a way of life, personal between people. The church is holy – how can we be holy? You can offer your life in the way of building a new church. With Rooted in Jesus the first church was built with mud and grass, but people learned that church is about the heart, and they began to build big churches with stone, and they put their money to buy cement. They brought material from different sources because they learned to worship God in a good place.

“Book Four is about ministry to others. Some groups went faster than others, because the coordinator was able to visit them easily. The groups further away, even 200 km, had less support. Book 4 is a good book because it helps people to help others. Women created a plan to visit the sick in hospitals – this is because book 4 teaches how to minister to others. They went every week to hospitals, they collected gifts like soap, sugar, salt, to encourage the sick people – in hospitals there is no food. They learned also that when you pray to God, if you look after others then God will look after you. They went to visit people in their houses who were suffering and invited them to come and pray and visit also – even if they were not Christians, and they too gave their lives to Christ. We were able to baptise and teach people, and the church grew through Rooted in Jesus.

A growing church

“After two years we saw the fruits. People were coming to worship under the tree, and they began to build churches from mud and trees, with a grass roof. Small groups who learned through Rooted in Jesus changed the surrounding community, because the church received new Christians from other denominations, and others who were not Christian before, including some who were pagans who were converted to be Christian and baptised. We chose James Mayundo to be the Kalémie coordinator. James Mayundo was always visiting groups, seeing how they were growing spiritually, and seeing how to help.

A newly planted church among the Batwa (pygmy) people of Kalemie

“We saw fruit, we made ordinations to deacons. We have opened churches, the situation is good now. After five years of my ministry in Kalémie, working together with Rooted in Jesus, the number of Christians increased, many parishes opened, and the number of ministers as pastors, catechists and evangelists increased. By the time I left Kalémie they had an archdeaconry of Manono with 6 parishes, each with sub parishes led by catechists. Manono is 460 km from Kalemie. The archdeaconry of Nyunzu has four parishes with sub parishes also. In the Nyunzu archdeaconry the people are pygmies; we have a pygmy catechist. In the archdeaconry of Kalémie they have 5 parishes. And that is where we are building the cathedral of St John the Baptist. Now we have 8 pastors, and more than 16 catechists. We have many churches, some worship under the tree, and they put a shelter up like a tent; others have built.

“We have now built a good church, St John the Baptist, which in future will be the cathedral of the Diocese of Kalémie. The Synod of Katanga came to see the situation, and they said now it’s time for Kalémie to become a new diocese. The House of Bishops accepted that, and this was the end of my mission. The bishop will be elected soon. So I have come back to Tanzania.

Learning to trust God

“When I came back from Kalémie by ship to Tanzania, there was thunder, sometimes people fear they will die on Lake Tanganyika. People said pastor, bishop, we are here, in this storm. I stood and I went to the corridor outside on the ship and I said to God that time you were in the boat and you slept and your disciples woke you and you said stop. So when the situation was dangerous I prayed. We reached Kigoma in Tanzania and I took my small bag, and I dropped it into the lake with my money and my computer and everything. I cried to God and said what about me, but some people gave support and it was all given to me. I saw the hand of God with me in trouble.

“Through Kalémie I have learned how to serve God in any situation, persecution, suffering. I  have learned from Paul – I know how to get, how to lose. But always God has provided for me. In the six years I served in Kalémie, I was not without anything. I am ready to go anywhere, to serve God in any circumstances.

“So the mission in Congo gave me a new way and a new life in my ministry. It is quite different from ministry in Tanzania. But I have a thirst to continue to serve God in that way which has changed my life, and which has changed my view on how to serve God in a situation of suffering.”

Bishop Elisha (in black) has now joined the national Rooted in Jesus team in Tanzania, which is led by Bishop Stanley Hotay of the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro (in blue).

To watch a video interview with Bishop Elisha visit
https://youtu.be/PD0yzql8YKk

Rooted in Jesus is published and supported by the Mathetes Trust. To find out more about how Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Diocese of Katanga, visit the Rooted in Jesus website.

Posted by Alison Morgan, 11th March 2019

Growing disciples in the Rift Valley

Last week the Diocese of the Rift Valley in Tanzania held its first Rooted in Jesus conference. The conference took place in the small town of Manyoni, near the geographical centre of the country, at the initiative of Bishop John Lupaa, and was attended by 235 pastors, catechists, Bible college students and Mothers Union representatives.

