AFM CIRCULARS – JUNE & JULY 2020

DATED: 24 June, 2020

Circular to Pastors 24 June 2020

Addendum A: Promulgated Amendments Appendix 11 Administration of Justice

Addendum B: Approved Assembly Leader Policy

Addendum C: Approved Amended Policy of the National Children’s Ministry

Addendum D: Approved Amended Constitution of the Executive Welfare Council 

Addendum E: GBM & National Conference Programme 2020

Addendum F: GBM Registration Form 2020

Electronic Link to GBM Registration Form:

https://afm.easychurch.co.za/?page_id=413

Addendum G: Minutes of the 2018 GBM

Addendum H: Accommodation List

DATED: 7 July, 2020

Circular to Pastors & Regions 7 July 2020

Letter from TEASA

Teasa Disciple-Making Survey

Electronic Link to SURVEY:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K27L3WN

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

 Confront and Stop abuse
 Stop street harassment
 Tackle violence of girls in schools
 Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women

Ashley Theron (Acting CEO of AFM Welfare)

[email protected]

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men (3 July 2020)

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

 Confront and Stop abuse.
 Stop street harassment.
 Tackle violence of girls in schools.
 Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women.

Ashley Theron (Acting CEO of AFM Welfare)

[email protected]

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men (3 July 2020)

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

Confront and Stop abuse
Stop street harassment
Tackle violence of girls in schools
Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men (3 July 2020)

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

Confront and Stop abuse
Stop street harassment
Tackle violence of girls in schools
Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Opportunities in a Time of Crisis (30 June 2020)

The Bible teaches us that it does not help much if we are weak in time of crisis. In fact, Solomon says that to act with weakness in a crisis is a sign of having very little strength indeed. A crisis is identifiable by some or all of the following components – threat, surprise, urgency and uncertainty. The pandemic brought on us by the novel coronavirus and the disease called Covid-19 can indeed be described as a crisis of catastrophic proportions containing all the above components. It not only challenged the way of life as we knew it, but also our ability to see opportunities in a time of crisis.

Life as we knew it

At the outset it must be said that the church is a place where we find comfort in the presence of the Lord and the believers, the place where our weary souls are restored, our hopes renewed and where we are reminded of 1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”.

We believers are encouraged in the book of Hebrews not to neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but are supposed to encourage one another to meet regularly in the house of the Lord, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near! Going to Church on Sundays and even in the week, have been viewed by believers as their Christian duty. The fellowship and gathering of the saints are no small matter to God’s children and many of us have become used to and comfortable with the way the church functions. In doing so we limited God to fit into our existing paradigms.

Locked down and locked out

When the South African nation went into total lockdown at midnight on 26 March 2020, no one could remain in any zone of life as we knew it. Everyone was unceremoniously evicted from what we were used to and almost overnight the entire world became a strange place. There came an abrupt end to all the things we took for granted. Going to the gym, the hairdresser, and the mall. Popping out for a takeaway meal or going to sit down at your favourite restaurant. Visiting friends and family, attending parties and funerals, even going to church, no more life as we knew it.

 The impact on the church

The impact on the local church was felt in a number of ways. As already mentioned, there was the loss of communal worship and fellowship. There was the challenge of adapting to new and strange ways of “doing church”. Not everybody warmed up to receiving sermons via WhatsApp and the other social networks. Besides, not everybody could afford the cost of airtime and data. No more opportunity to take the Lord’s tithe to His own storehouse on Sundays. And how many would take the trouble to tithe in “strange new ways?”. The result – the income of the church was also impacted negatively.

A biblical lesson

There is a story in the book of Jeremiah 29:4-7 about those who were carried into Babylonian exile. The exiles in Babylon were also overcome by all the elements of a crisis. They also hoped and prayed that the crisis would be over soon. That they will return home quickly. But God advised them differently. Take the longer view, they were told – “Work towards the peace and prosperity of the city where you are”. God gave them instructions to plant their own gardens and live from the produce thereof. To look to the future. The efforts of the present always have an impact on the future. Doing nothing is not an option. But what can be done? How can we built today to secure a sustainable future?

Community involvement and socio-economic opportunities 

Pastors and congregations could consider broadening their impact on their surrounding communities by starting socio-economic programs that could create income generating and/or job creation opportunities. Such programs could include Child and Youth Care Centers and Foster Homes, drop-in centers for children, care and support of older persons in institutions and communities, care and support of persons with disabilities, gender-based violence/domestic violence support services and shelters, early childhood development centers, literacy programs, substance abuse institutions and community based programs, poverty alleviation and job creation.

To assist AFM Assemblies the AFM Welfare has extensive experience and tools to provide technical support with the initiating, developing, and providing of programs and projects (especially where funding is required from the Department of Social Development and other sources). The assistance would include guidance on the policy and legal framework, understanding the requirements and the registration process related to both as an NPO (Non-Profit Organization) and as a designated service. Consideration should also be given to partnering with existing NPO’s.

Conclusion

When Moses stood in front of the Red Sea and the armies of Egypt was behind him, the Lord asked him “What do you have in your hand”. I pray that God will provide creative insight and wisdom on how to apply what He has placed in our hands, to meet the demands we face today and in the future.

Past. B. Petersen (General Treasurer of the AFM of SA)

[email protected]

 

PASTORAL LETTER 2ND QUARTER

Download the PDF version here:

AFM Newsltr 2ND Qrt 2020 ENG web

AFM Colleague, 

We are going through a pandemic crisis which has and continues to disrupt our social, economic and our church life in an unprecedented way. Covid-19 is characterized as a novel crisis because it is indeed a ‘game changer’ which poses a global threat to all sectors of society.

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES IN A CRISIS
Past. M.G. Mahlobo (President of the AFM of SA) – [email protected]

Crises are, generally, grouped into two categories, namely the routine and the novel crisis. In routine crises organizations have the ability to put in place plans on how to deal with these, because the risks are known. On the other hand, novel crises are characterized by high level of risks and uncertainties. Plans and processes that may work in a routine crisis are, in most cases, found to be inadequate and sometimes counterproductive.

