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.
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.
Jesus called the disciples to follow.
He only made them fishers of people years later.
But they followed immediately.
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.
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.
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.
One of the biggest dangers that threaten the western church to day is not the devil, secularism or even atheism, but our satisfaction with a kind of Christianity that is not found in Jesus’s teachings. Our satisfaction with a Bar-Code Faith. Think of the barcodes now used on goods in most stores. The scanner responds only to the barcode. It makes no difference what is in the bottle or package that bears it, or whether the sticker is on the “right” one or not. If the sticker that is supposed to be on the dog food fell off the package and was accidently stuck onto the maize meal – the scanner at the till responds through its electronic eye to the barcode and totally disregards everything else. It will read maize meal as dog food.
Toning down biblical discipleship into church-invented Christianity, intimate following of Jesus into church membership, accepting Jesus as your King ruling your everyday life into having Him only as your Saviour (an once upon a time decision – far away in the past) produces a Christianity that makes the salt tasteless, hides the light under a barrel – making the church co-responsible for the lostness of the world.
Kingfisher redirects the body of Christ into a different kind of discipleship where we see Jesus in a totally new view:
· He is a coach for everyday life – to be His student in kingdom living.
· Discipleship is to live interactively with Him – to be with Him and learn from Him – live each moment from the reality of the Kingdom of God – becoming like Him.
· I am learning from Jesus how to lead my life – my whole life, my real life – not only my “spiritual life” – my everyday, ordinary life.
Disciples of Jesus are people who do not just profess certain views as their own, but apply their growing understanding of life in the Kingdom to every aspect of their life on earth.
In contrast, the governing assumption today, among professing Christians, is that we can be “Christians” forever and never become disciples.
Our responsibility is to implement the Great Commission right where we are, not just to raise efforts to do it elsewhere. And if we don’t, it won’t even be implemented “over there.”
“From time to time starting a church may be appropriate. But His aim for us is much greater than that. He wants us to establish “beachheads” or bases of operation for the Kingdom of God wherever we are” (Dallas Willard)
The word “disciple” occurs 269 times in the New Testament. “Christian” is found three times.
Current Christianity have not made discipleship a condition of being a Christian. The result of our frantic efforts to lower the bar in order to get more members and more money is that it is very possible to remain a Christian without any signs of progress towards the character of Jesus – of repeating Jesus’s life.
Churches are filled with “undiscipled disciples”. People are baptised into church membership.
“The great omission from the great commission is – we lost what discipleship means. We have a Christianity without discipleship” (Dallas Willard)
“And a Christianity without discipleship is a Christianity without Christ” (Bonnhoeffer)
And so it became Christmas – the story of a God loving His people enough that He became like them – a baby – that they can become like Him.
To everybody in the Kingfisher-family: May you experience the unconditional love of God in a very real way in your family and your ministry this Christmas season and in 2020.
Following Jesus and suffering seem to go hand in hand. It is true in our personal lives as well as in ministry. There is a cost involve in being a disciple, in making disciples.
I wonder if you know what I’m talking about? If so, I want to remind you that you are not the only one. We share in an experience of a life with Christ. I want to encourage you today. Press on. Keep following. Dive even more into the life and strategy of Jesus.
At key moments in your life in Christ and in ministry, tragedy seems to strike.
Dan Allender writes in his book Cry of the Soul, “Suffering may be caused by the hand of an enemy, but God uses sorrow for the sake of redemption.”
There are two main things that make the cost worth it.
One is that in the midst of the pain we encounter, we know God more. Secondly, we have the joy of knowing our sacrifice will not be wasted.
While painful and extremely difficult, together with suffering comes blessing.
1. In the midst of the pain, we encounter and know God.
Many times, in the midst of loss and pain it feels as if God is silent or distant. He is not. As we walk through the hardship, He reveals Himself.
We have scars but are deeper in our faith. Faith that has been tested is a stronger kind of faith. The fire of adversity allows the true nature of God’s love to surface within our struggling hearts.
2. There is joy in knowing our sacrifice will not be wasted.
Lost people will be found by our Almighty God. The unreached will know the power of His radical, unconditional love. Whether today, tomorrow or years from now, the seeds sown by our tears and pain will bear much fruit.
I believe this with my whole heart.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8: 17- NIV
We identify with Jesus’ pain at the cross as we willingly accept the trials we face as ambassadors of good news. “For the hope set before Him, he endured the cross…” (Heb. 12:2).
As Tim Hansel writes, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.”
We don’t have to be miserable. Living our lives full of hope is our inheritance from God. Press in to discover God’s goodness and character in the midst of your difficulty. Hold onto the dream and remember the promises of God. He is faithful. Your suffering will not be in vain.
There will be hardships when you try to redirect the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of life. It shows you are on the right track – the track of truth and life.
If you feel the price is too high. Be real with God. Tell Him how you feel. Receive His strength and grace today.
According to our vision statement, Kingfisher redirects the body of Christ towards a disciple-making lifestyle in all spheres of life. We know that we need a strategy that is simple and based on the same disciple-making principles that we love to preach and teach about. In short, even in our strategy we have to walk the walk that we talk!
Our strategy rests on three legs, just like the famous South-African cast iron pots that we all love so much.
Every member of the Kingfisher family should make disciples, following the content, method and style Jesus did. We all need to put our convictions into practise and do!
We teach the principle of disciple-making on every platform that we have access to: churches, Bible schools, seminaries, small groups and much more. Sow the seed everywhere! Many will be impressed, and some will apply it in their own lives and ministries.
We identify those with an apostolic-prophetic approach who will take the message and run with it, becoming mobilisers who will impact their own regions, countries and communities. Without them taking the baton the dream of a movement bigger than we are will never come true.
The wonderful and joyous news is that we have all three legs of the pot standing firm in Africa, Eastern Europe and South-East Asia. We cannot always go public with names and pictures as some of the key people live in countries that do not tolerate the Christian community growing, but they are taking up responsibility.
We had the privilege of having a group like that in our home for two weeks. It was intense and focused. Living as a community of disciples, following in Jesus’s footsteps.
Even more, we are not the only ones! All over the world, the Lord is calling other organisations, ministries and individuals to the same task. This is a task worthwhile to live for and to die for. This is exactly what our Lord did.
“Some people still think discipleship is passing on a lot of “head knowledge” about God in classrooms. But discipleship that transforms lives (and changes the world) needs to happen in everyday life. Jesus modelled disciple-making in the normal stuff of life… a unique combination of organized and organic rhythms and experiences. Everyday discipleship in the rhythms of normal life is the key to growing in maturity and making it “sticky” and super-reproducible.”
Last night we presented the third session of our workshop Making disciples like Jesus in a local church, where we walk step by step in the footsteps of Jesus through the gospel of Matthew.
We discovered how Jesus created learning experiences for his disciples by interacting with ordinary people in ordinary settings within local communities. We agreed that if we want to help others to follow Jesus, we would have to do the same. We would have to get out of our comfort zones, out of our homes and into society. During discussion time it was clear that very few of the eighteen, all mature and well-rooted believers, had the slightest idea how to do the same in our suburban context. It was easy to discuss and understand what Jesus did. It was much more difficult to find creative solutions for really interacting with our community.
We found that we have very little contact with our neighbours, that our relationships at work is formal and sterile and that we cannot easily think outside the box.
So there is hard work ahead if we want to make disciples like Jesus did.
We will have to change our way of thinking. We will need metanoia – the Biblical word that we normally translate with the word repentance. We will have to think upside down and inside out! It may be a difficult and even painful process, but there is no other way of following in the footsteps of our Master. We will have to think like he did about life, community and our calling. And then we will have to do as he did.
Caesar Kalinowski’s remarks point to the uncomfortable fact that following in Jesus’ footsteps in a practical way is just as difficult for other believers in other countries and on other continents.
We may blame our culture, secularisation and the rat-race we easily get caught up into. But in the end there is just one solution: Repent and follow!
Your brother in Christ,
29 July 2019
We want to mobilise people to make the Kingdom of God a reality, people praying for the coming of the Kingdom, addressing the need in the world, transforming all spheres of life and living as disciple makers. To mobilise effectively we should study the way Jesus made the Kingdom a reality and started His Kingdom movement. We must learn to follow His lead. He created the best space where He could influence and change people’s lives according to God’s way. He created community. Within community He mobilised people to change the world. He discipled them in community life, a small group setting. The early Christians recognized it, followed the example and the outcome speaks for itself – for 300 years the church has grown at a rate we have not match up till this day.
Many people in the West have a problem with community. We love to believe in the rugged individual who never needs anyone else. This notion has infiltrated Christianity so that we primarily think of our faith in “personal” terms. We think of our “personal relationship” with Jesus and our private “spiritual walk”. We often attend Christian events with lots of other Christians, but we’re not necessarily involved in anyone’s life. We can attend a worship service with thousands of other people, yet live out the bulk of our faith isolated–just us and our bibles. Living a life secluded from others, we cannot disciple others.
Individualism does not seem to match the expectation God gives his people in the scriptures. God shows us that love, demonstrated in and through sacrificial, gospel-fueled community, will have transforming effects in lives and communities. God expects his people to live and grow in community.