“I love you, Lord, my strength” (Ps 18.1)

Bishop John explained that the diocese, which covers the province of Singida, has 267 churches in 51 parishes, with a membership of some 130,000 people – about ten per cent of the population of the province. Over the last year he has visited every single one of these 267 churches, confirming 3000 people and baptising as many again; there is an openness here to the gospel. “We are lucky,” he says, because we are poor. People depend on God, because they have nothing else.”

But there is much still to do, he explained; of the 1300 villages in the province, 1000 have no Anglican presence, and many of those – particularly in the more remote rural areas – have no church of any kind. This is an area of primary evangelism. The diocesan vision is to increase the number of Christians by 2,200 every year, and to do this by becoming a self-sustaining community which grows through releasing the time, talents and gifts of its members. Bishop John hopes that Rooted in Jesus will help them to fulfil this vision.

Bishop John Lupaa

In Tanzania Rooted in Jesus is directed by Bishop Stanley Hotay of the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro; Stanley was one of the founders of the programme, which has now been running for nearly twenty years. In that time it has spread to 19 of the 27 dioceses in the country, and is still growing. Bishop Stanley had invited Canon Jacob Robert of the Diocese of Mara to lead the team. Jacob was joined by his colleague Canon Gaspar Kassanda, with Canon Dustan Mtoro from the Diocese of Mpwapwa, Revd Clement Manyatta from Mount Kilimanjaro, supported by Dr Alison Morgan from the UK. The conference had been organised by Canon George Mbago of the Department of Christian Education in DRV, ably supported by a team from the cathedral, where it was hosted.

The team was able to meet together the day before the conference to plan and pray, and everyone was delighted to find that each person brought a different gifting, Ephesians style, to the team – a leader, a pastor, an evangelist, a prayer minister, and a teacher. We worked hard, depended on one another, and rejoiced as we watched people learning and growing together.

A diverse pattern of learning

A Rooted in Jesus conference stretches over four days, and includes praise and worship, biblical teaching, small group practice, workshops and prayer; it also offers participants the opportunity to share their own needs and minister to one another. Each participant had paid their own bus fare to reach the conference, and many were offered hospitality by cathedral members who opened their homes to them. Each had come in the expectation that they would learn and grow during their time together, and they threw themselves wholeheartedly into every element of the programme. Bishop John was present throughout the conference to affirm and encourage, and this created a great sense of common purpose.

Rooted in Jesus is intentionally interactive and practical, and each session includes discussion, practical demonstration, times of sharing, questions, prayer and the learning of a memory verse. Encouraged to lead collaboratively rather than classroom style, participants found themselves caught up into something that was challenging but also hugely enjoyable. They adapted quickly to the new approach, and threw themselves with enthusiasm into the practical demonstrations.

Encouraging one another

This was a particularly experienced team, and participants were encouraged by the testimony of Jacob, Gaspar and Dustan, each of whom has been using Rooted in Jesus in their own diocese for over seven years now, and each of whom was able to share many stories of how people have grown in confidence and faith as they have committed themselves to learning together to be disciples of Jesus:

Dustan coordinates Rooted in Jesus in the Diocese of Mpwapwa. He reported that there are now nearly 300 groups in the diocese, some using the adult programme, some using Rooted in Jesus Junior in Sunday schools; many people have completed the course, and in every parish both church commitment and every member participation have risen dramatically as a result. Last year an ambitious fund raising campaign for a new building organised through the Rooted in Jesus groups raised the sum required within three months.

Gaspar is the Director of Evangelism in the Diocese of Mara. He told the conference how he has been steadily planting 7-10 churches a year, working with a small team and using Rooted in Jesus to disciple those who respond to the gospel. In each place the new Christians build a wooden church and thatch it with leaves, and the diocese has grown so much that they have already divided once and plan to do so again. Jacob said that there are nearly 200 adult groups and 135 Junior groups in the diocese – and that many people have already completed the course and developed their own ministry to others.

What next?

