1 December 2020

Dear family

Living with an expectation. Sure this is part of the character of a follower of Jesus Christ. Something is going to happen. Something only God can do. Is that still part of your heartbeat? What do you hope for? One standing out for me is a movement – a disciple making movement and to play a part in making it real.

What if it were possible to do what Jesus did? What if, like Jesus, we could make a major impact on our world without ever traveling more than a hundred kilometres from home? What if we could take a group of “unschooled and ordinary men” and equip them to turn the world upside down (Acts 4:13)? What if in just three short years, we could create a movement of disciplemakers, just like Jesus?

Here in the Kingfisher family we believe this is possible. But for that to happen we should start to follow Jesus anew and follow His strategy.

We know that Jesus had a timetable for His public ministry. He had just three years to prepare people to launch a movement. So He chose disciple making as His strategy, the most time-consuming strategy that one could imagine.

Seventeen times we find Jesus with the masses, but forty-six times we see Him with His disciples. These few disciples, within two years after the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, went out and “filled Jerusalem” with Jesus’s teaching (Acts 5:28). Within four and a half years they had planted multiplying churches and equipped multiplying disciples (Acts 9:31). Within eighteen years it was said of them that “they turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). And in twenty-eight years it was said that “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world” (Colossians 1:6).

For three years Jesus lived out the values of the Kingdom of Heaven. He championed it in His Everyday Commission. He made disciples who could make disciples! Just within seventy years, the cadre of people around Jesus had taken His good news into every corner of the Roman world.

Do we have better efficiencies in mind? Jesus gave almost all of His attention to intentionally discipling just twelve men, especially focusing on three of them. The results speak for itself.

In the past few years and especially this year we developed and conducted  workshops and online training to reintroduce Jesus’s strategy to the body of Christ. This is a start of an adventurous journey on which followers of Jesus will:

•              Follow Jesus practically in all spheres of life and in the process become like Jesus and do what He did

•              Approach Scripture differently to hear from God themselves and to obey in disciple making spaces (missional communities)

•              Continue the life of Jesus on earth by: thinking more like Jesus (adopt a Kingdom Culture); unconditional love relationships; servanthood; prayer; focusing on needs of people

•              Make disciples practically in ordinary life from a new discovered identity, calling and potential

•              Live with Kingdom impact

•              Plant the seed of a disciple making culture in their own influence sphere (group or faith community) by living a Kingdom lifestyle

And so we play our obedient part in catalyzing the movement which Jesus already started.

This is what I hope for. This is what I expect to see more and more. We do see it already. We are in for a ride. Wouldn’t you come along?

Thank you to everyone who participates in this calling in whatever way. We appreciate and love you.

Greetings and love

dirk

29 October 2020

Dear Friends of Kingfisher

How do you disciple a nation?

I friend of mine very often asks me this question.  In Matthew 28:19 we read: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”.  So how do you disciple a nation?

On the face of it the answer is simple. You disciple a nation one by one leading people to salvation and then hopefully discipling them towards spiritual maturity. Most churches and ministry organizations have strategies and programs based on the idea of individuals becoming disciples of Jesus. Each one of them will then be able to disciple others until the entire nation is discipled.

In my own country, eighty present of the population self-identify as Christians, but when we look at the exceedingly high crime rate, the murders, rapes and violence that permeates the whole of society, the bile and hatred that we encounter on social media, we clearly are not a discipled nation. I only speak for my own country, but many of you all over the world may have the same experience in your own contexts.

It seems that the fruit that we expect of disciples of Jesus is missing. They have been discipled to some extent, but the outcome cannot be seen to have a marked effect on the nation as a whole. Even though eighty present of people self-identify as Christians, we are not a discipled nation.

How is that possible?

We may have been missing something. When Jesus called his disciples to follow Him it was not, first of all, a call to salvation, but a call to think as He does about life, the world, themselves and everything. Jesus spells His worldview out in the beatitudes. It is the poor in spirit, the humble,  the peacemakers, those with a passion for justice who live the Kingdom lifestyle of a disciple of Jesus. These are people who make a difference in society and are respected by even those of other religions. It is they who have a marked effect on society and bring Kingdom change to the world where they live.