“…leaders need to grasp and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic while keeping up hope in their members.”

During times of crises people look up to their leaders for guidance.  As we are going through the current Covid-19 pandemic, church members are looking up to their leaders at local, regional, and national levels. For this reason, leaders need to grasp and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic while keeping up hope in their members. They must also ensure that the decisions taken are prudent.

In this article I would like to highlight some of the leadership qualities we need when we go through crisis moments, such as the current one.

Leadership Agility

The coronavirus pandemic requires leaders that can move with speed without losing their values. They need the ability to process information quickly and promptly decide on the appropriate course of action. This is what the leadership of the AFM did after the declaration of the State of National Disaster and the subsequent National Lockdown. We issued communication on 17 March 2020 to all AFM structures on what they needed to do. Most of the contents of this communication became irrelevant when the national lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020. On 24 March 2020 we updated our 17 March 2020 Covid-19 communication.

“How we behave, in front of those we lead, is important.”

Leadership Calmness

In times of crises like coronavirus we need to stay calm, rational, and focused. Many people lose their cool and begin to panic in a time of crisis. This is understandable. However, it is expected that leaders should adopt a posture of calmness. In this way we will be able to reflect and apply our minds towards positive action. How we behave, in front of those we lead, is important. We should count ourselves fortunate in that we are not lacking information about Covid-19. When a decision has been taken on a particular action it must be communicated with clarity.

Leadership Adaptability

By June last year none of us were talking about social distancing, regular washing of hands, sanitizers, and face masks as we do today. One of the lessons learned from the coronavirus is that leaders must be able to embrace necessary behavioral change to avoid a worst-case scenario. Some of the decisions that we took related to adapting or halting some of our liturgical practices such as laying on of hands on the sick and during the dedication of children, the Lord’s Communion, and water baptism. Any behavior that would enhance the risk of infection had to be changed or stopped. Behavioral change is not easy because it requires a mindset change. In isiXhosa we say: “Isiqhelo soyisa ingqondo” which can roughly be translated as “the habit conquers the mind”. Bold decisions must be taken when it comes to changing human behavior.

During Level 5 of the lockdown many pastors resorted to social network platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype and Zoom. These platforms became useful tools for communication and ministry. I have never been to so many virtual meetings and conferences before as I have been during the national lockdown period.

Leadership Empathy

Covid-19 has become a threat to our survival. Some of the questions in the minds of many people are: “Will I be infected? Will I lose my job? What is going to happen to my family?” On the other hand, there are many who have already lost their jobs and many who have lost their loved ones due to the pandemic. Walking alongside people (who are impacted negatively by the virus) with empathy, may make a positive difference in their lives.

OPPORTUNITIES IN A TIME OF CRISIS

Past. B. Petersen (General Treasurer of the AFM of SA) – [email protected] 

The Bible teaches us that it does not help much if we are weak in time of crisis. In fact, Solomon says that to act with weakness in a crisis is a sign of having very little strength indeed. A crisis is identifiable by some or all of the following components – threat, surprise, urgency and uncertainty. The pandemic brought on us by the novel coronavirus and the disease called Covid-19 can indeed be described as a crisis of catastrophic proportions containing all the above components. It not only challenged the way of life as we knew it, but also our ability to see opportunities in a time of crisis.

Life as we knew it 

At the outset it must be said that the church is a place where we find comfort in the presence of the Lord and the believers, the place where our weary souls are restored, our hopes renewed and where we are reminded of 1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”.

We believers are encouraged in the book of Hebrews not to neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but are supposed to encourage one another to meet regularly in the house of the Lord, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near! Going to Church on Sundays and even in the week, have been viewed by believers as their Christian duty. The fellowship and gathering of the saints are no small matter to God’s children and many of us have become used to and comfortable with the way the church functions. In doing so we limited God to fit into our existing paradigms.

Locked down and locked out

When the South African nation went into total lockdown at midnight on 26 March 2020, no one could remain in any zone of life as we knew it. Everyone was unceremoniously evicted from what we were used to and almost overnight the entire world became a strange place. There came an abrupt end to all the things we took for granted. Going to the gym, the hairdresser, and the mall. Popping out for a takeaway meal or going to sit down at your favourite restaurant. Visiting friends and family, attending parties and funerals, even going to church, no more life as we knew it.

The impact on the church

The impact on the local church was felt in a number of ways. As already mentioned, there was the loss of communal worship and fellowship. There was the challenge of adapting to new and strange ways of “doing church”. Not everybody warmed up to receiving sermons via WhatsApp and the other social networks. Besides, not everybody could afford the cost of airtime and data. No more opportunity to take the Lord’s tithe to His own storehouse on Sundays. And how many would take the trouble to tithe in “strange new ways?”. The result – the income of the church was also impacted negatively.

A biblical lesson 

There is a story in the book of Jeremiah 29:4-7 about those who were carried into Babylonian exile. The exiles in Babylon were also overcome by all the elements of a crisis. They also hoped and prayed that the crisis would be over soon. That they will return home quickly. But God advised them differently. Take the longer view, they were told – “Work towards the peace and prosperity of the city where you are”. God gave them instructions to plant their own gardens and live from the produce thereof. To look to the future. The efforts of the present always have an impact on the future. Doing nothing is not an option. But what can be done? How can we built today to secure a sustainable future?

“The efforts of the present always have an impact on the future.”

Community involvement and socio-economic opportunities  

Pastors and congregations could consider broadening their impact on their surrounding communities by starting socio-economic programs that could create income generating and/or job creation opportunities. Such programs could include Child and Youth Care Centers and Foster Homes, drop-in centers for children, care and support of older persons in institutions and communities, care and support of persons with disabilities, gender-based violence/domestic violence support services and shelters, early childhood development centers, literacy programs, substance abuse institutions and community based programs, poverty alleviation and job creation.