Joseph Hellerman argues in his book, “When The Church Was A Family”: Spiritual formation occurs primarily in the context of community. People who remain connected with their brothers and sisters in the local church almost invariably grow in self-understanding, and they mature in their ability to relate in healthy ways to God and to their fellow human beings. It is a simple but profound biblical reality that we both grow and thrive together or we do not grow much at all.
We need each other in order to be transformed. And it is as we learn to accept being wronged instead of insisting on our own rights (1 Corinthians 6:7), when we learn the humble confidence of considering others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), when we learn to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-5), and as we strive to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3) in front of and with those who don’t yet believe that we live as a city on a hill, as we “shine like lights in the world” in the midst of a “crooked and twisted generation (Philippians 2:15).
The New Testament assumes that: Love, demonstrated in and through sacrificial, gospel-fuelled community is the centre of missional discipleship. By “missional discipleship”, I simply mean that “discipleship” is the entire trajectory of the Christian life, including coming to faith. It does not begin “at salvation”, nor does it end at some point of spiritual maturity. “Discipleship” should be understood in terms of “mission” because we exist to make, mature and multiply disciples. The very nature of “discipleship” is always striving to bring people closer to Jesus, no matter where they might be at on the spectrum. Discipleship is joining in the missio dei, the mission of God and when you do this together in community, God’s Kingdom would become a reality – just as in Jesus’ time.
Greetings and love
Dear Kingfisher family,
After Sunday morning service Roger Perkins from Higher Ground Foundation posted on FaceBook a few paragraphs that express my experience as well as that of many others.
It occurred to me during our excellent church service this morning that the purpose of our services is to provide Inspiration and an Invitation to go deeper in the journey towards character growth and stewardship.
Therein lies the problem. Many to do not have the necessary religious structures in place to go into deeper levels of Insight, Integration of Identity, Involvement in the lives of others that emanates from Intimacy with God.
There’s more to this I’m processing but I began to see the role of the church better as it has been shaped by culture. As good as it is, it just doesn’t go far enough and most people lack the know-how to take themselves further than Inspiration and Invitation. We walk out feeling good about what we just experienced but the thing ends within minutes.
The music was outstanding. Our pastor’s message was powerful. As good as I’ve heard. But I need to put in place the additional structures I need to gain Identity from Intimacy with the Divine.
The good news is, the means to personal growth, becoming a devoted disciple, are not a mystery. I have been watching men’s lives being changed for years. They work at doing the spiritual disciplines that “renew the mind”. It’s not magic. It is slow and herky-jerky at times. But it works. It works anywhere without any professional leadership.
Like Roger Perkins and others, Kingfisher has the vision to equip and guide local churches and other expressions of the body of Christ to bridge the gap between a wonderful service on Sunday and real life out there during the rest of the week. We have a desire to see people being discipled towards personal transformation and making an impact on others around them as well as the community where they live.
Whether you focus as a mobiliser and Kingdom activist is towards evangelisation, missions, pastoral care or community development, real practical discipleship is where it starts. That changes lives and communities. As Roger says: “”It’s not magic. It is slow and herky-jerky at times. But it works. It works anywhere without any professional leadership.”
They are not always visible, but are a growing swell of simple folk who just want to live like salt and light in a broken world. The same way Jesus did.
These are people who are making friends with no strings attached—just out of love for others. They genuinely care about the people around them and others are surprised by this brand of ‘Christianity’ that is both compassionate and deeply personal.
These are people who are starting simple gatherings around food, or videos, or a Bible study in their neighbourhoods, or in their work place, or local coffee shop. They are not counting numbers or marking their success by how many meetings they start. Yet, they are passionate that others encounter Jesus.
These are people who are finding new ways to use their God-given gifts and passions to help others and in the process see Jesus glorified. They are starting simple ministries, or opening their doors to neighbours, or visiting jails, or preparing for careers where their gifts can be fully invested for the Kingdom within their society, or pioneering non-profits.
These are people who are scheming ways to reach out and touch the deepest needs of their communities without seeking credit for their efforts.
These are people who build authentic relationships that draw others out and that make room for deep connections leading to changed lives.
These are people who are working among some of the less-acceptable people in our society: the mentally ill, the sexually addicted, the repeat offenders.
These are people who are selling their homes and moving to Tanzania, because God has spoken to them about a group of people there who are broken and oppressed, but who have never heard the name of Jesus.
These are people who are simply learning to live their lives naturally, yet supernaturally, in whatever way God has made him/her, enjoying life while being a genuine God-lover in a world that is becoming more and more love-less.
These are people who will not be writing books or blog posts about what they are doing. Their ‘results’ may not make the traditional church world stand up and applaud. In fact, many of their closest Christian friends may not think much of them.
These are people who will never make headlines. They may never have something that could be labelled a ‘ministry’ or recognized as a ‘movement.’ They are motivated, instead, by the longing to just follow Jesus.
These are people who are seeking to live their lives fully around their love for Jesus and their desire to hear and follow His voice alone. Their follower-lifestyle invites others to do the same.
These are people who would not think of themselves as revolutionaries. But they are. They are part of the quiet, underground swell of simple folk who want to do nothing more than love God and love others—simply, organically, authentically, and purposefully.
This gives me great encouragement that a true revolutionary wave is growing.
Disciple making is primarily about adding – adding new coverts to the Kingdom, adding spiritual growth towards believers, adding to the image of God in people’s lives.
But Disciple making is also about letting go, about saying no, about releasing…
Everybody cannot disciple anybody. Every person is not necessarily your “man of peace”. God has prepared certain people to be discipled by specific people. Jesus Himself said in Luke 10 that “maybe your peace is not accepted by a specific house”. And then He nudges them to “leave this house”. Naturally we must love everywhere – in all situations and in all relationships – but be not disappointed if our love is not returned. Jesus’ love was and is still refused today. Even by the church…. For the same reason only 25% of the seed sown will grow – the rest is hard soil, thorns, thistles, shallow ground. But we cannot abstain from sowing because 75% of the seed goes “wasted”. In fact – we did not listen ourselves when God spoke to us the first time. We are thorns and thistles that later turned into fruitful soil. Leave and go and spend 80% of your time among the 20% of the people that have been prepared.
You are not your failures. You are not the numbers in your ministry. You are not the abundant seed that was apparently sown in vain.
Recently I had the privilege of conducting disciple making workshops in another country. Time and again the argument rose : “we spend so much time, energy and resources in discipling individuals – and then they kick me in the back – leaving my church – my sphere of influence”. The unspoken question is: “Is disciple making worthwhile?”.
If your motive was your church – your empire – your own kingdom where you are god and your will must be obeyed – disciple making will not be worthwhile. Leave your disciples to leave you. To go and start other ministries, other churches – that might even grow bigger than your own – and rejoice. Because it is about God’s Kingdom. Our disciples are not like our bank accounts where we deposit with the motive to withdraw for our own sake again. I cannot give away and loose what did not belong to me in the first instance. My gifts of discipling, my resources, my time, my energy – it’s not mine – all of this was given to me – to be a steward of it and allocate it to God’s people. I am not the owner. It’s not my resources that was wasted – I was only the channel through which God blessed others. Leave your disciples – by allowing them to leave you – and glorify God in what they do – reaching people you would have never reached.
Disciple making is about offering what God entrusted to you. “Leaving” is a Kingdom paradigm.
All of love and appreciation.
Dear Kingfisher family
From time to time someone asks: “What is happening in Kingfisher nowadays? Are you still going strong?” and even, “Do you still exist or did you close down like many ministry organisations because of financial constraints?”. I am sure these questions could only come from someone who does not get our monthly newsletter. So please send this letter to your family and friends who may be interested and had contact with us throughout the years. You can even send an email address to firstname.lastname@example.org to add to our database.
So are we still active? Yes, we are! I am back just now from a visit to South Asia. Johann visits Eastern Europe regularly for months at a time and is involved in Africa from time to time. Dirk focuses on Africa as well as overseeing the whole movement internationally and all of us are involved in training and equipping faith communities right here in South Africa. Even more, Keith who permanently lives in Ukraine joined our team full time and just during the past weeks, we had requests from more than one longtime partner in South Asia who indicated the desire to be part of our team of equippers and enablers. And there are also others like Stephen who has a day job but accomplishes even more than we could have dreamt in Eastern Africa. And then there are other long coming trained brothers like Richard who recently visited America and Bernard who has a heart for South West Asia and already visited that area twice. And so I can go on.
Sometimes we are a little bit hesitant to share stories where individuals could be identified.Many stories are told in face to face settings in churches and other meetings rather than on an open platform like this. We need to protect people’s privacy and often their personal security and that of their families, as not all live in open and safe societies.
“So what do you actually do?”, I had been asked recently. What we do is equipping and mobilising the body of Christ towards a disciple-making lifestyle. We use various workshops and personal guidance as well as online assistance through YouTube and Skype as well as other social media as needed.