Could it be that discipling a nation has to do with the effect true disciples of Jesus can have in broader society?

Could it be that discipling a nation is not only leading people individually to salvation, but changing them into change agents who think like Jesus did and act like He did with compassion, being peacemaker, striving for justice and living a humble lifestyle?

Could it be that the psyche of a nation, the vibe of a nation can be impacted by discipled followers of Jesus to such an extent that the values and aspirations of the nation becomes in line with Jesus’ way of thinking?

Would that be what it means to disciple a nation?

If that is the case we have to look carefully at the outcomes of the way  we often disciple people.

Do we see the fruit of a Kingdom lifestyle? Do we see that discipled followers of Jesus bring in a new way of thinking and acting, a different attitude and approach into public life?

If that happens more and more, we can approach the possibility of a nation being discipled.

How do your discipling efforts measure up?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.

Regards

Piet

1 October 2020

Beloved

The focus of Disciplemaking is :

•           Not to get people into heaven after they die – but before they die…

•           Not only good news for death – but excellent news for life.

•           Not only to get them into the Kingdom – but to get the Kingdom into them.

•           Not to accept the Good News for the sake of sin-management – but to establish the reign of God in every aspect of our life.

•           Not to let people develop into vampire-Christians : “I just need a little bit of your blood – for the day I die” – but to live like Jesus would have lived if

He was me, my age, my career, my context

•           Not to follow Jesus only as a Saviour – but a Councillor for ordinary everyday situations.

•           Not to just download grace to cover our mistakes – but about character transformation.

•           Not to see God as fire-extinguisher in case of an emergency – but to follow God for the sake of Himself.

•           Not to be saved for heaven – but for earth – and bringing heaven on earth.

•           Not to be saved from hell – but for creation.

•           Not only to be ready to die – but be ready to live.

•           Not to get people to be Christian – but rather Christ-like.

For sure disciplemaking is about heaven. But then – heaven as in

•           Life in abundance (John 10)

•           Life before sin entered

•           God’s will for every situation

“With all of this clearly in view, it becomes understandable why the simple and wholly adequate word for salvation in the New Testament is “life.”  (Dallas Willard)

Exactly that is why heaven / eternal life is NOW. It’s already here – we have already entered it. Naturally we shall experience it much more deeply after death – but for disciples – death is the crossing between heaven lite and heaven supersize. John 17 : 3 : “Eternal life means to know and experience you as the only true God, and to know and experience Jesus Christ, as the Son whom you have sent”. (TPT)

Knowing is interactive relationship. It’s a living interaction with God.  That is what eventually is going to come to earth. That is what has come to earth already, and we can make it a part of our lives. In so doing, we make our lives a part of God’s life. 

Disciplemaking has as focus : “It is vital to live a holy life? We must be consumed with godliness,  while we anticipate and help to speed up the coming of the day of God – there are coming heavens new in quality, and an earth new in quality, where righteousness will be fully at home” (2 Peter 3:11-13 TPT)

Enjoy disciplemaking – enjoy Life (before death).

All our appreciation for your role in the Kingdom!

Johann Theron

1 September 2020


Dear family

In this challenging time and the ‘new normal’ so many are talking about, I see many articles about leadership and how leaders should think and manage it. The situation and changing times we live in ask for a new approach in business as well as church.

A few years ago Kingfisher started to think totally different about leadership and our strategy and we learned a lot. Maybe we can make a positive contribution to the current leadership challenges by sharing a few implemented ideas.

We believe there is a difference between Kingdom-based leadership and organization-based leadership (the current model in most businesses, organizations and churches).  For example: organization-based leadership promotes a strong visionary leader who develops a single vision for an organization while Kingdom-based leadership wants to empower people to develop many individual visions to accomplish a certain goal. Kingdom leadership wants to move away from strategic (controlling) leadership whose goal is to direct the organization toward a predetermined outcome, and replace it with process leadership that leaves the outcome undefined.