To assist AFM Assemblies the AFM Welfare has extensive experience and tools to provide technical support with the initiating, developing, and providing of programs and projects (especially where funding is required from the Department of Social Development and other sources). The assistance would include guidance on the policy and legal framework, understanding the requirements and the registration process related to both as an NPO (Non-Profit Organization) and as a designated service. Consideration should also be given to partnering with existing NPO’s.

“I pray that God will provide creative insight and wisdom on how to apply what He has placed in our hands, to meet the demands we face today and in the future. “

Conclusion

When Moses stood in front of the Red Sea and the armies of Egypt was behind him, the Lord asked him “What do you have in your hand”. I pray that God will provide creative insight and wisdom on how to apply what He has placed in our hands, to meet the demands we face today and in the future.

THE CHURCH OF THE FUTURE
Dr. H.J. Weideman (General Secretary of the AFM of SA) – [email protected]  

As church buildings and in-person meetings start to re-open, it becomes increasingly apparent that we are entering a new reality and that there are many things in our everyday lives that are changing, and most probably would never be the same again. This includes the way we think about and have church in the future. Observing the realities in our church country wide, reading what others around the world are saying and after thinking and praying about this, I have a few remarks.

“It is necessary to press the reset button on many aspects of being and having church.”

It is necessary to press the reset button on many aspects of being and having church. Many assemblies were not able to meet at all during this time. For some, having the church building closed caused the assembly to practically stop functioning. Members did not receive any Spiritual input, and some had no contact with their Pastor or spiritual leaders at all. For many of these assemblies their only source of income was through the offerings that their members physically brought to the meetings and because of the lockdown that stopped.

Although in-person services were closed, some were able to meet online, making use of sermons and songs recorded in the homes of pastors and singers. Some assemblies also used platforms such as Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp to be in touch with and communicate to their members.

Most Pastors and many members are eager to restart their normal way of having church, but there are a few things we need to think about and a few questions we need to answer for ourselves considering the future:

What are the important elements of in-person meetings?

During the first few weeks of the lockdown, assemblies facilitating online church services experienced an increase in attendance. Some reached more people in comparison to the number of people usually attending their in-person services. After about eight weeks many of these churches reported a plateau or even a decline in online attendance.

This corresponds with surveys in the USA where almost half of all churchgoers, after two months of lockdown, did not attend any online church.  Digital presence for the church is here to stay, but many people want to go back to an in-person experience in a place of worship and we need to ask ourselves why?  What do people get out of an in-person service that they cannot get online? We need to identify those elements and make sure that we strengthen them. In my opinion some of those elements are corporate singing, worshiping and praying together, as well as spending time in fellowship before or after services.

How can people be reached and ministered to, outside of in-person meetings? 

Crossing the digital divide:
Many assemblies will have to cross the bridge to digital technology, social media and online presence, to effectively reach their members and to sustainably grow their congregations in the future. The church will prevail, but not every assembly will prevail. I do not fully agree with the notion that churches will become digital organisations with physical expressions. However, I am convinced that pastors and assemblies should take cognisance of and utilise the massive opportunity that digital presence presents to the church – to reach people everywhere. Social media and online platforms create the opportunity to show up in the lives of people every day, not just on Sundays. This opportunity will continue to grow and should become a way of entering the church and not a last refuge for people leaving the church, as it was in the recent past.

Social media and online platforms create the opportunity to show up in the lives of people every day, not just on Sundays.”

The future church that really cares about people, especially young people, will care about a digital presence. It is important to know that you do not have to be a big church or have a big budget to have an impact online. You only need to be willing to embrace technology and experiment with the available options.

On demand availability: For those assemblies who already developed a digital presence before or during the lockdown, an important opportunity will be to continue and enhance this service. Many churches presented their Sunday service and mid-week meetings as live events, assuming that people who want to access it, will do so exactly when it happens.

The most successful digital platforms around are providing their product “on demand” and churches can learn from this. Consider making every in-person Sunday service available in a way that can be accessed by members and “visitors” when it suits them.  Furthermore, many pastors and assemblies have years of sermons, sermon series and teachings on MP4 or YouTube videos and should consider making those available on demand.

Home based spiritual formation: It is exciting to see that some assemblies are beginning to focus on everyday ministry, and not just on Sunday ministry. Building on the “on demand” availability of sermons, teachings and Bible studies, other services such as new member orientation, spiritual growth- and marriage enrichment courses can be made fully or partially available online.

This can enable individuals to access the material in their own time at home, and only attend the final session/s in-person at the church facility. It will also go a long way in assisting people to assume responsibility for their own spiritual growth, personal discipleship and evangelism.

What are the key elements and principles of being church?

Over the last few decades churches have become institutions with entrenched cultures and fixed ways of doing things. Many assemblies have developed an array of departments, ministries and fields of interest. Some have diversified to such an extent, that it is sometimes difficult to readily point out what their core business actually is.

The pandemic has brought us the opportunity, maybe even the necessity to go back to zero-based thinking: Imagining ourselves and our assemblies back at the point before any particular decisions on ministries, departments, assembly culture and -operations were made and to now, in the light of the current circumstances and information available to us, make them again freely.

Being church is about more than what happens within the four walls of church buildings. Homes, neighborhoods and communities are part of our ministry field.”

Being church is about more than what happens within the four walls of church buildings. Homes, neighborhoods and communities are part of our ministry field. One important observation in this regard is to ensure that whilst methods and models will have to change, the mission of an assembly never does.

On what should assemblies really be spending money?

Literally overnight the way meetings are conducted became virtual. Indications are that this will become part of the “new normal” and that many staff meetings and even Governing Body meetings of structures on assembly, regional and national level can be done in this way in the future. This can lead to substantial budgetary savings, while assemblies should consider repurposing some of their budget on equipping themselves better for digital engagement and -ministry.

Another implication of this is that staff members who have the means, can work virtually. It is a trend that will probably continue in many companies and that assemblies and church staff members can also benefit from.  The key issues will be productivity and their availability to give full attention to and focus on their job, even when working from home.

Considering wat is really key to being church and what can be considered “nice to haves” is probably one of the important exercises that assemblies will have to do, especially in light of the income of most assemblies being under pressure.

Sources: “Disruptive church trends every church leader should watch.”  – Carey Nieuwhof & “How COVID-19 Is Shaping the Future of the Church.” – Carey Nieuwhof & “Moving Forward: Future Church Trends.” -Anthony Hilder & “Five early findings from churches that are regathering.” -Thom Rainer.

CONCLUSION

As we are passing through different stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to be aware that the re-opening of church buildings and in-person meetings will most probably not have people flocking to the church, at least not yet. Surveys around the world shows that people have different opinions about when they would feel “safe’’ to gather again. It seems that around 30% of respondents will only return when they can be mask-free at church and 15% said they would only return when there is evidence of low cases, businesses are open, restrictions are lifted, and a vaccine is available. Around 8% said that the opening of restaurants for sit-down customers will be a guideline for them.

As church leaders we should not allow these indications to be emotional let-downs and we should not treat people who are cautious to attend, as though they are not people of faith. One thing is sure: We are entering a new reality and many people, even some leaders, are struggling more deeply than we realise, with the absence of what most people perceived as “normal”.

We need to talk about these things to our family, friends and colleagues.  We need to pray and think about it and prepare ourselves for a longer period of disruption than we thought.

Past. M.G. Mahlobo

PASTORALE BRIEF 2DE KWARTAAL

Laai die PDF weergawe hier af:

AFM Newsltr 2ND Qrt 2020 AFR web

Geagte Kollega, 

Ons gaan deur ‘n pandemiese krisis wat aanhou om ons lewens op ‘n ongekende manier te ontwrig op ‘n sosiale, ekonomiese en op kerklike vlak. Covid-19 word gekenmerk as ‘n nuwe krisis wat inderdaad alles verander en wat ‘n wêreldwye bedreiging vir alle sektore van die samelewing inhou.

LEIERSKAP KWALITEITE IN ‘N KRISIS
Past. M.G. Mahlobo (President van die AGS van SA) – [email protected]

Oor die algemeen word krisisse in twee kategorieë ingedeel, naamlik ‘n “roetine” en ‘n “nuwe” krisis. In die geval van ‘n “roetine” krisis het organisasies die vermoë om planne in plek te stel vir die hantering daarvan omdat die risiko bekend is. Aan die ander kant word ‘n “nuwe” krisis gekenmerk deur ‘n hoë vlak van risiko en onsekerheid.  Planne en prosesse wat effektief is in ‘n “roetine” krisis is in meeste gevalle onvoldoende en kan selfs teenproduktief wees in ‘n “nuwe” krisis.

In krisistye kyk mense op na hul leiers vir leiding om die impak van die krisis wat hul in die gesig staar, te verminder. Soos ons deur die huidige Covid-19 pandemie gaan, kyk gemeentelede op na hul leiers op plaaslike, streeks en nasionale vlak. Vir hierdie rede moet leiers die impak van die koronavirus pandemie begryp en aanspreek en terselfde tyd hul lidmate vol hoop hou. Hulle moet ook verseker dat die besluite wat geneem word verstandig is.

“Vir hierdie rede moet leiers die impak van die koronavirus pandemie begryp en aanspreek en terselfde tyd hul lidmate vol hoop hou.”

In hierdie artikel wil ek enkele van die leierseienskappe wat ons benodig wanneer ons deur krisistye gaan, soos die huidige een, benadruk.

Leierskap Behendigheid (“Agility”)

Koronavirus benodig leiers wat vinnig kan beweeg, sonder om hul waardes te verloor. Ons het onder andere die vermoë nodig om inligting vinnig te verwerk en onmiddellik te besluit oor die toepaslike plan van aksie. Dit is wat die leierskap van die AGS gedoen het na afloop van die afkondiging van ‘n ramptoestand en die daaropvolgende nasionale inperking. Ons het op 17 Maart 2020 kommunikasie uitgereik aan alle AGS-strukture oor wat hulle moes doen. Meeste van die inhoud van hierdie kommunikasie het onbelangrik geraak na die afkondiging van ‘n ramptoestand op 23 Maart 2020. Op 24 Maart 2020 het ons die kommunikasie van 17 Maart 2020 opgedateer.

“Hoe ons optree voor die wat ons lei is belangrik.”

Leierskap Kalmte

In krisisse soos die koronavirus moet ons kalm, rasioneel en gefokus bly. Baie mense verloor hul kalmte en begin paniekerig raak in ‘n krisistyd. Dit is te verstane. Daar word egter verwag dat leiers ‘n houding van kalmte moet aanneem. Op hierdie manier kan ons reflekteer en ons gedagtes toepas op positiewe aksies. Hoe ons optree voor die wat ons lei is belangrik. Ons moet ons self gelukkig ag omdat daar nie ‘n tekort aan inligting oor Covid-19 is nie. Wanneer ‘n besluit oor ‘n bepaalde aksie geneem word moet dit duidelik gekommunikeer word.

Leierskap Aanpasbaarheid

Teen Junie verlede jaar het niemand van ons gepraat oor sosiale afstand, gereelde was van hande, saniteerders en gesigmaskers soos ons vandag doen nie. Een van die lesse wat ons kan leer uit die koronavirus is dat leiers die nodige gedragsverandering moet aangryp om ‘n slegte situasie te vermy. Sommige van die besluite wat ons geneem het hou verband met die aanpassing of staking van sommige van ons liturgiese praktyke soos die opleg van hande op siekes en tydens die toewyding van kinders, die gebruik van nagmaal en die waterdoop. Enige gedrag wat die risiko van infeksie sou verhoog moes verander of gestaak word. Gedragsverandering is nie maklik nie, want dit verg ‘n verandering in ons denke. In isiXhosa sê ons: “Isiqhelo soyisa ingqondo” wat rofweg vertaal kan word as “die gewoonte verower die gees”. Standvastige besluite moet geneem word as dit kom by die verandering van menslike gedrag.