At the end of the conference Bishop John Lupaa gave a solemn charge. Each person commissioned will be expected to start a Rooted in Jesus group in their church, he said; the groups will meet weekly, perhaps on a Sunday morning before the church service. Each group leader will report regularly to a parish coordinator, and the reports will be shared with the deanery coordinator and then with the diocesan management. Progress will be evaluated at the next Diocesan Synod in April. A new department is to be created in the diocese for Rooted in Jesus, and Canon George Mbago will direct it. “We are expecting great growth,” Bishop John said; “and this growth will support our diocesan vision.”

Every Rooted in Jesus team is a lot bigger than it looks, and we are very grateful to those who prayed each day for the conference, to those who prepared magnificent meals for huge numbers of people with very basic facilities, and to those who support and encourage Rooted in Jesus financially and in other ways.

Find out more

To find out more about the Diocese of the Rift Valley visit its website.
Rooted in Jesus is published and supported in the UK by the Mathetes Trust.
For more information about the programme and how it works, visit the Rooted in Jesus website.

Posted 5th March 2019

Expecting the Unexpected in the Diocese of Soroti

“Being part of the RinJ team in Soroti Diocese was demanding, thought-provoking, inspiring, and profoundly affecting. People’s commitment to learning, their gratitude to God and to us, and their sheer joy in the Lord will be abiding memories. So will the impression of an Anglican diocese growing in number and vitality. The learning with RinJ is two-way!”  Steve Coneys

Rooted in Jesus was first introduced to the Diocese of Soroti, Uganda, in 2017, and in November 2018 a team led by Revd Mike Cotterell returned to provide further training and encouragement. Coordinator Emmanuel Elianu had arranged two conferences, the first a followup gathering in Soroti, the second a conference for new leaders in Kaberamaido. Rooted in Jesus is used in the Ateso language in Soroti, but had been newly translated into Kumam for those in Kaberamaido.

The conferences were well attended, with 175 participants in Soroti; some of them were already using Rooted in Jesus, but many were coming for the first time. In Kaberamaido the conference was attended by 70 mostly lay people who had never been to anything like this, and were soon enthusiastically worshipping and sitting on the edge of benches listening and very engaged. In both places about a third of the participants were women.

God at work through prayer

As so often in Africa, joy is matched by pain. In Soroti Mike reported that “we are very pleased and thankful for all God has done. Everyone at the conference was united, excited and very clearly blessed by the teaching. The times of personal response were deep and powerful.  Engagement and ability to grasp and to apply were enormous. Everyone had fun and loved it.” And yet he also wrote of a young woman called Eunice, who said that both her parents were shot on the same day and then her daughter disappeared from nursery and has not been found. Eunice found some comfort during the ministry talk, and was able to pray with the team. In Kaberamaido, a very poor, rural area, they learned that some girls marry at the age of twelve, and inevitably have a high number of children themselves. Life is far from easy even when nothing goes wrong.

Prayer was also a feature of the conference in Kaberamaido, with most of the participants saying that their prayers had been answered. Three quarters of them said they had been healed either emotionally or spiritually and that they were sleeping better; sixteen had been released from fear and six had experienced physical healing. Given the intensity with which people had responded to the invitation to confess their sins and receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit, the team were not surprised. Worship, Mike says, was loud and wonderful. “The final day ended with beautiful wild, loud dance and worship. No one wanted to go home.  ‘We have learned a lot’, they said.”The team often discussed highlights from the day or the conference, but they were hard to identify because there were so many! Perhaps one that is telling, was when some people received their RinJ booklet on the last morning, they recieved it with joy and immediately sat down and prayed over it. They had received something precious.

So what was the unexpected?

The children. They were everywhere. Some teams rest in between sessions, but this team didn’t feel the need for that. In Soroti they filled some spare moments by teaching a group of curious children the game ‘What’s the Time, Mr Lion?’, and ended up giving an impromptu telling of a Bible story to local onlookers on the dirt track. The children took the game back to their primary school, and the next day another gang of unknown children turned up out of nowhere asking to play the same game. From then on the conference was overrun with primary school children, many taking to the fringes of the workshops and ministry times, and some asking for prayer.

It was the same in Kaberamaido, where the Church was located very near the Church Primary School; flocks of children came and went from early afternoon into the conference. They were welcomed and encouraged to sit in on sessions and workshops, which they did in large numbers – often outnumbering the adults – and were always very well behaved. Mike reported, “Dozens of these children are our friends now (in and out of the church and listening to many things) and we want to do something special for them. So by arrangement with the Archdeacon and the Primary School Headteacher, the team offered to run a two hour programme for the school in Church immediately after the conference. About 200 children were kept spell-bound for 2 1/2 hours of story-telling, drama and song. The enthusiasm and engagement was exceptional, and the session ended in everyone kneeling for a prayer of commitment led by a local leader.