We rediscovered our model leader. Jesus started a movement, not an organization. While he set an overarching objective for His followers –  to make disciples – He did not communicate a unique vision of church life, nor did He impose on us a list of objectives for the various jobs and functions inside the church. Rather, He left each of us to seek and find our own vision with regard to our place in the body and our ministry. Instead of a church-building strategy with well-defined benchmarks or outcomes, Jesus focused more on the people and the process.

Someone wisely pointed out that our organizations are perfectly designed for the results that we are currently seeing. More of the same will only produce more of the same. You cannot lead the way you have always done so in the past and expect different results. What brought success in the old form of influence will actually bring failure in the new. The way you attract people, train them and organize them all must change. The old standard of what is success must be replaced.

There is something new happening. With the advance of technology making the world flatter and mass communication easier we should rethink our methods. Bestselling authors are pointing us to a more movemental paradigm of how to lead. The Tipping Point (Gladwell), The Starfish and the Spider (Brafman/Beckstrom) and Tribes (Godin) point us toward a new way of leading as well as organizational principles that defy the status quo and break open new ways that are actually quite ancient. Jesus and Paul both catalyzed this sort of movemental influence in the first century.

Look for a while at the difference in leadership styles. Maybe it is time to rethink wherever you find yourself.

Blessings, love and greetings

Dirk Coetzee

30 July 2020

Dear Kingfisher Friends

COVID19 had a huge effect on everybody everywhere. No country or region escaped the impact of lockdown, disease prevention and eventually so many who became ill and even died after contracting the virus. Lives had been uprooted, economies destroyed and families driven to poverty. On so many levels it is a continuing disaster, a nightmare. Darkness everywhere.

It seems that the darkness is snuffing out the light.

Very often it is precisely in the deepest darkness that God wants His light to shine the brightest through the disciples following Jesus.

I am thinking of the AGAPE faith community in North India who established a school for the poorest of the poor and began with educational house visits for the benefit of children from families who do not have access to online teaching.

I am thinking of a group of followers of Jesus in the Eastern Cape, South Africa who regularly collect truckloads of fresh produce and groceries to help the devastated farm communities, both farmers and workers in the drought-stricken interior of the country.

I am thinking of small churches in Ukraine who are reaching out to people living in the war zone towards the east of the country who have not only to contend with the ravages of war, but also with the effect of COVID19 in their very terrible situation.

I am thinking of 68 people from various countries in Africa who enrolled in a basic discipleship course run by Kingfisher as well as Johann, Hermariè and Dirk who are facilitating their growth towards missional spiritual maturity.

I am thinking of our brother Raju who are doing the same in the city where he lives as well as Bendang and Apokla within their context.

I am remembering the people with whom I travel through a workshop on making disciples the Jesus way. They are from Uganda, Malawi and South Africa.

I am thinking of Sippe and Miemie who are taking responsibility for more than one disciple group within their circle of influence.

I am thinking of Keith and Erika reaching out to people in different contexts in the name of Jesus.

I could continue and add to this list. You could most definitely add many more.

So let us remember that even though there is darkness, the light will not be overpowered. The life of Jesus Christ is shining brightly through the lives of His disciples.

God Bless

Piet Steyn

2 July 2020

Dear Friends

The growth of the church in Acts remains a miracle. Much research has been done about the reasons for this. Without big buildings, full time professional pastors, budgets, denominational structures for support, bands and administrative systems they grew from 120 at Pentecost to many millions – 56% of the Roman Empire in just 300 years. A counterculture – impacting the values of society – and not merely a subculture – serving God in a secret corner somewhere defending themselves against the rest of society not to influence them.

Cities were changed : Act 5:28 “ … you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching”.

Their numbers grew exponentially  : Act 6:7   “The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased dramatically. Not least, a great many priests submitted themselves to the faith”.

Miracles were commonplace :  Act 5:12  “Through the work of the apostles, many God-signs were set up among the people, many wonderful things done…”

What was their secret? For sure it was the Spirit doing the work Himself  ……. but…we also read that they were prepared to be radically obedient – to do things they have never done before – what other people don’t do – what will cause solid theologians to say : “That is not the way it must be done”.

The Spirit of Pentecost always pushes us across borders – into virgin territory – always wants to use us for more… to surpass our wildest imaginations. Changing our grip on the theology. We become so stuck in our theology. So easily we worship our theology and church culture – our concept of God and the church – that God cannot use us anymore. Believing more in the correctness of our theology than we are believing in God Himself. We become good theologians but bad followers.

In Acts 10 – Peter – the leader of the apostles stumbles over his theology :  “Peter said, “Oh, no, Lord. I’ve never so much as tasted food that was not kosher”.  (Acts 10:14 MSG)  Theologically Peter was completely correct! The Jewish seminaries would give him cum laude for his theological viewpoint. All the learned scholars would agree with him. But – you can be theologically correct – and miss what God wants to do. Peter almost missed the call to go to Cornelius – as well as the opportunity to witness the Spirit falling on the gentiles. 

In Acts 11 theology almost costed non-Jews entering the Kingdom. 1. “The news travelled fast and in no time the leaders and friends back in Jerusalem heard about it—heard that the non-Jewish “outsiders” were now “in”  :2  When Peter got back to Jerusalem, some of his old associates, concerned about circumcision, called him on the carpet:  3  “What do you think you’re doing rubbing shoulders with that crowd, eating what is prohibited and ruining our good name?”  Now the unthinkable was required – to let go of circumcision as a prerequisite for the Kingdom. Fortunately the Spirit opened their theological minds and in Acts 15 circumcision was sacrificed. Its always those outside the Kingdom paying the price for our stuckness to our “good” theology.

I once had the privilege of visiting a country close to the equator. On the Sunday morning in church – with a sun blazing at 40 plus degrees outside – the pastor appeared on the pulpit in a black suit, a white tie and a black robe. Sweat was streaming down his face. Looking exactly like I used to look when I was a young pastor. My denomination planted the church in this African country. And my denomination was planted by a denomination in Scotland where in the cold they dress pastors like this. The Scottish missionaries exported their church culture to South Africa and we exported it with the gospel to the middle of Africa! 

What shall we not give to witness millions of followers streaming into the Kingdom – like in Acts? Give everything most probably. Our brothers and sisters witnessing Disciplemaking Movements – where thousands of new churches are planted annually and millions of converts come to Jesus – in some closed countries of the world share these critical principles : (Contagious Disciplemaking : David Watson)

1.    It hinders our work when disciple-makers reproduce their religion rather than plant the gospel. Don’t transfer your own Christian culture, denominational terms, or doctrine into the new work.

2.    Don’t focus on making followers of your church – focus on making disciples of Christ.

3.    Teach them to obey Christ’s commands – not church traditions.

Interesting!

Johann Theron

May 2020

Dear family

From around the world it is reported that people come to faith in Jesus Christ during the time of Covid-19. We can only praise our Father for that. Google reports that unprecedented interest currently exists in questions about God and in online spiritual messages. People have a need. Communication between people about Jesus has multiplied while people cannot sit in worship services or fill church buildings. People reach out to each other more and serve one another. They do not miss the pastor or priest so much. They minister, encourage, teach, disciple one another! Is it not wonderful?!

People start asking questions about where science and human intellect are now, when we need it most. Where are the humanist scholars who place more faith in man’s ability rather than in God?

Jesus was in a boat with his disciples at one point. The wind and the waves wanted to overwhelm them and they were afraid. They had no solution or control. Jesus entered this uncontrolled reality with His reality and brought calm and order. The disciples thought they were perishing. They called to Jesus – they sought His presence in distress.

The ultimate consequences of Covid-19 worldwide cannot yet be imagined at this stage, but the reality of death, illness, uncertainty, unemployment, deepening and greater poverty, and so on, is urging people to call on Jesus for help. The other ‘certainties’ just shrug. Jesus is faithful! He is in our midst and he stands up in people’s lives and brings peace and tranquility. And most of the time, He does it through an encouraging, supportive friend or family member. This is where people now experience Jesus in action. People do not necessarily experience Jesus’ compassion in the practices and strategies of our traditional church, but in discipleship relationships where people influence one another with truth, values and peace.

At a time like this, I hope the church and church leaders see something – and I not only mean the awakening internet communication possibilities, but that they will realize what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us in this time – remind us of. It is a time of discovery of the real inner workings and strategy of God’s kingdom. Therefore, it is a time for you as a leader in the church to equip believers and release them to live as sent disciple-makers wherever they find themselves each day. It is time to equip and release people to become actively involved in the need of the world – not as a command of a church action or program, but because Christ sends you to your neighbor in his/her distress.

May this time of equipment by the Holy Spirit be welcomed and embraced. May it really change our thinking about being a congregation and may it shift our focus to the Kingdom of God and may we not again fall into the same old customary practices.

About 70 to 90% of all people who come to faith in Christ Jesus are guided, influenced, discipled by a friend or family member. This truth once again invites every follower of Jesus Christ to be available to those in need, meaning spiritual, physical and emotional need. At a time like this, it is a unique opportunity to grow in the strategy that Jesus proposed to us and it is to allow, in relationship with people, that Jesus flows through you to others. Jesus is the great disciple maker but He prefers to touch others through you. Therefore, remember and use this time and build relationships by visiting people, engaging need, reaching out to an unknown person, through social platforms, internet communication platforms – to make Jesus’ presence known in people’s lives.

Kingfisher urges you not to do church as you always did. You are part of the Body of Christ – a mighty revolutionary renewing force of the Kingdom. You are a disciple maker! Be there for people. Be available, be teachable, be useful, and live the life of Jesus to establish the Kingdom of God together, to do His will together, to honor His name together.

Your brother

dirk

April 2020

Dear friends,

Last night when I was supposed to be sleeping, my mind was busy with the people I am guiding in the footsteps of our Lord through the gospel of Matthew. And then the Lord first of all spoke to my heart, about my relationship with Him.

 Matthew 4:19: He said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people.”  They left their nets immediately and followed him.

  1. Jesus called the disciples to follow.
  2. He only made them fishers of people years later.
  3. But they followed immediately.

Implications

First focus on following. The Lord is giving me people to disciple without effort on my side. Not one of the people I am discipling as well as a few that is on the point of being added,  were of my doing. My own efforts came to nothing, more than once. Actually, to be honest, every single time. He is the one making his own disciples and I am honoured to be used to some extent by walking alongside for a while.

I should not do His job. He is making me a fisher of people, He gives disciples.

My role is to follow. Only then will the passion I have for disciple-making be fulfilled.

So how do I follow?

I follow by spending time reading Matthew, being impacted by Jesus way of thinking, beginning to think the way He does. As my mind is transformed I will become useful as disciple-maker.

Someone discipling within the context of a completely different culture and religious system remarked yesterday that by the end of  Matthew 7 so much would have happened already in following Jesus, that all the hurt, rejection and desolation the disciples would have experienced when deciding to follow Jesus instead of the religion of the community, by then would have been healed. The transformation would have happened. That does not happen only by hearing the teachings of salvation and doing Bible study. That happens by following.

 How long does it take to get to chapter 7, walking step by step behind Jesus? Months? A year? Two years? It depends on the pace Jesus is walking.

Now this question.

Are you following?

Are you walking step by step behind Jesus through Matthew? Taking time to hear His voice and see what he does?

Are you doing your part?

Or are you frantically trying to do His part?

I had to answer these questions for myself.

So now I ask you to think about these same questions. 

Do not be side-tracked by the possibility of how disciple-making may look if your plans and strategies work out the way you want.. Do not focus on the testimonies, plans and strategies other successful disciplers have. You do not need that now because the Lord is not preparing you for their ministry and context. He had the place and the people in mind where it will just flow without effort from inside. You will be the gift to the people you will disicple in His name

.You do not need to be mobilised. You are already mobilised! You need to follow.

So spend time. Wait. Listen. Look.

Before using the gospel of Mattew as a training resource the life of Jesus flowing through you must become a reality, must become integrated in your life.

That will not become reality by attending a workshop or even our extensive in-house training. It happens through following.

With the love of Christ,

A follower,

Piet

26 March 2020

Dear Kingfisher friends

Often in the Bible we find the word “Remember”. The purpose of all the Jewish festivals was to “remember” the great deeds of God in the past. The Israelites spent about 30% of their time either on the way to, at the festival or travelling home from a festival – “remembering”. Communion is a meal of “remembrance”. We tend to look forward – and then get worried easily about the future. The Israelites were a people “looking backwards” and “remembering” – to be encouraged.

In these challenging times where fear grips the whole world Kingfisher wants to encourage every member of our family. It’s not easy to fight an unseen enemy – to constantly being bombarded with news about devastating effects around the whole world – to never know which conversation, surface or situation might infect yourself – to be so defenceless against a very serious threat.

We want to encourage you – we can find comfort in our “memory” :

1.   Remembering who we are – we are God’s unconditionally beloved children. Absolutely nothing can separate us from His love towards us. This is a much bigger truth about ourselves than the truth of any threat. This does not mean that we shall not be infected – but is true – even if we are infected.

2.   Remembering where we live – in the Kingdom of God. He promises to be with us – closer than the clothes we wear – inside of us. To guide us in our thinking. To remind us about each one of His promises.

3.   Remembering what our task is – to make disciples. The present times provide us with excellent opportunities. People are desperate for an answer. Even atheist doctors in Italy confess that only God can help us.  People are extremely sensitive for guidance. Church leaders are forced to look for new strategies when the normal services cannot take place anymore. The inner deficiencies of the old model of a professional clergy operating in a building on fixed times are clear for everybody to observe. Old answers do not satisfy new and strange questions. The solution is not in new strategies – rather old strategies –2000 year old strategies – Jesus’s strategies – disciplemaking!

Remember to embrace the wonderful opportunities of these Covid 19-times. Lets live slower and deeper. The greater our intimacy with Jesus – the greater will be the impact of our lives. All of a sudden we have TIME – and thousands of opportunities – to serve.

Enjoy. Appreciate.

Remember!

Johann Theron

24 February 2020

Dear friends,

Kingfisher started out twenty years ago as an organisation mobilising churches to reach out to others in their own communities and beyond. Over the years we learned that the heart of church-life, the heart of all outreaches and community action as well as the core of a believer’s spirituality is about following Jesus. Without following, we are running programs that will make us tired and grumpy like someone pushing a wheelbarrow uphill all the time.

Therefore we rephrased our vision. “Our dream is to redirect (mobilise) the body of Christ towards a disciple-making lifestyle in all spheres of life.”

If we want to see God’s kingdom break through in the ordinary lives of ordinary people everywhere irrespective of culture, country or social status, this is what is needed most:

  • People consciously and with intent following Jesus
  • Following by being impacted by Jesus’s way of thinking, being transformed in their worldview and approach to life.
  • Following Jesus in practical ministry, reaching out to people in physical, emotional and spiritual need, those at the margins of society.

This is more than just knowing how to be saved or following the ideas of the Jesus of 2000 years ago. This is being impacted by the risen Lord himself. 

Jesus Christ makes himself present within the body when a small band of disciples gather in His name. As we follow Him step by step he reveals Himself in the words and ministry of a brother or sister so that not only we can see that He truly lives, but that the whole world can see that He is present in the lives of the disciple community.

I would like to challenge you to intentionally live the Kingdom lifestyle that you learned from Jesus himself as disciple groups. Through his death and resurrection and by the power of the Holy Spirit this is more than possible – it is the (super)natural expression of his presence amongst you. Then He himself (through you) will reach out to the broken, and draw them in, heal them, and make them instruments in His hands that will reach the world.

The secret then is simple: It is by being transformed, redirected, mobilised ourselves, that others will be transformed.


May this be your experience day by day.

Your brother

Piet