The feedback that we get is very positive. Just one example from a pastor, leader and facilitator that guides and mentors rural church planters in a remote area:
“I am on a follow-up visit to all the brothers that came to the Discipleship Workshop in Xxxxx. Everyone is super excited and continue to study and apply the Matthew Pattern! We look forward to your next visit!”
What we realise though is that developing a disciple-making lifestyle is not easy and cannot be done overnight. Most of us have to unlearn a lot, actually adopting a new world view based on being a follower of Jesus. Even new believers come with the expectation that following Jesus is mainly about attending worship services and becoming a spiritual spectator instead of becoming part of the body of Christ, discipling others. Although all meetings can be of benefit, the real growth towards maturity happens when being discipled as part of the body. When that happens and a believer starts to function according to his/her calling, discipling each other as part of a five-fold team, there is a natural flow without the stress and frustrations as when it is done alone without the rest of Christ’s body.
The implication is that Kingfisher is committed to long term relationships. It is not good enough to deliver training material and then run off. We are part of the body and want to be there for the duration of the journey.
All of the above needs resources. Pray with us for the people needed, infrastructure as well as financial input needed to establish long term fruit in the body of Christ.
I believe the body of Christ is in a process of discovering more and more what Jesus’ original intend was for His body. We are growing into it and it is built on foundations laid in the past. It is not something new – it is something old but new for us who are discovering, experiencing and obeying it.
Here in the beginning of 2019 I think about the movement Jesus started. We know we have a role to play in it. We as Kingfisher family wants to faithfully participate in establishing His kingdom and fully live according to our function in this regard.
According to Dr Paul Pierson there are factors observed when discoveries are made in becoming new, becoming more and more like Jesus, being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. This process is like a wave and has lows and highs. Now and then we experience peaks which some will call ‘renewal movements’. I believe we are in the midst of one.
Look at these factors prayerfully one by one. Distinguish and discover your participation in Jesus’ movement.
– They always begin on the periphery of the institutional church
– They are motivated by a transforming experience (grace) of God by an individual or group. – The result is the desire for a more authentic Christian life that often leads to concern for the church and world. – Face to face groups for prayer, Bible study, mutual encouragement are important. – New methods of selecting and training leaders become important. These are less institutional, more grass roots and lay oriented. – There are theological breakthroughs, that is, rediscovery of aspects of the Biblical message that have been forgotten or overlooked by the Church, usually they involve a focus on the gifts of every believer. – There is a levelling effect, distance decreases between clergy and laity, social classes, races, men and women, and denominations. – The movement is counter-cultural in some ways, often because it reaches out to those who have not been valued by their society.
– Consequently there will be opposition by many in the dominant culture and church. – There will often be manifestations of spiritual warfare. Such movements sense the reality of evil and the need to recognize the victory of Christ in the cross and resurrection. – At times there will be unusual manifestations of the power of the Holy Spirit; healings, visions, glossolalia, miracles. etc. – More flexible structures of church and mission will be needed and often emerge, different from traditional structures. – The movement will be led to significant re-contextualisation of the Christian message, which will be communicated more widely by lay persons to those outside the church. – New music is often a characteristic. – Biblical concepts ignored by the traditional church but relevant to the hearers are often discovered. – There will be a growing concern for the marginalized, often expressed in ministries of compassion. – At a later stage this often leads to concern for broader social transformation. – As the movement matures there will be concern for the renewal of the broader church. – As the movement continues to mature many will see themselves not only as part of the particular movement but as citizens of the Kingdom of God, transcending their own movement. – Finally, every movement is less than perfect and often messy at the edges and sometimes, at the center.
The Kingfisher family can identify with most factors above. Jesus is doing His transformational work in and through us. Our part to play is to redirect the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of life. But we cannot do it alone – we need you on this journey.
We are on an adventure. Let us work together and faithfully play our part.
Blessings and love for 2019.
Please pray for us.
Christmas 2018 is a reminder of God’s INTENTIONAL love. Christmas is the result of two intentional decisions :
The Almighty Father deciding that He loves His creation so much that He will intentionally do anything in His power to win them back.
The obedient Son who decided intentionally that He will be obedient. Jesus did not become human just to please His Father – He agreed that intentional love – not counting the cost – is what is needed that people can experience life in abundance.
All of us want people to meet Jesus – which is their only hope.
All of us wish that everybody will be saved – which is the heart of Jesus.
All of us hope that the Kingdom will come – Jesus worked and died for this.
In Christmas however we do not celebrate Jesus’ “wanting, wishing, hoping” that people will be saved. We celebrate His intentional doing everything that is needed that people can experience His love.
He purposefully decided to :
Ø Enter the darkest, most depressing, evil sectors of humanity – to redeem exactly that.
Ø Place Himself in environments that He is totally unfamiliar with. (Imagine the vast difference between heaven and earth).
Ø Encounter types of people that everybody else wanted to avoid.
Ø Build intimate relationships with those on the fringes, the lowest of society, the poor, the ……………………..
This is the essence of disciple making – followers of Jesus repeating His intentionality.
ü Purposefully putting themselves in relationships where decent people like them are not expected to be seen.
ü Finding themselves in situations where totally different values than their own prevail.
ü Saying no – doing no – acting no – to their comfort zones.
This is what Kingfisher wants to help people with.
Thanks for praying and working with us in 2018. We appreciate our relationship. We value you.
Have a blessed Christmas.
Be a blessed Christmas.
Dear brothers and sisters
On my return to South Africa after an absence of a few years, we moved to a new suburban community in a city distant from where we lived previously.
One of the first impressions was that there were churches everywhere: denominational churches, independent churches, traditional churches, evangelical churches, Pentecostal churches and charismatic churches. There are even churches that cannot be classified as belonging to any of the categories above. My task as a mobiliser was to visit them and get to know them. I could not visit all of them yet, but those I did visit all had some kind of outreach in the community and are involved in missionary work elsewhere in Africa or the East.
So, we as a family would walk without announcement into their meetings on a Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon and observe. Although it was clear that we were visitors and even indicated that when we had the opportunity, we very seldom were welcomed at all. Nobody wanted to know who we are, where we live or why we crossed their doorstep. That was true of all the churches irrespective of their background, theological and spiritual approach or worship style. It seems that churches are so focused on their own fellowship that they just do not know how to reach out even if strangers walk into their meetings! I thought my ministry would be to get them to reach out to the outside world. Now I realised I have to begin one step earlier: I have to help them how to react when strangers cross their doorstep before I can expect them to reach out to the lost, the broken and the destitute.
This does not mean that these churches are lukewarm of dying at all. All had very good attendance and it was clear that the members like each other and are really good friends. The music was excellent in many cases and the atmosphere created by the leaders conducive to spiritual growth.
The only problem was that despite outreaches on their program, outward focusing slogans, and even strong evangelistic indications in the names of some of these churches, all the passion they had for church life was focused on strengthening the mutual fellowship and individual spiritual well-being.
I am sure that this is not only true of the community where I live, but is the case for many others all over the world.
Brothers and sisters, there is work to be done!
In our journey to understand Jesus’ way of disciple making, we discovered a few things worth mentioning again. I will do it in short statements. This is not the place to explain it, but I hope you will read it carefully and think it over in the light of your church/congregational experience.
Jesus is not interested in the growth of your congregation – He is interested in Kingdom growth
The essence and life of disciple making cannot be taught in a classroom, program or action of your congregation – it is a lifestyle to learn and to be practiced in ordinary life in all spheres of society
Evangelism is not disciple making – it is part of disciple making. Disciple making is about the transformation of your will, thoughts, emotions, spirit, values, culture, society, etc. into the image of Jesus Christ in order to be like Christ, to do like Christ
An environment in which a disciple making relationship starts very naturally, is often in engaging and addressing people’s needs
Our tendency is to create a comfort zone for ourselves (look-alikes and think-alikes) to shelter us from the world and its influences. Jesus has a heart for the unreached, the lost and the marginalized (the uncomfortables) – He reached out to them! We are not supposed to live defensive, but offensive – with Jesus, on the go, to seek and save the lost.
Most congregations have a ‘come here’-strategy – a ‘become like us’-strategy. Jesus taught a go-strategy. He was always on the go with His disciples. Jesus in us will urge us to be on the go.
We are glad if we can add a few congregants (from other churches) or converts to our faith community each year. Jesus’ strategy and mathematics look different – He taught a strategy of multiplication = disciple making.
Leadership in our congregations is mostly positional and hierarchical. This is not the leadership demonstrated by Jesus. Leadership according to Jesus and Paul is functional and is present as a gift to equip the believers for their works of service and to facilitate God’s presence among His people
Every follower of Jesus is called to make disciples
The best space where Jesus disciple His followers is in a small group where everyone participates, where everyone has a contribution to make, where Jesus can freely flow through everyone to everyone
Jesus, our High Priest, is the best Teacher and He teach perfect and directly through His Word and His Spirit to everyone seeking God’s will in the Bible. Everyone can hear Him first hand. There is no need for a human mediator. Jesus the only true mediator between God and man, is enough and able to transform lives via His Word
The key to transformation is obedience. People will not change with more and more knowledge, but through obedience.
Please think this over. Please talk about the statements with your colleagues and friends. Is this mindset part of your makeup and practice in your congregation and life? Have you implemented this paradigm in your ministry and life? With what do you agree or disagree? What is difficult and why?
This is just part of the paradigm shift Kingfisher is sharing to our friends and family. Our message is not popular at all, but we have a specific calling to deliver this. We are excited about the growth in receptiveness to the message. As followers of Jesus we want to become like Him and to do the things He did. We must help each other. Please pray for us to continue sowing this seed and for more open hearts.
Blessings, greetings and love
I just returned from Zambia where Kingfisher’s Disciple making Workshop was presented to pastors. It was an extremely blessed experience. The one thing that the Spirit impressed in a very real way on our minds is that the call to become disciple makers comes from a God who loves us UNCONDITIONALLY. The mere fact that He calls (even) us is a sign of Unconditional love.
I wrote about this “Unconditional” in a previous newsletter. I just turned 60. I am in ministry for 33 years. I heard about God’s love for me since childhood. What I still battle to understand is His love being unconditional.
Because I live in a world that loves conditionally. If I perform, if I have, if I succeed, if people think I am okay – I get applause and recognition. “Tit for tat”. I am as good as my last good deed. I am as bad as my last failure. My performance determines my worth. The size of my church – the effect of my ministry tells the world who I am.
God’s love is UNCONDITIONAL. Even if I decide I will serve Him more – He will not love me more. If I decide to do more sin – He will not love me less. Because He loves me anyway – with a perfect love.
God does not love. God IS unconditional love. God cannot do everything – He cannot stop loving me.
He makes us in His image – and then we return the favour – and make Him into our image – thinking He loves like the world loves – conditionally. We presume that, because we find ourselves to be less than lovable, God sees us that way too. This idea is reinforced by judgmental faith communities. This human-patterned version of God, is a gross distortion of the reality.
If unconditional love does exist, it must be unconditional. God loves us regardless of what we do. God loves us as we are today, with all the complexity and imperfection and failure that we carry. God loves us, even when we are disappointed in ourselves, even when we find it almost impossible to face ourselves, let alone love ourselves.
We hear another voice – the voice that says : “You are not good enough”. “You are not allowed to make mistakes”. “Your value is based on your success, your possessions, your intelligence”.
Honestly ask yourself :
Do you believe that God loves the most holy man you know (Maybe the Pope)?
Do you believe that God loves the worst criminal in your country?
Do you believe that God loves them equally?
Do you believe this about yourself?
We are so aware of what and who we are not. This inferiority disease spreads throughout our lives. We think thoughts like, ‘I am no good’, ‘I can’t do anything right’, ‘I’m no use to anyone’, ‘I’ll never be able to do it’, ‘I can’t accept myself ’ … and the list goes on. We struggle to believe that God has unique purposes for our earthly sojourn and, instead, become paralysed by a haunting sense of insignificance that leaves us feeling isolated.
The biggest sin is the sin of self-rejection. Because this calls God a liar.
Hear God saying to you today :
“You were loved before a star was placed in the sky. Before you were born. You were loved into existence. Before your parents, friends or congregation members loved you. Imperfect love from people cannot determine your worth”.
We know about God’s love in theoretical terms, but there seemed to be a yawning chasm between the knowledge in our head and the experience of our heart.
This contra-culture unconditional love is the basis of:
God’s call to us as disciple
Our “cannot say to such an offer” decision of following Him
Our disciple making.
Are you a disciple? A disciple maker?
Dear Kingfisher family
On our web page, we write: Kingfisher redirects the body of Christ towards a disciple-making lifestyle in all spheres of life. On the surface, this sounds easy and exactly what every faith community should do naturally. The painful reality is that at most a very small group of believers are actually discipled towards a lifestyle of disciple-making and that active, good churches, find it very difficult to change the way they function.
The change needed is not only a matter of changing programmes of operational approach on an organisational level, but a whole mindset that needs to be changed. When Jesus announces the beginning of his ministry saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” Mat 4:17 , the word translated as “repent” includes in this specific context a change of mindset, a change in the way the hearers are thinking about the implications and reality of the Kingdom breaking through in the person and ministry of Jesus.
To redirect the way in which a church thinks about disciple-making away from an educational programme or an induction process for new believers towards a lifestyle approach, takes a huge effort and some risk, which small and young faith communities navigate much easier than older and bigger churches.
From systems analysis we learn that in doing a radical change-over there are a number of approaches available:
Direct changeover means that from a given date the whole church will change to a new approach, new mindset and new practice. Where established churches tried this with much zeal, it flopped spectacularly. You cannot get a big ship to change direction so easily and in the end, resistance to change and cumbersome ministry and leadership structures are just too much. Small and energetic new faith communities find that it is easy to convince everybody and just be obedient!
In implementing pilot changeover, a test run is done with a small group within the bigger body of the church. They go through the whole learning process of adopting a new lifestyle, they learn from their trial and error mistakes and then come back to the whole church with a success story. The advantages for bigger churches are obvious and the risk minimal up to the point when the others have to be convinced without having been through the learning experience themselves.
Some churches going through a period of fundamental change adopt a phased approach, beginning with the section of church life that can adapt to change the easiest – say the youth or young adults, then moving to other sections of the church body until the whole transition took place. On the positive side, that means that early success from a group that wanted a new lifestyle and approach could spill over to others as it builds momentum. On the other hand, if the phases do not overlap close enough and the process begins to lag, momentum could be fatally lost.
Faith communities doing a parallel changeover would start a new ministry in parallel, even using different venues and a different name. They then continue with the old ministry as before, with no intention of closing it down, but at the same time beginning something new with a few dedicated early adopters and new disciples who come in through the new approach. To do justice to both faith communities and not drain the energy of the leadership completely, requires a balancing act that can be difficult to attain. The proverbial traditional church beginning a parallel ministry in a local bar without any of the new converts being introduced to regular morning service is a well-known example.
When you realise that your faith community has to go through a major transition that includes a completely different mindset and approach to ministry, thinking and praying through the nuts and bolts options as a body, will be crucial. No one approach will be the obvious best as churches and cultures differ too much. Although you will have to make an informed decision eventually it can only be built on prayer and guidance by the Holy Spirit in a process of listening and discernment.
During the last 25 years, I have seen all these approaches being tried. I saw a few succeed and many fail with the visionary leader realising that the best approach would have been to resign and begin completely afresh.
What is your experience? How did you go about changing entire mindsets when it comes to a disciple-making lifestyle?
I want to ask you a question. Is there a better way to impact the world for Jesus? I come across many people with many answers. And yes, the answer is definitely not one dimensional, but multi-dimensional.
Kingfisher discovered the strong conviction through the years that we want to answer this question by focusing on disciple making. We believe this was Jesus’ commission to His people. Therefore, we unpack disciple making different than others – more multi-dimensional. Of course it is about getting people into a relationship with Jesus, but it is also about addressing their needs. In short – disciple making is about the transformation of your whole life, every aspect of it, and your community, etc.
Dale Losch at crossworld.org wrote about his desire for the future regarding our Commission and start it with, “I Have A Dream”…. It resonated in my heart, because this is Kingfisher’s prayer. This is what we work towards.
“I dream of a world where disciple-making is a reality and not just an ideal; where disciples make disciples who make disciples and unleash the explosive power of spiritual multiplication.
I dream of a world where all believers embrace their individual calls and all professions are employed in the cause to disciple the nations; where cross-cultural disciple-makers from secular professions outnumber vocational Christian workers 100 to 1.
I dream of a world where the church is defined as a group of fervent followers on mission to extend the Kingdom of God rather than as buildings, programs, and numbers of Christians.
I dream of a world where the good news of Jesus impacts not just a person’s eternity, but all of life here and now.
I dream of a world where every city on earth has a vibrant community of reproducing disciple-makers who will infuse all of society like yeast permeates dough.
And I dream of a world where to be a Christian is to be known as a lover of God, of people, and of life.
In short, I dream of disciple-makers from all professions bringing God’s love to life in the world’s least-reached marketplaces…
It is first and foremost a dream of unleashing the power of real disciple-making. It is based on the conviction that this is exactly what Jesus told us to do, and if we will do it, the Great Commission will be completed in our lifetime.”
Come, let us persevere and passionately work together towards this reality in Jesus name.
Greetings and love to you all.
Dear Kingfisher friends
What is the purpose of Disciple making – not more people in heaven, not that people are saved for eternity, not that we can stay in a better world – but – the Glory of God.
But how is God glorified?
By obedient followers living a counterculture-lifestyle – doing what Jesus would have done if He was us – in every ordinary situation. Repeating His life. Christianity is not about following rituals – Islam is. Buddhism is. His call is not : “Follow rituals”. It is “Follow ME”.
It is possible to know the Ten Commandments, to go to church often, to tithe, to be involved in ministry, to read the Bible, pray and even preach – but do all of this because it is (good) rituals. Very often all these rituals do not lead to life transformation – the character of Christ is not revealed more and more, there is very little growth if measured against the fruit of the Spirit. Very often the darkness in the world is not the result of the devil’s work – but because of the church – following rituals, but not repeating Jesus’s life.
Discipleship is: “The Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself” (Dallas Willard)
A pastor from a mainline denomination told me last week that when he started ministry in his city 30 years ago there were 27 pastors in his denomination – now there are only 7 left. Churches are shrinking – most churches in his area either are dying, staying the same size or growing at an insignificant rate. Nobody can accuse the church of not having services, meetings and budgets – just no new conversions. In cities and towns where the population is growing…. 30 years ago these pastors had access to about 13 000 people in their churches in a city of 250 000 people. Add the Christians in the other denominations in this city as well and you have a considerable “workforce”. The odds against the few Christians at Pentecost against the Roman empire of about 50 million were much bigger… How different could this city have been if all the churchgoers-lived lives that were opportunities to experience Jesus’s presence. Sport stadiums in this city would have been too small for church services.
A church that lost the vision and strategy of disciple making.
Acts tell the story of 3000 or 5000 conversions in a single day. People streaming to the church. Christians changing the culture – the intrinsic values of their society. Influencing government – to a point where emperor Constantine preferred to appoint Christians in his army and civil service – Christians were so hardworking and trustworthy.
Their secret : No evangelism programmes or crusades, no “how to conversion-programmes”, no mass marketing – simply the totally different lives of Jesus’s followers – doing what He would have done if He was them.
Where and how do we test the “success” of a church? Often by what happens on a Sunday from 10h00 -12h00. By the number of people supporting the programmes of the church. Can we hold another mirror up for our people – not the mirror of the (local) church, but the mirror of Jesus’s life and values. The mirror of Matthew 5.
Disciplemaking is not to bring people to rituals – the Kingdom is not about going to heaven after you die – it is about experiencing and bringing heaven to earth before you die.
All our love and appreciation!
Kingfisher is a mutual interdependent expression of the body of Christ ministering to each other wherever the Lord connects us irrespective of language, culture or country. During the past few weeks, I had contact with some Kingfisher people that we did not hear from for some time, and all with good news.
Pastor Ruhweza James from Uganda wrote about a school that came about after some Kingfisher training. There are now 184 Children from a desperately poor background who are cared for and discipled every day.
Pastor MarkKolo from Kenya is discipling University students and will shortly begin to adapt our material for the specific audience and their need.
Through WhatsApp, there was contact with a huge number of pastors and missionaries who attended a month of training in 2005. They testified to the fruit that grew from the teaching and relationships of more than a decade ago.
Brother David Ige writes in his personal newsletter from the Gambia how he uses indigenous music to reach the youth in a very special way and then disciple them.
Brother Vikrant Bhandari writes about the blessing it was to receive brother Dirk and Johann for a time of focused training in Dehradoon, North India.
Brother Johann Theron writes in a newsletter about doors that just continue to be open in Bulgaria and how ordinary simple people are transformed to the image of Christ.
My wife and I experience the joy of discipling a family that opened their house to us 20 years ago and when we recently met them again wanted to grow in their capacity to minister as the Lord intended.
I could continue in the same vein and many of you could add more examples. What all of these testimonies have in common is the availability and teachability of people within the body of Christ and their desire to be used within the Kingdom for God’s own purpose. We are blessed through them and they through us. Together we discover what it means to be called to be part of the Kingdom breaking through.
May all the blessings of our heavenly Father be yours in abundance,
A few years ago Mike Breen wrote an article named: “Why Most Church Discipleship Plans Fail”. I have seen ‘Discipleship Plans Fail’. Many church leaders are despondent – they ‘tried’ discipleship, but nothing really changed. The mistake we often make is to make something so dynamic and organic to fit into our paradigms.
For example: We can try discipleship to grow our church; Jesus is not interested – discipleship is for Kingdom growth. We can try to run and control discipleship in programs or actions of the congregation; Jesus is not interested – discipleship is a lifestyle in all spheres of life. We can minimize disciple making to evangelism; Jesus is not interested – it’s about the transformation of one’s whole life, about transformation of culture and communities. The Kingdom of God (Jesus’ life) must define discipleship – that is why biblical discipleship is need orientated and is always focused on seeking and saving the lost.
An excerpt from above mentioned article is helping with much needed perspective regarding discipleship.
“Undoubtedly, one of the key components to being a disciple is to care deeply about mission. In Christendom, it seemed that people thought of discipleship as only an “inner” reality that sought the transformation of the individual and mission was left on the sideline. As we have come to re-embrace the missio Dei — the reality that the God of mission sent his Son as the great rescuer, and we are to imitate him — I wonder if some within the “missional movement” are far more concerned with being missionaries/reformers than also seeking the transformation and wholeness that Christ is offering them personally.
What concerns me is that we have gone ditch to ditch. The reality is that both things are at work in being a disciple. The reality of living more fully in the Kingdom of God is that we are being put back together through God’s grace, conforming more to the image of Jesus, having his heart and mind, and the overflow leads to Kingdom activity. That is why Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” Apart from the active work of Jesus in our lives, we cannot produce Kingdom fruit. To engage in Kingdom mission without being equally attentive to our own personal transformation (through relationship with the King) is like asking for a cheeseburger with no cheese. It stops being the very thing we’re asking for! By the same token, to be a “disciple” while not actively engaging in mission as a way of life is asking for a cheeseburger with no burger. Both are necessary. To be a disciple is to be a missionary.
If we look at it objectively, we see churches with discipling cultures (that focus mainly on the transformation of individual self) and churches with missional cultures (which focus on the transformation of the world/people around us), and we often see tensions between these two camps.
One has a clue, but no cause. The other has a cause, but no clue. High mission/low discipleship church cultures have issues with Biblical literacy, theological reflection, and deficiencies in character and Creed that, in the end, sabotage the very mission they’re about. Critics are rightly concerned that these kinds of churches are a hair’s breath away from heresy, with people largely not experiencing the depth and transformation of heart and mind Jesus invites us into. High discipleship/low mission church cultures have strength in the previous issues, but lack the adventurous spirit/heart of compassion and Kingdom compulsion that so stirred the Father into action that he sent his only Son to a world he so loved. Their transformation isn’t leading to the place God is taking them. Critics are rightly concerned that these kinds of churches will turn into Christian ghettos, creating people who lob “truth bombs” over their high, secure walls, creating an “us vs. them” mentality. In both, something is disastrously off.
As humans, we are creatures of overreaction, choosing polarities rather than living in tension. The truth is a TRUE discipling culture (as Jesus envisioned it) must have both. It’s not either/or; it’s both/and. We mustn’t choose between depth and breadth, but embrace the tension of having and shaping both in our communities.
CHARACTER AND COMPETENCY
At the end of the day, we can probably boil being a disciple down to two things: Character and Competency. We want the character that Jesus has, and we want to be able to do the things that Jesus could do (competency). Discipleship is learning, over the course of our lives, to become people who have both.
So how are we forming/discipling the people in our communities? This is only helpful if we’re truly honest.
• Character: Are their lives characterized by grace? Peace? Love? Transformation? Patience? Humility? A deep relationship with the Father? A love of the Scriptures? Can they submit? Do they see the world through the eyes of the Kingdom and not the prevailing culture? (Obviously, there’s a lot more, but you get the idea.)
• Competency: Can they disciple people well who can then disciple others? Can they do mission well? Can they hear the voice of their Father and respond with action, with His authority and power? When they pray, do things happen as they did for Jesus? Can they read and teach Scripture well? (Again, Jesus was able to do many things; this is but a short summary.)
These are Kingdom questions. These are Discipleship questions. Which is why I go back to the point that if you make disciples, you will always get the church, but if you make the church, you won’t always get disciples. If the people in your community are discipling people who can answer “yes” to those questions, you’re doing what Jesus asked you to do. You’ve sought first the Kingdom and the rest will be added.”
Thank you for every one with us on the journey to redirect the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of life. Let us pray for each other to persevere in our calling.
In this week of Easter I want to invite you to spend 10 minutes meditating on the attached painting. This event was the introduction to EASTER weekend – 2000 years ago (John 13).
An event that was supposed to be a blueprint for the DNA of the church – of DISCIPLE MAKING.
A few statements to meditate on as you spend time with the present Jesus looking at this painting :
Ø What does Jesus’s bare feet say about vulnerability – to a church very often characterised by power games, titles and hierarchal structures?
Ø Scripture states that Jesus took off His outer garment – only in His inner tunic – as they would do at home between friends – the living God offering sinners intimacy! Disciple making is repeating the Incarnation – doing ordinary things in ordinary situations with ordinary people.
Ø Peter’s outsize ears. It’s all about listening to Jesus.
Ø Jesus’s head on Peter’s heart – it’s all about listening to Peter’s heart movements – concealed motives and desires.
Ø Peter’s hands – the one saying “I want this” – the other screaming “I cannot handle / accept this”. Do you know this “push / pull” attitude. I surely want Jesus – but not so close – so intimately involved in my life. About which aspect?
Ø The symbol of water that cleanses from all dirt – which specific sin do you as a disciple want to confess in this week.
