Just over 3 months ago Gill and I responded to a call from the leaders at Valley to come and help in a process of evaluation and direction in terms of the where the church was at. There was a serious struggle on a few fronts, not least in regard to attendance and finances. That process came to an end in mid August when the leadership said they were ready to make decisions for the way forward. Trevor (the existing team leader) and the elders wrote me a letter of invitation or call to become the new team leader, and Trevor would be re-positioned as the associate pastor with a focus on ministries going out from Valley, particularly Emthonjeni HIV/AIDS project south of Johannesburg (which needs more of his time because of its recent growth with orphaned and vulnerable children taking up residence in house built by Habitat for Humanity).
Gill and I feel right about this decision before God. I believe God wants me to give leadership to Valley Vineyard for the remaining season of my paid-ministry life. I am keenly aware that I am entering the last part of my full-time working life as a senior pastor of a church. I know that I am now entering the peak of my experience, gifting, calling and ministry, so I am taking this appointment very seriously under God, as his precious gift entrusted to me for the years ahead. This is going to be a joy to walk this journey with God and the followers of Jesus at Valley Vineyard. I am asking God for at least 15 to 20 years of productive leadership and ministry with health and strength in my body to do this work for God’s glory and honor. Gill is equally excited at this opportunity, to stand side by side with me and do this for Jesus.
Please pray for us, and pray for the church and its leaders, that God may indeed visit us with refreshing, restoration and renewal. I have been teaching on restoration and renewal from Isaiah: “Forget the former things, says Yahweh, See! I am doing a new thing!” And the new thing that God is doing, I believe, is to refocus us on being and becoming – as well as making – true daily disciples of Jesus.
Spiritual formation toward Christlikeness as followers of Jesus, and making such Christlike followers, is my life passion. I want to spend the rest of my life, by God’s good grace, to be and become an ever more faithful follower of Jesus toward Christlikeness, and to pour myself into making such followers of Jesus that “Christ may be formed in them”, as Paul says. It’s all about following Lord Jesus.
So please pray for us with the many challenges that remain at our church – not least the finances – but the way forward is abundantly clear in my mind: “to present everyone mature in Christ, and to this end I labor, struggling with all his energy which so powerfully works in me” (as Paul once again says). And I sense God’s energy working… Thanks and God bless you all as you pray with us and for us!