A transition moment

Coordinator Emmanuel Elianu is leaving his post in order to undertake further study. He has handed over to Pascal Odele. Pascal demonstrated great keenness for Rooted in Jesus, which Mike feels will be a good jump-start to his new role as Mission Coordinator. And the Diocese as a whole is preparing for the election of a successor to Bishop George Erwau, who retired last year. So it is our hope that Rooted in Jesus will continue to provide a catalyst for growth during the interregnum – it’s all too easy for a diocese to lose momentum while focussing on the election of a new bishop.

Blessing in two directions

We always find that blessing travels in two directions during a Rooted in Jesus conference. We asked the team members to tell us about their experiences. Diana High, a lay leader in her local church (below, left), replied: “My most memorable moment was during the prayer workshops when I got the delegates to be quiet and listen to the Holy Spirit.  One man got up afterwards and said ‘I thought you were joking and then God said to me …’.  Each time someone had received something from the Lord.  It was such a delight to see their faces and for them to realise that God does speak to them.”

Steve Coneys, Mission & Growth Adviser in the Diocese of Canterbury (below, right), wrote: “The quality of relationships, level of mutual support, sense of humour, times of prayer and sharing combined to make this a valuable part of the experience. Since returning I’ve realised that, while it is true that what team members have to offer is our ‘education’, the experience of being a team member is probably as much one of being a pilgrim as an educator. In this short time, we were welcomed to stand on the holy ground of African Christians’ experience and their knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. Their gentleness, gratitude, joy in the Lord, commitment and eagerness to learn spoke powerfully to us of our life in Christ as Jesus’ disciples. I’m interested in seeking deep rooted culture change towards missional church in the Diocese of Canterbury. Here is a church, recognisably Anglican, where the clergy and lay leaders we observed seemed to enjoy working together, the people seemed receptive to learning and to change, and the church is growing using a strategy of planting new congregations. It can happen!”

Let it be our prayer that it will!

To find out more about Rooted in Jesus visit www.rootedinjesus.net.
Rooted in Jesus is published and supported by The Mathetes Trust.

Posted 4th January 2019

by Alison Morgan

“Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

 

Chingoma Sony (29)

Fishermen with the morning catch on the shores of Lake Niassa

Rooted in Jesus was first introduced to the Diocese of Niassa in Mozambique back in 2006, just as the last landmines were being cleared from the country following many years of civil war. Over the next ten years the diocese experienced remarkable growth under the leadership of Bishop Mark and Helen Van Koevering, with numbers more than doubling, new clergy being trained, and numerous churches being planted. Key to the growth was a sustained and intentional focus on discipleship, helped by the early adoption of Rooted in Jesus: “Rooted in Jesus supports our diocesan vision to become a communion of communities in Jesus, ie small groups studying, discipling one another, church planting and rooting, growing in faith and changed lives together,” Helen wrote; “we are reading the Bible differently.”

This vision for growth continues under the leadership of Bishop Vicente Msosa, appointed two years ago to succeed Bishop Mark, and at just 37 the youngest bishop in the Anglican Communion. And just a few weeks ago the long-term plan to create a new missionary Diocese of Nampula out of the existing area of Niassa received formal approval, and Manuel Ernesto was appointed as its first bishop. We were delighted to be invited by Bishops Vicente and Manuel to return to Mozambique at this pivotal time to offer Rooted in Jesus training not only to a new generation of leaders but also to a new diocese; and so in November a multinational team from South Africa, the UK and Zambia led two four day training conferences, one in the dusty inland town of Nampula and the other on the shores of Lake Niassa at Messumba.

 

Building a strong foundation in Nampula

“We want to place the emphasis not on buildings or on structures but on people,” Bishop Manuel explained as he opened the first training conference for the world’s newest Anglican diocese. He had invited all the clergy to the conference, and each had brought with them one lay leader, either catechists or Mothers Union members. In addition to participating in the teaching and ministry sessions and engaging in lively discussion during the practical workshops, the 31 delegates committed themselves enthusiastically to the demonstration lessons (see below), and there was much singing and laughter. At the end all agreed that Rooted in Jesus was ideal for building a foundation of discipleship in the new diocese, and Fr Francisco Bulaque was appointed to oversee the programme, assisted by Fr Domingo Daglasse.