Tydens Vlak 5 inperkings het baie pastore sosiale netwerkplatforms soos WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype en Zoom gebruik vir kommunikasie en bediening. Ek was nog nooit deel van soveel virtuele vergaderings en konferensies soos tydens die nasionale inperking nie.

Leierskap Empatie 

Covid-19 het ‘n bedreiging vir ons oorlewing geword. Sommige van die vrae wat dwaal in baie mense se gedagtes is:  Sal ek die infeksie kry? Sal ek my werk verloor? Wat gaan met my gesin gebeur?  Aan die ander kant is daar baie mense wat alreeds hul werk verloor het en baie wat geliefdes moes afstaan aan die pandemie. Om met empatie langs die mense te loop wat negatief deur die virus beïnvloed is kan ‘n positiewe verskil in hul lewens maak.

GELEENTHEDE IN ‘N KRISIS

Past. B. Petersen (Algemene Tesourier van die AGS van SA) – [email protected] 

Die Bybel leer ons dat dit nie veel help as ons swak is in ‘n krisistyd nie. Trouens, Salomo het gesê dat om op te tree met swakheid in ‘n krisis ‘n teken is van baie min krag. ‘n Krisis kan deur sommige of al die volgende komponente geïdentifiseer word – bedreiging, verrassing, dringendheid en onsekerheid. Die pandemie wat op ons gebring is deur die nuwe koronavirus en die siekte genaamd Covid-19 kan inderdaad beskryf word as ‘n krisis van katastrofiese proporsies wat al die bogenoemde komponente bevat. Dit het nie net die manier waarop ons die lewe ken uitgedaag nie, maar ook ons vermoë om geleenthede in ‘n krisistyd te sien.

Die lewe soos ons dit geken het

Aanvanklik moet gesê word dat die kerk ‘n plek is waar ons vertroosting vind in die teenwoordigheid van die Here en gelowiges.  Die plek waar ons vermoeide siele herstel word, ons hoop hernu word en waar ons herinner word aan 1 Petrus 1:7 “…sodat die egtheid van julle geloof getoets kan word. Julle geloof is baie meer kosbaar as goud, goud wat vergaan. Selfs die suiwerheid van goud word met vuur getoets, en die egtheid van julle geloof moet ook getoets word, sodat dit lof en heerlikheid en eerwaardig mag wees by die wederkoms van Jesus Christus.”

In Hebreërs word die gelowiges aangemoedig om hul byeenkomste nie te verwaarloos nie, maar is veronderstel om mekaar aan te moedig om gereeld in die huis van die Here te vergader, veral met die dag van sy wederkoms wat nader kom! Dus om Sondae, en selfs in die week kerk toe te gaan, is deur gelowiges gesien as hul Christelike plig. Die gemeenskap en die byeenkoms van die heiliges is nie ‘n geringe saak vir God se kinders nie en baie van ons het gewoond geraak en gemaklik geraak met die werking van die kerk. Sodoende het ons God beperk tot ons bestaande paradigmas.

Ingeperk en uitgesluit

Toe die Suid-Afrikaanse nasie om middernag op 26 Maart 2020 in totale inperking gegaan het, kon niemand in enige lewenssone bly soos ons dit ken nie. Almal is onbewustelik vervreemd van dit waaraan hul gewoond was en byna oornag het die hele wêreld ‘n vreemde plek geword. Daar was ‘n skielike einde aan al die dinge wat ons as vanselfsprekend aanvaar het. ‘n Besoek aan die gimnasium, die haarkapper en ‘n winkelsentrum. Bestelling van ‘n wegneemete of gaan sit by jou gunsteling restaurant. ‘n Besoek aan vriende en familie, bywoon van partytjies en begrafnisse, selfs kerk toe gaan – geen meer lewe soos ons dit geken het nie.

Die impak op die kerk

Die impak op plaaslike kerke is op verskillende maniere gevoel. Soos reeds genoem was daar die verlies aan gemeenskaplike aanbidding en samesyn. Die uitdaging was daar om aan te pas deur nuwe en vreemde maniere te gebruik om kerkdienste te hou. Nie almal was opgewonde daaroor om preke via WhatsApp en die ander sosiale netwerke te ontvang nie. Buitendien kan almal ook nie lugtyd en data bekostig nie. Daar is ook nie die geleendheid op Sondae om tiendes te bring na die stoorkamers van die Here nie. En hoeveel mense sal die moeite doen om tiendes op vreemde en nuwe maniere te gee? Die resultaat – die inkomste van die kerk is ook negatief beïnvloed.

“Die pogings van die hede het altyd ‘n impak op die toekoms.”

‘n Bybelse les

Daar is ‘n verhaal in Jeremia 29:4-7 oor diegene wat in Babilloniese ballingskap weggevoer is. Die mense wat in ballingskap in Babillon was is ook deur al die elemente van ‘n krisis oorkom. Hulle het ook gehoop en gebid dat die krisis binnekort verby sou wees. Dat hulle vinnig sal kan terugkeer huis toe. Maar God het hulle anders geadviseer. Neem die langer siening, is aan hulle gesê: “Bevorder die belange van die stad waarheen Ek julle in ballingskap weggevoer het, bid tot My vir daardie stad, want sy belange is ook julle belange”. God het aan hulle opdrag gegee om hul eie tuine te plant en van die opbrengs daarvan te leef. Om na die toekoms te kyk. Die pogings van die hede het altyd ‘n impak op die toekoms. Om niks te doen nie is nie ‘n opsie nie. Maar wat kan gedoen word? Hoe kan ons vandag bou om ‘n volhoubare toekoms te verseker?

Gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid en sosio-ekonomiese geleenthede

Pastore en gemeentes kan dit oorweeg om hul impak op hul omliggende gemeenskappe te verbreed deur sosio-ekonomiese programme in plek te stel wat inkomstepotensiaal en/of werkskeppingsgeleenthede kan voortbring. Sulke programme kan die volgende insluit:

  • Kinder- en jeugsorgsentrums en pleeghuise.
  • Inloop sentrums vir kinders.
  • Versorging en ondersteuning van bejaardes by instellings en gemeenskappe.
  • Versorging en ondersteuning van persone met gestremdhede, geslagsgebaseerde geweld, huishoudelike geweld, ondersteuningsdienste en skuilings.
  • Ontwikkelingsentrums vir vroeë kinderontwikkeling.
  • Geletterdheidsprogramme.
  • Dwelm rehabilitasiesentrums en gemeenskapsgebaseerde programme.
  • Verligting van armoede en werkskepping.

Om AGS Gemeentes te help, het die AFM Welfare uitgebreide ervaring en materiaal om tegniese ondersteuning te bied met die instelling, ontwikkeling en verskaffing van programme en projekte (veral waar befondsing benodig word deur die Departement van Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling en ander bronne). Die hulp sluit leiding in oor die beleid en wetlike raamwerk, begrip van die vereistes en die registrasie proses wat verband hou met ‘n NPO (nie-winsgewende organisasie), sowel as ‘n aangewese diens. Daar moet ook gekyk word na die samewerking met bestaande NPO’s.

Ek bid dat God kreatiewe insig en wysheid sal gee..”

Toe Moses voor die Rooi See gaan staan en die leërs van Egipte agter hom was, vra die Here vir hom: “Wat het jy daar in jou hand?” Ek bid dat God kreatiewe insig en wysheid sal gee oor hoe om dit wat Hy in ons hande geplaas het toe te pas om te voldoen aan die vereistes wat ons vandag en in die toekoms in die gesig staar.

DIE KERK VAN DIE TOEKOMS
Dr. H.J. Weideman (Algemene Sekretaris van die AGS van SA) – [email protected]  

Soos wat kerkgeboue en in-persoon byeenkomste begin oopmaak, word dit al hoe duideliker dat ons ‘n nuwe realiteit betree en dat baie aspekte van ons alledaagse lewe verander en waarskynlik nooit weer dieselfde sal wees nie. Dit sluit in die manier hoe ons oor kerk dink en in die toekoms sal kerk hou. Nadat ek die realiteite in ons gemeentes landswyd dopgehou het, opgelees het oor wat ander in die wêreld daaroor sê en daaroor gedink en gebid het, het ek enkele opmerkings om te maak.

Dit is nodig dat ons t.o.v. verskeie aspekte van kerkwees en kerkhou die “reset” knoppie sal druk.”

Dit is nodig dat ons t.o.v. verskeie aspekte van kerkwees en kerkhou die “reset” knoppie sal druk. Baie gemeentes kon glad nie gedurende die inperkingstyd kerk hou nie. Vir party het die feit dat kerkgeboue gesluit was, beteken dat die gemeente vir alle praktiese redes opgehou het om te funksioneer. Lidmate het geen geestelike insette ontvang nie en baie het geen kontak met hulle pastoor of geestelike leiers gehad nie. Sommige van hierdie gemeentes se enigste bron van inkomste was deur middel van die offerhandes wat lidmate fisies na byeenkomste bring en a.g.v. die inperking het dit gestop.

Alhoewel in-persoon byeenkomste gesluit is, kon sommige gemeentes aanlyn dienste hou en gebruik maak van preke en liedjies wat in die huise van pastore en sangers opgeneem is. Party gemeentes het ook platforms soos Zoom, Facebook en WhatsApp gebruik om kontak te maak en te kommunikeer met hul lidmate.

Meeste pastore en baie lidmate is gretig om hulle normale manier van kerkhou te hervat. Daar is egter ‘n paar aspekte waaroor ons moet dink en vrae t.o.v. die toekoms wat ons moet beantwoord.

Wat is die belangrikste elemente van in-persoon byeenkomste? 

Gedurende die eerste paar weke van inperking het baie gemeentes wat aanlyn kerkdienste aangebied het, ‘n toename in bywoning ervaar. Sommige het meer mense bereik as wat hulle gewoonlik met hulle in-persoon dienste doen. Na omtrent agt weke het baie van hierdie gemeentes ‘n plato of selfs ‘n afname in bywoning beleef.

Digitale teenwoordigheid vir die kerk is hier om te bly, maar baie mense verlang na ‘n in-persoon belewenis in ‘n plek van aanbidding en ons moet vra, hoekom?”

Dit stem ooreen met opnames in die VSA waar byna helfte van kerkgangers na sowat twee maande van inperking  geen aanlyn byeenkomste meer bygewoon het nie. Digitale teenwoordigheid vir die kerk is hier om te bly, maar baie mense verlang na ‘n in-persoon belewenis in ‘n plek van aanbidding en ons moet vra, hoekom? Wat kry mense uit ‘n in-persoon byeenkoms wat hulle nie aanlyn kry nie?  Ons moet daardie elemente identifiseer en seker maak dat ons hulle versterk. Na my mening is sommige hiervan die gesamentlike sang, aanbidding en korporatiewe gebed, sowel as sosiale “kuiertyd” voor en na dienste.

Hoe kan mense bereik en bedien word buite in-persoon byeenkomste? 

