“Church planting and soul winning can’t stop. It is the heart of the church.” -Busani Mthombeni
We sat on plastic chairs arranged in a circle at the back of the church building, nodding our heads in agreement. It was impossible to deny the passion in this declaration. With 58 million people living in South Africa, these leaders are a long way from reaching their goals. But are their goals even attainable?
They continued, “For our work and ministry to qualify as ‘good’ we have to reach a point where there are no longer any needs in the community— because the church will be meeting all of the needs of our community.” What? Surely that is crazy! Not to mention uncomfortably challenging, because I know I don’t live with that degree of passion for reaching my local community.
In the last ﬁve years, the BIC church in South Africa has expanded from 2 churches to 20. That’s a fantastic growth rate. And yet, one by one, as the ten church leaders introduced themselves to us, they each shared their determination to do better, to overcome the barriers, and to see their young and small church conference grow.
As members of the Brethren in Christ Church, these are our closest family members in South Africa. They may be long distance sisters and brothers, but we are family through Jesus and through our denomination with an unconditional bond. We may only see them once or twice in a lifetime, but when we are in the same place at the same time, we know there is a togetherness that is important for us to lean into.
Through our differences and our similarities. Through our challenges and our joys. This is our family. And I’m so glad we had the opportunity to be together.