 

Strengthening diocesan links

After the Nampula conference was over, Bishop Vicente decided to take the team to visit the parish of Chingoma, many miles up a rough road towards the Tanzanian border on the shore of the lake. Mozambique is linked with the Diocese of London, and Chingoma with the parish of St Barnabas Northolt, represented by team member Fr Mund Cargill-Thompson. Gifts were exchanged, speeches made, and a new partnership cemented – long distance links are hugely helpful and important, and the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the two churches and their priests seemed too good to miss.

 

Growing disciples in Niassa

The second Rooted in Jesus conference was held in the cathedral in the village of Messumba, where no fewer than 220 people converged from all over the diocese. Some had travelled for several days to get there; all slept on the concrete floor; a rota of mothers produced a stream of tasty meals from a popup outdoor kitchen; and everybody went down to the lake once a day to wash. Team member Fr Kapomba Sekeleti encouraged everybody with stories from his home diocese of Eastern Zambia, leading his sessions in the local language of Nyanja; the rest of the team were double translated into not only Nyanja but also Yao, for the benefit of those attending from this mostly Muslim tribe. Rooted in Jesus is used both in Nyanja and Yao and in the national language of Portuguese, and the programme will be overseen by Fr Anold Gezani.

The numbers attending represented a huge investment in the future in this very poor diocese, for Bishop Vicente is not only young but also far-sighted. Although it was clear to the team that the people of the diocese had grown hugely in both numbers and spiritual maturity over the previous decade, he’s taking nothing for granted. “Secularism is coming,” he explained; “we need to make sure that everybody has an active relationship with Jesus.” And so as he handed out certificates and books to the 220 participants, he urged them to get going with their groups straight away. “You have come to this training,” he said. “Is it you who are going to do this work, or should we send someone else?”

 

Giving thanks

It’s always good to take a long view. Rooted in Jesus has been running now for 16 years, and this was a return visit to one of the first dioceses to adopt it. It was hugely encouraging to see how people had grown in confidence and understanding in the meantime. It was good to see the Lord at work, bringing healing and deliverance to people as the Holy Spirit came – people struggling with illness and affliction, discouragement and oppression but able to praise God together. It was a great opportunity for Bishop Martin and Colleen Breytenbach of the Diocese of St Mark in South Africa to visit this remote diocese in their own Province, to offer their support and encouragement in this place of new beginnings, and to share their own experience of Rooted in Jesus. And it was a wonderful experience for the team, who worked unstintingly for a fortnight but were showered with such generous and welcoming hospitality that we too felt uplifted and spiritually refreshed by our experiences.

Messumba Fuji (90)

 

A testimony from Francisco

“The day before yesterday we were put into that room for teaching. At the end of that teaching I was feeling nervous to tell them I would like them to pray for me, I thought I should let them rest. The problem was feeling headache and also dizziness and breathing. I could not walk in the sunshine. I was bold enough to ask for prayer. They prayed  for me. They said to ask Jesus for what you want him to give you. Then they prayed for me. I felt there was a difference in me. That mama told me I have to tell people, I have to testify. I am so thankful for what the Lord has done to me. I think the Lord has done a good thing for me. I was able to sing and lead choruses!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

We are immensely grateful to all those who helped in so many ways to make this mission possible.
If you would like to help people in rural Africa become rooted in Jesus please click here.
To find out more, or to get in touch with us, visit the Rooted in Jesus website.

Posted 20th November 2018 by Alison Morgan

“Much energy has been pumped into my spiritual life” – news from the Diocese of Butere

It’s just over a year now since Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Diocese of Butere, Kenya, and we were delighted to be invited to return to help facilitate a further two training conferences this year. Once again the conferences were packed out, with 225 leaders attending the first and 216 attending the second.

Butere 2018

Getting to grips with the material

 

Team leader Revd Ben Beecroft reports:

“The Diocese has for 2 years prior to introducing RinJ already taught on the importance of small groups and has up to 1,000 already attending small groups with leaders. Since RinJ was introduced the plan has been to transition these groups to become RinJ groups subject to training at a conference or through a 6 month group attendance.

“There were many testimonies of people coming to faith in Christ through the RinJ groups, returning to faith, deepening of prayer life, increased commitment to church, increased giving and behavioural change, which is all very encouraging. Clear commitment to the conferences was evident, full engagement with the sessions and a spiritual hunger to grow.

“Many were experienced in prayer & responded very well to opportunities to participate in many styles of prayer- individually sitting or standing, kneeling at the front, praying in 3’s, praying together and in silence, coming forwards for team members to pray for them. Healing ministry was modelled and healings were witnessed during the workshops in both weeks. I counted it a great privilege to lead the RinJ team and to minister to this Diocese. I felt we all gave of our best and were able to respond to the promptings of the Spirit as well as to deliver the course material. It was a precious time.”

Butere 2018

The team enjoy a day off

An insider’s view

Rooted in Jesus is overseen within the diocese by Revd Capt Benjamin Kibara, the Diocesan Executive Secretary for Mission & Ministry Training. There are now 271 established groups across the diocese, and a further 154 will start as a result of the recent conferences. Benjamin writes:

“The impact has already been felt in many ways. We have seen the Lord using the Rooted in Jesus groups to bring hope and transformation. This resource is indeed a gift from God. In the course of the year, many people came to know the Lord through the RinJ groups. Broken relationships in families were restored. There was increased commitment and engagement from RinJ members in church activities. Giving in churches has gone up tremendously in parishes that have engaged actively in the groups. Many gave testimonies of healing that occurred, especially during the conference prayer ministry time. I was encouraged by the way 110 high school boys have demonstrated maturity in schools due to their learning from RinJ groups.”

Benjamin Kibara (3b)

The two Bens

The proof of the pudding – Jesus changes lives

Many of those who have led Rooted in Jesus groups over the last year gave their testimonies to Benjamin at the conferences. Here’s what some of them said about their own lives:

I learned to lead and share God’s Word with my small group, something I had not done before.
I have known Christ deeper as I lead the group, especially through the memory verses
My life has changed by knowing who Jesus is and by being rooted in him
After the prayer lesson, I have seen God answering my prayers
I have been able to repent and experience God’s forgiveness
Much energy has been pumped into my spiritual life
My life has completely changed due to breakthrough in my prayer life
The group has made me strong spiritually and has empowered me to pass many temptations through prayer
I am now involved in the preaching program of my church
My husband has turned to Christ and is now a committed Christian

This what they said about their groups:

The fellowship, sharing and love among the group members has grown deeply
Group member’s lives have changed. They are humble, kind and loving to each other
My group members have been filled with the Holy Spirit
Some members were drunkards but now their lives have changed completely
The members have become more prayerful, not only in the group but also privately.
Members have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour
I have witnessed transformation especially with two men who were drug addicts and now they have surrendered their lives to Christ
Members are now committed to regularly coming to church

And about their churches:

The church has become very active with members who have a desire to pray, fellowship and study the Bible
There is peace and love in church due to the Rooted in Jesus groups
The number of people in church has increased
The giving in church has increased
There is demonstration of gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church
Lay readers that were lapsed have come back to church and are now actively engaged in service.

 

Not lost in translation

Rooted in Jesus is translated into the major local languages in each place, so that group members may develop their faith in their own mother tongue. In Butere Rooted in Jesus is used in Swahili, Luhya and English.

 

Looking ahead

The long term aims of Rooted in Jesus are:

1. Changed lives, changed churches, changed communities
2. Ordinary lay Christians equipped for ministry as disciples of Jesus
3. Key people raised and trained for future leadership within the Church
4. Political and social stability through the growth of informed and committed Christian
discipleship

Last year Bishop Timothy Wambunya observed that those attending the conferences “seem to have embraced or understood this Rooted in Jesus training, and they seem more determined to go forward and share it with other people, which we haven’t seen before in any of the other courses that we have done – and we have done many other courses! This Rooted in Jesus seems to be the one that has finally helped us turn that corner.” A year on, his assessment has proved correct. Due to the growth of the groups, the six archdeacons have been asked to act as coordinators for the programme in their areas, and Bishop Timothy and Benjamin hope to introduce Rooted in Jesus Junior to the diocese next year. They ask for our prayers.

