September 2021

Opportunities in challenging times

Covid is affecting our ministries decisively. We are very aware of what Covid robbed us of – how we are worse off than before – we are victims of the bat / laboratory in China. We feel uneasy, uninformed, unpowered to minister in a “off the map”-world. Covid stole from us – lives, plans, finances, answers. Former strategies are exactly this – former…  The temptation is to argue that we are only worse off – this virus is a threat – but once everything is normal again – everybody is vaccinated – we shall be able to sail the flat water in our flat water boats again.

However – Covid is not a pause – it’s a total reset for the ministry world. The abnormal is the new normal – the old will never return. And there are tremendous opportunities in times when “old answers” don’t work anymore – because the questions have changed fundamentally.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; And only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries”. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Bible is full of stories of the blessings to be discovered in crisis times:

·        Joseph’s perspective of how God used the tragedy of his brothers’ wrong decisions to save Israel (Gen 45)

·        In Acts 1 Jesus leaves the world. As they walk down the mountain Peter says to John: “Now we are in trouble”. Exactly this created the opportunity that Jesus can now be present everywhere – and the gospel flows to the whole world.

·        In Acts the church fights a dangerous new virus – the principle that God does not live in buildings. Threats must be eliminated. In this case the vaccination for this virus is to murder the virus super spreader, Stephen. The church does not have the capacity to think in a total new way about their strategy for ministry.

·        In Acts 8:1 – devastation, chaos, deaths – no believer would wish such a time of desolation for the church. And we read in Acts 8:4 that as they fled, they spread the gospel and new churches are birthed. Opportunities par excellence.

·        In Acts 10 the senior pastor – Peter is forced to rethink and re-strategize his ministry – he is offered the opportunity to eat unclean animals. By grasping this opportunity to think in a total new way non-Jews start streaming into the Kingdom.

·        In Acts 15 the church threatens the church. Missionaries bring reports of conversions and miracles amongst on-Jews. Instead of worship the church starts to lament. Instead of baptism they want to circumcise. Gracefully God changes their thinking and strategies and they grasp the opportunity.

It’s easier to wish the threat away and go back to what it was like before than to grasp the opportunities.

Many of us were forced to rethink and re-strategize our approaches – we shall do “carpe diem” – seize the opportunity – if we regard these changes not only as temporarily – for survival in challenging times – but if we can view it as a gift from God that must lead us into a new season.

The worst we can do is to go back to the situation in Egypt – as if we did not learn anything – as long as we can operate as we used to do.

Kingfisher itself had to totally rethink our ministry. In many situations we now have more students in more countries wanting to learn about disciplemaking – with more fruit – locals discipling others who create third generation disciples – believers whom the fulltime staff members of Kingfisher had never met – in disciplemaking groups that we did not form – in countries where we have never been.

We invite you to reflect on these questions:

1.    Which of the new strategies you had to implement were actually necessary corrections on your former practice?

2.    What are the advantages of your new way of doing?

3.    To which of your former strategies must you never go back to? What was the default of these former strategies?

We are excited about you, what you do and how you do it!

Johann Theron

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *