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TABLE OF CONTENTS
– STRATEGIC MISSIONAL INTENT
– MISSIONAL GOVERNANCE
– FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP
Dear AFM Family,
It is a privilege to write this first Pastoral Newsletter in my capacity as the president of the AFM of South Africa. Thank you for your goodwill and continuous prayers for the newly elected National Office Bearers (NOB). We will work hard to make a positive contribution towards realising the redemptive purpose of the AFM church as part of the Kingdom of God. In this edition attention is given to the strategic missional intent of the NOB for the next three years, as presented to and approved by the March 2022 NLF. The letter also includes articles on governance and missionality, as well as financial stewardship.
The following must be noted regarding the updated Covid -19 regulations as published in the 23 March 2022 Government Gazette, and forwarded to all NLF members:
- The AFM will not force our assemblies or members to be vaccinated and provide proof thereof, in order to get to 50% occupancy of building capacity. In this regard we maintain the principle of freedom of choice, as previously communicated by us in meetings with the SA Government.
- The practical implication of this is that gatherings are “limited to 1000 persons or less for indoor venues and 2000 persons or less for outdoor venues and if the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one meter from each other, then not more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.”
- “Attendance of a funeral and cremation is limited to 200 persons or less and if the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one meter from each other, then not more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols.”
This includes the maintaining of a one metre distance between people, the wearing of masks indoors and the regular sanitizing of hands.
STRATEGIC MISSIONAL INTENT
Dr H.J. Weideman (President of the AFM of SA)
The National Office Bearers (NOB) spent three days in January and February 2022 to deliberate, reflect and pray about the Strategic Missional Intent for the next three years. We reflected on the context we find ourselves in as a church, regarding the world, our country and the church in general. Amongst these matters, the following form an integral part of our current reality:
The State of the Nation
- The devastation caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic. To this we can add the war in Ukraine, the political tension between the West and Russia, as well as the accompanying devastation and uncertainty.
- The deep poverty, unemployment, inequality, and low economic growth in our country.
- Unreliable electricity supply.
- Inefficient ports and railways – inclusive of the passenger rail network.
- The effects of State capture and corruption.
- The slow move from analogue to digital broadcasting and telecommunications, as well as broadband infrastructure.
- Inadequate investment in water resource maintenance and improvement of water security.
- The effects of climate change.
- The state of our armed forces.
- Rampant crime.
The State President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address, mentioned that we need a “…new consensus which embraces our shared responsibility to one another and acknowledges that we are all in this together.” He also said that “…to be effective, this social compact needs to include every South African and every part of society.” We must ask whether we regard ourselves to really be part of the South African society and if so, what we as the AFM church in our respective constituencies are doing to add to the solutions.
The State of the Church
During our strategic session, the NOB assessed the state, as well as the context in which the church(es) in South Africa, finds itself. We noted that in general, the church:
– Vacated the moral and prophetic space and voice it had.
– Compromised its ability to speak truth to power.
– Has too many leaders who experience moral failure.
– Grapples with the effects of Post-Modern times and the Pandemic.
– Is not adequately utilising the opportunities the current time frame of uncertainty and a search for purpose and hope, offers.
The challenge for us as the AFM of SA is to step into the gap and provide spiritual leadership on National, Regional and Local level.
Strategic Missional Intent
The NOB deliberated on critical focus areas in taking the church forward successfully over the next few years. The following Strategic Missional Intent, inclusive of focus areas, goals and action steps, as well as the NOB member for whom it will be an area of responsibility, were presented to and approved by the March 2022 National Leadership Forum NLF. (For the purposes of this article, the timelines as presented to the NLF were not included.)
Administration of Justice (Pastor B. Petersen)
The focus will be on clarifying the risks and develop a concept document in reviewing the structure, policy, functionality and training of the AFM’s administration of justice.
Church Planting and Growth (Pastor B. Petersen)
The planting and registration of 300 churches over the next three years is envisioned. To achieve this the concept “church” will be (re)defined, role players engaged, a concept document developed, and timelines established. A draft church planting strategy will be presented to the NLF, followed by implementation and monitoring.
Communication (Pastor M.S. Khumalo)
This focus area is about the development of a comprehensive internal and external communication plan. A concept document will be developed, followed by engagement of role players and the presentation of a draft strategy.
Compliance of Assemblies, Regions & Departments (Pastor R.J. Coertzen)
All areas of compliance will be defined and assessed, inclusive of statutory compliance and PBO and NPO status, after which an action plan will be developed.
Deepening and visible expression of Unity (Dr H.J. Weideman)
The understanding, expectations, fears, success stories and possibilities of unity will be defined and assessed by engaging role players. This will be followed by the development of a strategy on moving unity to the next level.
Departmental re-envisioning and alignment (Pastor B. Petersen)
A concept document will be developed, role players engaged, and a draft strategy aimed at strengthening the effectivity of our departments, presented to the NLF.
Ecumenical Engagement, Positioning and Prophetic Voice (Dr H.J. Weideman & Pastor B. Petersen)
In this regard the strategic intent of our ecumenical engagement, positioning and prophetic voice will be defined, and an action plan developed.
Education and Training (Dr H.J. Weideman)
A fully functional AFM training institution is envisioned. Actions will include engagement with role players and defining the strategic intent of education and training in the AFM. A concept document, inclusive of a draft action plan and financial model will be presented to the Education and Training Department and the NLF.
Leadership Development Program implemented (Dr H.J. Weideman) The identification and intentional development of +/- 80 potential leaders is envisioned. To achieve this, role players will be engaged, a concept document developed, and a draft leadership development program presented to the NLF.
Minimum wage fully implemented (Pastor R.J. Coertzen)
NLF decisions, factual realities and possibilities in this regard will be established and monitored, after which a proposal will be developed.
Welfare Department Review and Sustainability (Dr H.J. Weideman)
The intent and sustainability of the Welfare will be assessed, and role players engaged, to develop and present a draft strategic plan, inclusive of a business plan and operational structure to the NLF.
Youth Retention and Campus Ministry Strategy (Pastor B. Petersen)
A draft document will be developed, role players engaged and a draft strategy on this very important focus area, presented to the NLF.
Archives and Heritage (Pastor R.J. Coertzen)
A concept document on the enhancement and inclusivity of the archives and the preservation of our heritage will be developed. Role players will be engaged and a draft strategy presented to the NLF.
Chaplaincy (Pastor R.J. Coertzen)
The strategic intent, functioning and possibilities of the Chaplaincy Committee will be assessed. Role players will be engaged, and a concept document presented to the NLF.
Litigation (Pastor R.J. Coertzen)
The status of current civil cases will be assessed, and the necessary action taken. Role players will be engaged and a strategy on the way forward developed.
Pastoral Wellness (Pastor S Khumalo)
Existing documents regarding Pastoral wellness will be assessed and role players engaged, with the view of presenting of a draft strategy on the way forward to the NLF.
“We need the prayers, support and involvement of all AFM members, inclusive of individuals skilled in the areas mentioned above.”
The President, Deputy President and General Treasurer will each have five focus areas, over and above their normal responsibilities. The General Secretary who has a lot of administrative responsibilities, will have two additional ones at this stage. This is a tall order and although the NOB members will take responsibility as indicated, we cannot do it alone. We need the prayers, support and involvement of all AFM members, inclusive of individuals skilled in the areas mentioned above.
Dr H.J. Weideman (President of the AFM of SA)
How is Governance linked to Missionality?
In Matthew 5:16 (ESV) Jesus says: “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” 1 Pet 2:12 (NLT) echoes this notion, when Peter says: “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbours. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honourable behaviour, and they will give honour to God when he judges the world.”