Ø Jesus’s image in the water – His face is always seen in trivial deeds of unconditional love – Disciple making is simply making Jesus’s love tangible in practical deeds of serving / “slaving”.
Ø Jesus could only bent so low – because He was so sure of who he was (verse 3). Disciple making flows from understanding and living your identity.
Ø The symbols of bread and wine : Disciple making is nothing else than “loving sinners to the utmost” (verse 1) by sacrificing yourself for your disciples.
If this is what Disciple making is all about – it is understandable why Christians are so abundant (the gospel is out), but Disciples so scarce (the gospel is out, but not in).
May this Easter give you a firsthand experience of the Living Jesus.
On our website we say that Kingfisher redirects the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of life. This is a tall order , but when we mobilise leaders and faith communities to be disciple makers in such a way that all spheres of life will be transformed , we see the excitement in the eyes and rising of hope in the voices , even of tired leaders and despondent pastors.
After training and mentoring events, we often get feedback from a few that their whole ministry is on a new track, that they have new energy and joy and that they can testify to the truth of the Gospel as they follow Jesus step by step, being witnesses of how first themselves and then whole communities get transformed to express the presence of Christ in a practical way.
We also get feedback of another kind, often long after and most often only at a follow up visit. We hear of churches where members chose to be passive spectators, where the expectations of denominational overseers or local power people prevented leaders from implementing a new and vibrant approach to church life. We hear of resistance to change, of disappointment and frustration.
Both these experiences are valid. Making disciples like Jesus did is no quick fix to personal and community transformation. It takes time and effort, blood, sweat and tears. If Jesus had to face all of that, being misunderstood often, persecuted to even death and deserted by his very own followers , we can expect no less , as he himself reminded his disciples on more than one occasion. What they experienced was that even through all of this He was the one who were there for them , even after they deserted him, empowering them with his Spirit and ministering to the world through them as they gather as a group of disciples , making disciples in His presence.
It was not their commitment, enthusiasm or even testimony of great success that guaranteed that the fruit will be there, it was His very presence!
I have to remind myself often that we are running a marathon, not a 100m race. And we have someone setting the pace, running ahead.
So, let us rejoice because we are not running the race alone. Let us rejoice for every disciple following in his footsteps. Let us rejoice even though making disciples Jesus’ way can take time, effort, blood, sweat and tears , but it is real. And worthwhile. Let us rejoice with those who are struggling and encourage them because they will overcome and let us rejoice with those who experience growth , for those with receptive hearts and for joyful disciples.
25 January 2018
“Disciple making” is the buzzword in the body of Christ for the last few years. This is nothing new. Looking at church history, it is clear that everytime the church found herself in trouble there was an emphasis on discipleship. Whenever Christian leaders observe a waning in the faith commitment of believers, they assume that the antidote is “discipleship” as a method and program. According to Jesus’ last words this is the right way to go, but most of the time we come up short to what Jesus really intended.
If you ask Christian leaders today what they understand under the term ‘disciple making’, the answers reveal this sad truth. Many think it to be a program or Bible School to run in the faith community to equip young believers to become mature. Others think it’s about evangelism – to convert unbelievers to Jesus Christ. No, no! Disciple making is much more than just saving souls or taking people through a course, study or teaching or even teaching people a set of believes/doctrines of a specific denomination.
So what is disciple making then? For many years now, Kingfisher is discovering and studying this topic. Our discoveries are many times complimented by other brothers or sisters who wrote a book or article on disciple making. The danger always exists that we have much to say in theory, but lack in practice in our personal lives or don’t help people to practice this lifestyle in a simple way.
A few years ago Kingfisher tried a different approach in our quest to unveil disciple making for ourselves and really make it practical. We worked through the book of Matthew and ask the Holy Spirit to speak into our hearts regarding the burden we share about disciple making. It was the most wonderful time in our Father’s presence and that which we discovered determined our approach and strategy followed today. Our identity were shaped.
Jesus’ call on his disciples (you and me) is to make disciples – like He did. To make disciples we need to follow Jesus in His footsteps. We follow Him by living with a Kingdom vision; living within intentional relationships and adopting His way of explaining a demonstrated trans-formative lifestyle (by healing and teaching). In our follow we become more and more like Jesus when we do what Jesus asked us to do (obey). When we prayerfully and intentionally journey with people because God and we love them, when we address people’s needs, we transform this world into a better place as a sign of the Kingdom breaking through – then we create space where disciples are being made. In this following, us and others are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, becoming more dependent on Father, becoming more humble and serve like Jesus did.
Jesus made disciples. If we believe in Him, if we identify with Him, if we want to follow Him, if we want to become like Him, we should make disciples. He commissioned us to. To achieve this we can only learn from our Master and Mobiliser, Jesus Christ. He modelled a Kingdom lifestyle among a small group of men, taught them God’s heart and asked them to go and do the same. When Jesus left them, they could go and reproduce what they experienced within those three years.
We can follow the story line of redemption in the Bible from beginning to end, yet there is one gap that still remains in the story, and that is the part that we are called to play. The end of the story has been written, but we still have a responsibility to faithfully play our part. The hope and healing of the gospel still needs to reach people all around the world today.
This moment and time has been entrusted to us by God.
So, let’s follow Jesus together in 2018!
Your brother in Christ
12 December 2017
Dear Kingfisher Family
Kingfisher took up the baton to be an advocate for Disciple making – to remind the Body of Christ and assist them practically to re-introduce Disciple making as the engine of transformation.
However, the question is : For what purpose? What will the result be? What value will it add?
Naturally it cannot be about
The disciple maker – he is only the “hosepipe” of Living water to the disciple
The disciple – he is only the “hosepipe” of Living water to the world
The correct theological answer is that it is about God – the glory of God. But even this remains “fluffy” – a typical church-answer.
What will the world look like in practical terms – if this “glory of God” is revealed?
The answer lies in what God is busy doing right now. Right since Eve took a bite of the apple God started a transformation process – a re-creation process. He refused to let His creation and dream for His creation die. He is intensely involved – present in everything that happens – with this broken world of us. Busy repairing EVERYTHING that is broken, changing EVERYTHING that is old into new. Busy changing EARTH into HEAVEN.
Habbakuk 2:14 “Meanwhile the earth fills up with awareness of GOD’s glory as the waters cover the sea.”
Isaiah 65 : 17,20,25 : “Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. No more babies dying in the cradle, or old people who don’t enjoy a full lifetime; One-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal— anything less will seem like a cheat.” Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow, lion and ox eat straw from the same trough, but snakes—they’ll get a diet of dirt! Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill anywhere on my Holy Mountain,” says GOD.
Revelation 21 : 1 – 5 : “ I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.”
The gospel of salvation preaches:
Jesus died for our sins.
Have the assurance of heaven after you die.
The gospel of the Kingdom preaches Disciple making:
Jesus died for our sins
Repent. Become like Jesus. Do what Jesus does.
Experience and facilitate heaven before you die.
And in heaven – the main activity is the glorification of God.
“Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”
The purpose of Disciple making : Heaven. On Earth. Now.
Can we afford not do it? Do we want to continue with any other – even good – strategy?
Thanks so much for journeying with Kingfisher in 2017 – trusting us with your time and resources – trusting that we heard God’s voice about being a catalyst for Disciple making. The result of our joint partnership are more pockets of heaven than we had at the end of 2016. May this Christmas season bring you (amidst the Christmas trees and presents) intimate heaven-experiences. God was / is so serious about heaven on earth – that He was even prepared to be transformed into a human baby!
All our appreciation for who you are, who you are becoming and what you do
27 November 2017
Dear Kingfisher family
In a previous newsletter I wrote that in following the Lord , there may be no other way but to spend enough time together as disciples. We just need to work through our irritations and issues with each other. And that is so important, because it is by our love that the world will know that Jesus had been sent by the Father.
The reality is that most churches do not actively plan an experience of learning to love as part of being together in a smaller setting.
My unbelieving friends are good people who want to do their part in making the world a better place, but they are very sceptic about the possibility that following Jesus could be part of that. They see us as hateful, judgmental, dishonest and hypocritical.
They do not see that we love each other, because our love is not visible in public.
They do not see us loving the outsiders, the rejected and the marginalized, except from a position of looking down on them.
They do not see that we can make any difference in a broken world.
I am sure you heard this before.
The question is how to change that?
We do it by following Jesus’ actions.
We know that doing good, as in giving money or other forms of material support is supposed to be done in private, but there is one type of doing good that should be done where everyone can see – loving each other and others openly and sincerely!
This will speak louder than anything else we can do.
So, again I want to challenge you and your faith community: How are you going to do this? Where will you begin and what will you do? It may be that you actually do not have a choice even if this will cost you and your faith community everything. You cannot just continue the way you did before. That did not work out well.
Follow Jesus by doing as He did.
And if you learn the lesson of sincere love, your love will be visible to all.
Then and only then, your outreaches, missions and aid will be of any use. When you love as Jesus did.
We as Kingfisher started out with a dream to change the world, to see the Kingdom breaking through in all spheres of life.
And we have the key in our hands.
26 October 2017
Kingfisher wants to redirect the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of life.
Thank God, we are not alone. Such a vision is too big for a single individual, a team or even a single organisation.
There are others with more or less the same vision. So together we are contributing to a Spirit led movement that inspires, equips and empowers disciples (Christ-followers) to make disciples in multiple generations.
Kingfisher grew into the understanding and practice of decentralised collaboration to realise the vision. We are a small, but adequate, core of people who coach, mentor and train a larger number of disciples and leaders of different churches and organisations. In other words , we step unto their platforms with the message entrusted to us by God.
This kind of collaboration involves multiple individuals, many volunteers, representing varied interests, who are able to work on different aspects of the same project, because they agree together on a common vision and set of values which they all find important, and willingly submit themselves to each other for accountability and self-policing.
Decentralised collaboration focus on getting many people – often in different organisations and different places, who have parallel, but not precisely identical, visions – to work together toward a specific goal, usually without any single person having to be told what to do by someone else.
Decentralised collaboration requires you to inspire people with vision, persuade them to adopt certain values or guidelines about how to achieve the vision, instruct them on specific, simple, teachable actions, and then once again inspire them to act.
Doing this requires Kingfisher to first build relationships for inspiration, teaching, accountability and encouragement .
We are playing an important part in catalysing God’s disciple making movement . It rests on the idea of making disciples who make disciples . . . who make disciples. Some of these disciple makers are, in some sense, “part of our apostolic network” even if they are not specifically part of our team.
We are already experiencing the following:
By the second generation – the disciples of our disciple– leaders are “outside” our team’s accountability structure. And, after about the third or fourth generation, they are not only “outside” our team, they are “outside” our line of sight.
Of course there are a few challenges. There are loss of control, loss of credit and inability to measure, etc. but remember – organic systems are grown, not engineered.
And who control, should take credit and measure growth anyway? (Mark 4:26-29)
Individual pieces of an organic system can be wildly different and highly unique. Forests have trees, flowers, water, moss, vines, weeds, insects, and animals. All play an unique role, while contributing to the whole. The loss of one cannot be easily replaced, since it is the loss of something unique.
In an organic network, we will have many unique individual players, and we must aim for “categories” of generally appropriate action that fulfil the vision, rather than specific and controlled actions.
A forest will fill a space with a tremendous variety of categories of plants – each individual plant highly unique. A forest doesn’t try to make all the trees the same.
The key to organic collaboration is simple processes used by everyone, passed on to each generation, coupled with personal relationships for accountability and mass peer-to-peer communication platforms. Disciple making needs to be simple, visible, and easily passed on, enabling each generation to “pass on to faithful men what has been taught to them.”
Kingfisher is precisely doing this. What an exciting discovery and journey! With glory to God alone we want to acknowledge and celebrate God’s perfect plan . We thank God for our organic, decentralised network working together towards His body discipling the world in all spheres of life.
Greetings and love to our network partners in business, education, church, missions and mobilising organisations, politics, art, families, science, agriculture, etc.
Thank you to everyone who make Kingfisher’s part in this movement possible.
All glory to Christ Jesus
26 September 2017
Friends following Jesus,
One of the books about discipleship that challenges me time and time again is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life together that he wrote when he gathered a number of men in secret in an underground seminary during the darkest hour of the German church of his time. They lived together. They had to learn how to trust each other, how to relate to each other as brothers, how to forgive each other when there was betrayal, how to worship together and to stay together even when sin and ambition wanted to force them apart.
It would have been much easier if they could attend lectures for a few hours every day and then go home. It would have been very easy to study on their own and only meet for an hour of worship every week. It would have been much safer.
But they did not have a choice. The dangers of persecution and conflict forced them to life together as a group of brothers.
It is when reading this little book together with The Cost of Discipleship that his detailed exposition of discipleship from the sermon on the mount really makes sense.
They had to learn how to follow Jesus together. And that was not easy at all.
Jesus’ disciples had exactly the same experience. In following him they had to spend all their time not only with Him but also with each other. Day in and out for often very long periods of time. Paging through the gospels we see how their own lack of understanding, personal ambition, hidden motives and often their lack of maturity must have made it very difficult to be together as a group. But if they wanted to follow Jesus, they had to content with the others. They had no choice.
This is all too familiar.
When we try to spend enough time together as disciples to really begin to practice following Jesus, we experience the same.
The problem is very seldom on our side. The real trouble makers are the others.
If we spend enough time with the others they become irritating, unbearable so that even their very presence becomes impossible. Spending an hour or two per week together is easy, spending a whole weekend together is possible although that can be almost too much. But living together for weeks on end? Impossible!
But what if we did not have a choice. What if this was the only way to follow Jesus? What if this was the way in which Jesus himself would become a present reality in our midst and the only way to learn how to love! The only way to experience the risen Lord through His Spirit empowering us for His ministry?
So to make this practical a short list:
It is impossible to follow Jesus alone, there will always be other disciples
We have to learn how to live life together, that is a major part of the journey following Jesus
In our moment of crises together Jesus will be present
We have to plan to be together for long enough to experience the irritation and disappointment as well as His presence in the breakthrough
I challenge you to hear what the Spirit speaks to your heart on this topic. As you read Scripture, expect to hear.
4 September 2017
Disciplemaking is the invitation to the church. A lifestyle – not a program. All situations, all relationships. Wednesday is as spiritual as Sunday. The cashier at the end of the row at the grocery store is an opportunity on the same level as my neighbour at home.
But where do we focus our involvement? Where do we spend the bulk of our energy, time and resources? Where did Jesus in His 3 years of earthly ministry put His focus?
He starts His ministry in “Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness” (Matt 4:16)
His first sermon: “to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free”. (Luke 4 : 18)
He tells His disciples: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4)
It happens so easily that spiritual leaders spend 95% of their time only with believers/ church people serving them, giving them another opportunity to hear and experience the good news. Research showed that the longer you are a Christian , the bigger the possibility is that you will only spend time with Christians – surround ing yourself with people that think, talk, look, act and smell like you. It is just less of a sacrifice, not so far out of your comfort zone – not so big a stretch. Inside the boat – not walking on water.
Jesus called us to :
have an eye for those outside, on the fringes, those without any power, who are despised by the community, who cannot give you anything back,
who will make no big difference to your church’s tithings, maybe not even become a member of your church.
Those at the bottom level of society’s social hierarchy. The poor.
Who know that they need Jesus – in stark comparison to others on the other side of the main road, the railway-line, the river, etc. – who maybe think that they don’t need Jesus as much. Those who (humanly speaking) not be a tremendous asset in any way to your church.
love the difficult lovable, the stranger, who does not look, speak or act by any stretch of the imagination like you.
Relationships with those that will cause the respected to say : “This is for sure not necessary, not applicable, not in according with our society’s social policy.
spend time with strange people in strange places – that may cause the community to say “You are out of your place with strange people in strange places”.
Like Jesus – on earth – out of heaven.
Good theology with “bad” people.
A theology one can be crucified for – by the church – like Jesus
Can the church disciple like Jesus, love like Jesus – with the focus of Jesus?
Greetings and love
25 July 2017
The word ‘paradigm’ means that you have become used to viewing and experiencing a matter from a certain angle. But when you suddenly see the same matter from a totally different angle and you experience results that are totally different and if the difference in viewpoint is drastic, it will be called a ‘paradigm shift’.
When Kingfisher started (a number of years ago) to explore, discover and teach on the subject, ‘Kingdom of God’, we never realised where this journey would lead and how paradigm shifting it really was.
The Kingdom of God is built on the person of Jesus, what he taught the disciples and what he instructed them to do. Building a foundation on anything other than Jesus and the Kingdom will not produce multiplication of disciples. Jesus is both Saviour and Lord with power over all things visible and invisible. He is Lord of the harvest and head of the Church worldwide and every local church. He cannot and will not be owned by any denomination, tradition, organization or “ministry.”
The (inherited) paradigm most Christians have is downside up: – first, ecclesiology (church, dogma, style and practices); – secondly, missiology (mission – how to attract people to our church community or building); – and thirdly, Christology (so we can tell them about our church and Jesus).
The Kingdom paradigm is, however, upside down: – first, Jesus and the Kingdom (His person, His Kingdom, His way); – secondly mission (go and make disciples); – and thirdly, church (which is built by Jesus and the consequence of disciples making disciples).
A Kingdom mindset not only frees us from all the “-isms” but also from restrictive and niched “movements” like prayer, healing, inner-healing, deliverance, bible-study, community, youth, prophetic and the like which are often founded out of a person’s or group’s giftedness or bias and promoted as the solution to bring about “revival.” There is only one thing Jesus said he would build: His church! Some of these things may be part of the Kingdom but they are not what Jesus is building. When these things are the primary foundation we build on, they may be effective for a while, but they are not long-lasting and, in some cases, do more harm than good. If churches are not the result of disciple making and gospel planting then we need to question what kind of seed we are planting and whether we are really making disciples.