Oorbrug die digitale skeidslyn:

Baie gemeentes sal die brug moet oorsteek na digitale tegnologie, sosiale media en aanlyn teenwoordigheid om effektief uit te reik na hulle lidmate en om volhoubaar te groei in die toekoms. Die Kerk sal voortbestaan, maar ongelukkig sal alle gemeentes nie voortbestaan nie. Ek stem nie heeltemal saam met die mening dat kerke in die toekoms digitale organisasies sal wees met fisiese uitdrukkings nie. Ek is egter oortuig dat pastore en gemeentes kennis moet neem van die geweldige geleentheid wat digitale teenwoordigheid aan die kerk bied om mense oral te bereik. Sosiale media en aanlyn platforms skep die geleentheid om daagliks teenwoordig te wees in die lewens van mense en nie net op Sondae nie. Hierdie geleentheid sal aanhou groei en behoort ‘n manier te word waarop mense in die kerk kan inkom. Dit moet nie net ‘n laaste uitweg wees vir mense wat die kerk verlaat het, soos wat dit in die onlangse verlede was nie.

Sosiale media en aanlyn platforms skep die geleentheid om daagliks teenwoordig te wees in die lewens van mense en nie net op Sondae nie.”

Die kerk wat regtig omgee vir mense, veral vir jongmense, sal in die toekoms ook hulle digitale teenwoordigheid belangrik ag. Ons moet ook kennis neem dat jy nie ‘n groot gemeente of ‘n groot begroting nodig het om ‘n aanlyn impak te maak nie.  Al wat nodig is, is ‘n bereidheid om tegnologie te omarm en te eksperimenteer met beskikbare opsies.

Beskikbaarheid op-aanvraag: Gemeentes wat reeds voor of tydens die inperking ‘n digitale teenwoordigheid ontwikkel het moet die geleentheid aangryp om dit verder uit te brei. Baie gemeentes bied hulle Sondagdienste of mid-week byeenkomste as “lewendige” (“live”) geleenthede aan en veronderstel dat mense wat toegang daartoe wil hê, dit op ‘n bepaalde tyd sal doen.

Die mees suksesvolle digitale platforms bied hulle produk op-aanvraag (“on demand”) aan en kerke kan daaruit leer. Oorweeg dit om elke in-persoon byeenkoms aanlyn beskikbaar te maak, soos en wanneer dit lidmate en besoekers pas. Baie pastore en gemeentes het jare se preke, preekreekse en leringe beskikbaar op MP4 of YouTube videos en moet dit oorweeg om dit ook op aanvraag beskikbaar te stel.

Tuisgebaseerde geestelike formasie: Dit is goed om te sien dat sommige gemeentes begin fokus op ‘n elke-dag-van-die-week benadering tot bediening en nie net op Sondae nie. Die konsep van “op-aanvraag” beskikbaarheid van preke, toerustingsgeleenthede en Bybelstudies kan uitgebrei word om ander elemente soos nuwe-lidmaat oriëntering, geestelikegroei- en huweliksverrykings kursusse ten volle of gedeeltelik, aanlyn beskikbaar te stel.

Dit kan individue in staat stel om die materiaal op hulle eie tyd tuis deur te werk en slegs die laaste sessie/s in persoon dan by te woon. Op hierdie manier kan mense ondersteun word om verantwoordelikheid vir hulle eie geestelike groei, persoonlike dissipelskap en evangelisasie te neem.

Wat is die kern elemente en beginsels van kerkwees?

Oor die laaste paar dekades het kerke instellings geword met diep gewortelde kulture en gevestigde maniere van doen. Baie gemeentes het verskeie departemente, bedieninge en belangstellingsvelde ontwikkel. Sommige is so gediversifiseerd dat dit soms moeilik is om sonder meer te bepaal wat hulle kernfokus is. Die pandemie bied ons die geleentheid en dalk die noodsaaklikheid om terug te gaan na sogenaamde zero-gebaseerde denke: Om onsself en ons gemeentes terug te plaas by die punt net voor bepaalde besluite t.o.v. departemente, bedieninge, gemeentekultuur en daaglikse bedrywighede geneem is en om nou in die lig van huidige omstandighede en beskikbare inligting, daardie besluite (weer) vrylik te neem.

Kerkwees gaan oor meer as net wat tussen die vier mure van kerkgeboue gebeur. Huise, woonbuurte en gemeenskappe is deel van ons bedieningsveld. ‘n Belangrike opmerking ten opsigte hiervan is om te verseker dat alhoewel metodes en modelle moet verander, gemeentes se missie dieselfde bly.

Huise, woonbuurte en gemeenskappe is deel van ons bedieningsveld.”

Op wat behoort gemeentes geld te spandeer?

Virtuele vergaderings het letterlik oornag die nuwe manier van vergadering hou geword. Alles dui daarop dat dit deel van die “nuwe normaal” gaan wees en dat baie personeelvergaderings en selfs die van strukture op gemeente-, streek- en nasionale vlak in die toekoms so gehou sal kan word. Dit kan lei tot redelike begrotings besparings, terwyl gemeentes dit behoort te oorweeg om ‘n deel van hulle begroting toe te wys aan die opgradering van hulle digitale vermoë en -bediening.

‘n Verdere implikasie hiervan is dat personeellede wat die toerusting het, virtueel kan werk. Dit is ‘n tendens wat waarskynlik sal toeneem in baie maatskappye en gemeentes behoort ook daarby baat te vind. Die kern kwessie sal produktiwiteit wees en ook hulle beskikbaarheid om die nodige aandag en fokus aan hulle werk te gee, al werk hulle van die huis af.

Een van die belangrikste aksies wat gemeentes moet neem, is om te bepaal wat regtig noodsaaklik is vir hulle funksionering as gemeente en wat net “lekker is om te hê”, veral in die lig daarvan dat die inkomste van baie gemeentes onder druk is.

Sources: “Disruptive church trends every church leader should watch.”  – Carey Nieuwhof & “How COVID-19 Is Shaping the Future of the Church.” – Carey Nieuwhof & “Moving Forward: Future Church Trends.” -Anthony Hilder & “Five early findings from churches that are regathering.” -Thom Rainer.

SLOT

Terwyl ons deur die verskillende fases van die Covid-19 pandemie gaan, moet ons bewus wees daarvan dat die her-opening van kerkgeboue nie noodwendig ‘n toestroming van mense beteken nie, in elk geval nie nou al nie. Wêreldwye opnames wys dat mense uiteenlopende opinies het t.o.v. wanneer hulle “veilig” sal voel om weer bymekaar te kom.

Dit blyk dat sowat 30% van respondente eers sal terugkeer kerk toe wanneer hulle nie maskers hoef te dra nie en 15% sê hulle sal eers kerk toe kom wanneer gevalle laag is, besighede oopmaak, beperkinge opgehef word en ‘n teenmiddel beskikbaar is. Rondom 8% sê dat die oopmaak van restaurante vir aansit-kliënte vir hulle ‘n riglyn sal wees. As kerkleiers moet ons nie hierdie tendense as emosionele laagtepunte beleef nie en moet ons ook daarteen waak om mense wat versigtig is t.o.v. bywoning, te behandel asof hulle minder geloof het.

Een ding is seker: Ons betreë ‘n nuwe realiteit en baie mense, selfs leiers sukkel, op ’n dieper vlak as wat ons besef, met die afwesigheid van dit wat die meeste van ons tot onlangs as “normaal” beleef het.  Dit is belangrik dat ons hieroor sal praat met ons familie, vriende en kollegas. Ons moet hieroor bid en dink en onsself voorberei op ‘n langer tydperk van ontwrigting as wat ons gedink het.

Past. M.G. Mahlobo

Gender Based Violence and Violence against Children (Friday, 19 June 2020)

GENDER BASED VIOLENCE & VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN
Friday, 19 June 2020
Past. M.G. Mahlobo
(President of the AFM of SA)

Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Femicide as well as the physical and sexual abuse of children by men (and in some cases women) continue to plague our country.

Recently we heard about the brutal murders of 21 women and children including that of Tshegofatso Pule, an eight-month pregnant woman from Soweto, Johannesburg, who was hanged and that of Evelyn De Koker from Eersterust. It is alleged that both have been killed by their male partners. We also heard of the four-hour long ordeal of a Mom from Hankey, who was raped and shot in full view of her 12-year-old daughter, allegedly by a former employee. These recent heinous crimes against women has forcefully brought to the fore, the issues of violence against women and children.

I would like to convey our sincere and deepest condolences to all the bereaved and traumatised families and want to assure them of our prayers.

The scourge of Gender-Based Violence and violence against children should not be allowed to continue rearing its head. I would like to call upon all MEN in this church to be part of the solution and I would urge the Men’s Ministry to take the lead in this endeavour. This requires that we start in our own backyard and ensure that our hands are clean when it comes to violence against women (1 Timothy 2:8). Some of the men that perpetrate violence against women are known to us. We must confront them and even report them to the law enforcement agencies.

Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the country has annually, from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day), embarked on the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence against Women and Children Campaign. The 16 Days Campaign forms the centre point of government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.

The Organs of the State, Religious bodies, Non-Profit Organisations and various Community Organisations have participated in this and other similar campaigns. Parliament, the Security Forces and Judiciary have all been on the forefront with the promulgation and enactment of mandatory sentences. We as the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, should urge our Government to: (i) give substance and impetus to the implementation of its comprehensive 365 days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children and (ii) review the laws regarding women and children abuse with a view to stiff penalties.

Yours in Christ
Past. M.G. Mahlobo
(President of the AFM of SA)
#AFMOFSA #Missional #Church #GreatCommission #GBV #StopGBV #ReportGBV Department of Social Development The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa The Apostolic Faith Mission of SA National Men’s Fellowship AFM National Youth The AFM of SA National Children’s Ministry

Newsflash: Friday, 12 June 2020

12 JUNE ENG 2020

AFM Colleagues,

COMPLIANCE WITH COVID-19 REGULATIONS

Some of our churches gathered for the first time since the commencement of the national lockdown on 26 March 2020. Others deferred the resumption of Sunday church services until they are able to comply with all Covid-19 safety regulations under Alert Level 3. Let me reiterate what I said in my previous communication, namely that compliance with Covid-19 regulations is non-negotiable. All AFM presiding Pastors must ensure that they fully comply with church gathering regulations under Alert Level 3. I have been informed that some churches were visited by law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance issues. Your congregation may be visited too.

Please make sure that you are aware of the AFM’s guidelines for church meetings under Level 3, available from the following link:

Guidelines for Church Meetings during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Calm Before The Storm

The rapid infections of Covid-19 have disrupted our lives in ways never experienced since the Spanish flu of 1918. The first case of Covid-19 in South Africa was diagnosed on 5 March 2020. As of now we have more than 50,000 thousand infections and more than 1,000 people who have succumbed to the stealthy killer. It is estimated that when South Africa reaches its Covid-19 peak by July, 1.2 million people will be infected and that by November the death toll shall have reached 40,000.

Campaign To Bring Down The Infection Rate

The church must be part of the campaign to bring down the infection rate. I am calling upon all AFM Pastors to ensure that we regularly communicate the following messages to all:

  • Wear a mask when getting out.
  • Keep physical distance.
  • No handshakes or hugs.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap & water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Do not touch face with unwashed hands.
  • Clean cell phone with cloth and hot soapy water or sanitizer.

Behavioral Change

In many instances we come across people who do not heed the above safety measures. We need to encourage our brothers and sisters to comply. By doing this, we will be emulating the kind of compassion that Jesus demonstrated in Matthew 9:36: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them.” 

Church Resources For Covid-19

I want to encourage all Pastors to visit this website: https://www.churchinaction.org.za. This is the website created by the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and Heartlines to provide churches with resources in the fight against coronavirus. This is a “toolbox” website with a lot of materials that are useful in combating Covid-19. These materials are available in all eleven official languages of South Africa.

Blessings!

MG Mahlobo