According to these two Scriptures, there is a definite link between our behaviour as followers of Jesus and our testimony in the world. When people, even unbelievers, see how we conduct ourselves, they will recognise it as good and honourable and acknowledge God in the process. The “good works” and “honourable behaviour” that Jesus and Peter talk about, includes but is definitely not limited to our lifestyle and vocabulary. The way we conduct our business and work, whether as an employer or employee, speaks loud about who we are and what we believe.
In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NKJV) Paul says: “Let a man (others) so consider us, -as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
When people see how we conduct ourselves, how we speak, how we govern ourselves and the things we are given responsibility for, they should think about us as good stewards. That in itself, is being missional in practice: Our stewardship of the property, people, finances, skills and area/s of responsibility entrusted to us, is a witness to our beliefs and existence as followers of Jesus. Whether that testimony is a good or a bad witness, depends on how good our governance is.
In the business world, the effectiveness of a governance system is often measured by the achievement of the organisation’s mission or purpose. This is also true for us as the church: The core of our mission and purpose is to make people disciples of Jesus (Matt.28:19). This does not only happen from the pulpit, or in one-on-one conversations, but also in how we govern ourselves in leisure and in business.
“How we govern ourselves and our assemblies either glorifies God and draw people to Him or causes them to turn away.”
Church governance on Local, Regional and National level, must be informed by a missional understanding of being church. How we govern ourselves and our assemblies either glorifies God and draw people to Him or causes them to turn away. May we be found to be faithful stewards of everything that has been entrusted to our care.
Past. R.J. Coertzen (General Treasurer of the AFM of SA)
Financial stewardship is part of the Governance focus in our AFM missional strategy. Let me start with a question: What is the culture in your congregation? What do you promote and do with purpose? What do you tolerate? What do you kill when it appears in your assembly? What lives in your heart for your assembly?
“If you and I can live a generous life, and teach our people to live a generous life, you will see remarkable things happening.”
I think an especially important area where we need to take stewardship of is in the area of generosity. Many of you would react by asking: What are you talking about? I can barely get by with what I have and now you want me to be generous? Yes, that is what I am suggesting because that is what the Word of GOD tells us to do – and if you follow HIS guidance, you will reap the fruits of HIS word. If you and I can live a generous life, and teach our people to live a generous life, you will see remarkable things happening.
Just to help you, GOD’s blessing stands on two legs: Generosity and stewardship. The one cannot go without the other. You can be ‘n generous person, but if you are not a good steward, you will run out of money very soon. If you are a good steward but are tight – meaning you do not give away, GOD cannot bless you either, because you are not generous. If you can be both, a good steward and live generously, GOD will bless you, especially your financial world. Because that is GOD’s principles.
What are the Steps?
If you want your people to be good stewards, you and me will have to live it. If you want your people to live generously, they will have to see it in your life. I can only teach the congregation what I do myself and live it for them.
The second thing that we need to do is preach on it. Many pastors will now say: Yes, my brother, I preach regularly on it, but my question today is: What is your motive? Why do you preach on it? Is it just to get more money for the church? And this is the reason many pastors are ineffective when preaching on it. GOD is interested in our hearts not the external things. Matt 6:21 “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” The best way to kill selfishness in your congregants’ hearts is to teach them that we are only stewards, not owners.
“…by modelling it I mean that you have to share truths with your congregation by using personal stories of what GOD has done in your life.”
To create a culture of stewardship in your assembly you must model it. It must come from the top down. It must start with the Pastor, the staff, and the Governing Body before it will be embraced by the ordinary members. To model stewardship is different from living it. You have to live it to model it, but by modelling it I mean that you have to share truths with you congregation by using personal stories of what GOD has done in your life.
I pray that GOD will bless you in your walk, especially in the area of finances. I pray that you will be a generous and good steward.
May God empower us as followers of Jesus to keep our focus on the ultimate task and purpose of the church: To make all people disciples of Jesus. It is my prayer that whilst we are fulfilling our calling with integrity and excellence, we will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the initiator and perfector of our faith.