 

How you can help

We are currently running a major appeal to help us continue to support Rooted in Jesus in places like Butere where it is already in use, and to enable us to introduce it to places where we have been invited to go for the first time. If you would like to help us do this please visit our Appeal page, or make a donation here:

button-5 (2)

 

dav

Rooted in Jesus is published and supported by The Mathetes Trust. To find out more visit our websites www.rootedinjesus.net and www.mathetestrust.org.

Posted by Alison Morgan 14th September 2018

 

 

 

Rooted in Jesus Autumn Appeal – Can you help?

Rooted in Jesus is published and supported by the Mathetes Trust, and is funded through the generosity of individuals and churches who support it prayerfully, financially and personally. On behalf of our brothers and sisters who rely on Rooted in Jesus as a primary tool of discipleship, we are launching an Autumn Appeal which will, we hope, enable us to continue to share the good news of Jesus Christ across the continent of Africa into 2019 and beyond.

Mphanga (30cr)

A Rooted in Jesus group in Zambia

Rooted in Jesus has been a great adventure. When we began in 2002 we never dreamed it would spread to 80 dioceses or networks, involve a hundred thousand people in groups, provide the first discipleship syllabus for children, be translated into 44 languages (and counting), overwhelm us with humbling testimonies of changed lives and growing churches, or be endorsed by the Anglican Communion – and yet all those things have happened.

In this work we rely on the support of individuals and churches in the developed world. Some pray, some go out on teams, some just show an interest. All of this is very important to us. But the immediate need we have is for finance. We realise that many of you will be hard pressed yourselves, but if not, please would you consider making a financial gift in order to open up real discipleship to some of the poorest people in the world?

We don’t go looking for work, but whenever a request comes from an African diocese, we send out a team to run a conference which trains clergy and lay leaders to establish small discipleship groups in their home communities. A typical conference trains up to 150 leaders and enables up to two thousand people to join a Rooted in Jesus group, thus bringing discipleship to many lives. For many of these leaders it’s the first formal training they have ever had.

It’s five years now since we had a major appeal for funding. Over those five years we have invested £90K directly into establishing Rooted in Jesus groups across sub-Saharan Africa. If we are to continue this work we will need to invest at a similar rate – probably more as the work expands. Our reserves are now very low, which is why we are launching this appeal – if we can’t support it, we can’t run it!

 

Emmanual group Zone two 0618b

Rooted in Jesus training, Zone 2 Refugee Camp, Uganda

What does it cost?

Rooted in Jesus is deliberately designed to be low cost. Team members from outside Africa raise their own travel costs. Conference delegates also cover their own travel. Wherever possible, host dioceses cover the cost of the conferences and arrange translation. But we provide the books free of charge, and we pay the travel costs of one or two experienced African team members from neighbouring countries. We also make grants to dioceses in particular need (eg following war, or famine). Each diocese is different, but none of them can get the programme off the ground without some investment from us.

Can you help? We have four conferences planned for the autumn and so far a further nine invitations for next year. Costs vary from diocese to diocese, but so far the average cost to us of running a conference has been about £3000. This is in addition to our fixed administrative costs of £10K per year. Typically £20 provides training and books for one participant. £100 enables translation into a new language. £600 pays for a conference print run of leaders’ booklets.

How you can help

If you would like to find out more about how to help, please take a look at our Support page. If you would like to invite your church to support Rooted in Jesus we’d be delighted to send flyers or provide a speaker. You can donate online using the purple button below, or by cheque, bank transfer or Standing Order, and we can claim additional Gift Aid if you are a taxpayer. If you’d like to read some testimonies you will find them on our website here.

CAF

  • Gift Aid form – download here
  • Standing order or bank transfer – download form here
  • Other ways you can help – visit our support page
  • Contact us here


Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28.19-20.

Thank you so much for your prayers, support and involvement in this ministry – without you it would not be possible.

Canon Roger Morgan, Revd Mike Cotterell,  Revd Andrew Evans
Trustees of The Mathetes Trust
September 2018

TMT logo 90kb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Natal 2018 copy

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.

Trevor Pearce 0718b

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.”

 

Free State faith in action 0818

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

Decade banner

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.

TMT logo 90kb

Posted by Alison Morgan 8th August 2018.