Those who grow into the Kingdom paradigm:
Recognize it is the King of the Kingdom and Lord of the harvest that has planted them in the field he has chosen for them (where they live, work and play). This develops a “sense of destiny” to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and produce fruit where they are. • Cultivate a whole Kingdom and Bible mindset and avoid narrow paradigms that overemphasize one or more Kingdom aspects at the cost of others – they know that this only produces unbalanced and immature disciples. • Are as clear as the Bible is clear and unclear as the Bible is unclear. They major on the majors and let peripheral things remain on the periphery. They avoid interpreting the scriptures through the spectacles of their own spiritual background (denomination, tradition or organization). They take the simplest meaning of the text in context and apply it (and compare it to other similar texts elsewhere). • Build on the foundation of the King according to Kingdom principles and values, in Kingdom ways and in demonstrations of Kingdom power. • Build away from themselves (and or their denomination, tradition or organization) to Jesus. They resist every temptation to draw people to themselves or make people dependent on their “ministry.” To them believers are not “my disciples,” they are disciples of Jesus; the church of gathered disciples is not “my church,” it is “Jesus’ church”; and they do not make territorial claims “this is my territory” but rather have an “our territory” attitude and cooperate with others to bring in the harvest.
This paradigm recognizes that the seed of the gospel of the Kingdom of God is powerfully at work, and that disciples work together to bring in this huge and ready harvest to King Jesus.
This paradigm is more upside down than we think. It is more radical. It is totally different to our common practice. We all are challenged and invited to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
This is why Kingfisher cannot do anything else but to obey in redirecting the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of life.
Thank you for your love, support and prayers.
For his Kingdom and his righteousness
Sergey was in the informal Bible school in Kiev where I taught from 2000 to 2004. He took two things to heart:
the experience of being part of a disciple group of about twelve meeting twice a week and sometimes on the weekend as well. We ate together, had fun together and explored how to be a disciple of Jesus together.
a deep understanding of the dynamics of cross-cultural disciple-making
After 2004 Sergey left for Crimea I mentored him for a while, but eventually we completely lost contact. Later Crimea was occupied by Russia and even though we were back in Ukraine again I could not make contact with Sergey again. Some mutual friends related possible unsettling rumours but nobody could give me real information. Was Sergey still alive, was his family OK, did he still love the Lord? Nobody new.
Earlier this week Sergey contacted me through Facebook. He had been searching for me for a long time and eventually thought of trying Facebook. When we spoke using Messenger it was like in a dream come true. Sergey is working as a photographer, taxi driver and security guard in Crimea to provide for his family. They are all well! And most encouraging of all – Sergey has a disciple group of Tatar people regarded as one of the least evangelised people groups. They meet and eat together, they share their lives and they explore what it may mean to follow Jesus.
So we rejoice in the Lord’s faithfulness in providing for Sergey and his family, for keeping the flame of disciple-making burning through all these years and for using him productively in establishing the Kingdom. Now Sergey is using material on Kingfisher’s website and Facebook group, excited about new input in his life and ministry.
I learned so much from this – about God’s faithfulness, about the power of making disciples like Jesus did it and about the obedience of Sergey and his family against all odds.
Pray for Sergey and for all who are making disciples like Jesus.
29 May 2017
The essence of the process of Disciple making was that Jesus physically lived with His disciples. The disciples were changed through the physical presence of the rabbi. This transformation took place in everyday, ordinary situations – by simply looking at the rabbi how he does things and then repeat his actions, thoughts and lifestyle.
Modern discipleship is to live from a new reality – trusting that – exactly as it was in the New Testament – JESUS IS HERE.
Imagine walking outside in the cold. Very soon you would be cold as well. We become like our surrounding, like the atmosphere around us. In life – by living consciously in Jesus’s presence – we become like Him.
To be Jesus’s disciple meant to be with Him. It is to be His student in Kingdom living. Today it is the same, except now it is the resurrected Lord who walks and stays between us. As apprentices of Jesus we are not learning how to do some special religious activity, but how to live every moment of our lives from the reality of Jesus’s presence.
Just like two marriage partners change – get to know one another – know how the other will react in a given situation – become like one another – think like the other one – repeat the other’s mannerisms – because they physically live with one another – in the same way the image of Christ appears in us by living with Him. The essence of discipleship is not to repeat religious rituals, obey laws – but to live personal with Jesus – watches how He does things – learn from Him – and then repeat His life!
“Your practice of discipleship, walking with Jesus. That is to be your constant pre-occupation, and what come of it will witness to and powerfully influence others around you. This is the sure path to changing things, in the church or in the world”. (Dallas Willard)
The traditional view we have about our relationship with God can be summarised in this sketch:
According to this “Goodview” we sometimes jump towards God – when we go to church, pray, attend cell groups. And we trust that sometimes God “jumps” to me – when He sees me, hears me, blesses me.
The real “Goodview”, however, – after Pentecost day looks like this:
I don’t need to go to God, to visit God, to approach God, to do some religious rituals to experience His presence, to make it happen. Very often around me I hear that Christians say about their worship experience in church: “The presence of the Lord was so thick”. Sketch 2 says that His presence is just as “thick” in all everyday ordinary situations!
Discussion point for your leaders: What practical difference will it make to your life if you could really live from the reality portrayed in sketch 2 – in your everyday situations?
25 April 2017
We all grow through life into a deeper understanding of our identity. The Holy Spirit is always transforming us more into the likeness of Christ. The continuing discovery of the richness of this identity is liberating and empowering and inspires an identity driven lifestyle. This is also true about Kingfisher. I want to remind you of who we are.
In the last few years we grew in the understanding of our identity which drives us into action.
Kingfisher is a family with an apostolic/prophetic function in the body of Christ who are being used by the Holy Spirit as a catalyst to strengthen His Kingdom movement.
Kingfisher is a family
We live in many nations with the same vision, values and calling – people with the same missional DNA (Kingdom, Disciple making and Transformation). Everyone lives in a unique context with a unique sphere of influence, transferring the DNA and values in a disciple-making way. Members of the family infiltrate all spheres of society and life all around the world, mobilising people through proclaiming, teaching and modelling to be sent disciple makers who make the Kingdom of God visible and tangible. The family members are independent but still interdependent by speaking into each other’s lives, being accountable and so influencing each other.
We are being used as a catalyst
What a catalyst does is it maintains its own integrity as it interacts with the other properties increasing their rate of effectiveness without losing its own potency. In other words a catalyst accelerates a natural occurrence without being consumed by that process. Kingfisher use simple, but powerful workshops and training events, we coach and mentor leaders within long-term relationships, to increase rate of effectiveness and impact in the Kingdom.
We have an apostolic/prophetic function in the body
The vital importance and irreplaceability of our function in the body is best understood as being custodian of the genetic codes of God’s people, the gospel, the genetic code of the church.
We have the task of reawakening or remembering the body of Christ who we really are. We are optimizers; helping mainly established communities and followers of Jesus in every sphere of society to become more focused on purpose and geared toward their missional calling. We are helpful in remissionalizing established organizations and operationalizing movements.
What a privilege! In more simple terms:
Kingfisher redirects the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of life.
We believe that Jesus started a movement here on earth to make His will and Kingdom visible and tangible. His life are being continued through people, led by the Holy Spirit, who:
Pray and seek for the realization of the Kingdom of God
Transform all spheres of society
Address the total need of the world
Disciple the nations
Christians should be redirected in this truth and lifestyle, because most of the time, our understanding of church suppress this lifestyle.
Our task is to equip, mentor and coach Christians to live as God-sent disciple makers in all spheres of society and to make a real impact regarding the need of people and communities. It is our passion that God’s Kingdom will break through in the transformation of ordinary life, day by day.
We believe that as people start to think like Jesus and do like Jesus, they will start a journey that will make a real and tangible impact in their communities and beyond.
Our function as Kingfisher is to empower, to unlock, to inspire and to create a space where you can discover your identity and calling. The Word of God is central. Together we listen and learn from God and then obey. We give ourselves to Jesus by following in His footsteps and in the process become like Him and walk like Him.
We are identity driven. We know there is a task which are not done yet. We know we have a responsibility to continue with passion. We know that Jesus is our Shepherd leading the way and that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
But we cannot do it alone. We need you to journey with us. Please continue to pray for us. Please pray and listen about your contribution and involvement on this journey. Thank you to everyone in whatever capacity you are part of the Kingfisher calling. We appreciate and value you all.
Thank you and blessings
Dear Kingfisher family,
I am re-reading the Acts of the Apostles; this time not from the viewpoint of a pastor needing to understand how the early church pastored, planned and organized itself, but from the viewpoint of a disciple-making disciple of Jesus following him after his ascension. While I am still half way through the book, there are some discoveries I made that I think is essential if we want to understand why and how a small group of disciples grew into a world changing movement.
First of all – the active presence of the Holy Spirit is obvious chapter after chapter. It is the Spirit who makes the risen Lord real to the disciples; it is the Spirit who empowers them, leads them, guides them, puts the words in their mouths and shows them time and time again the next step as they are following Jesus who goes out ahead of them. This is supposed to be obvious, but cannot be understated. Without the active presence of thy Holy Spirit it is impossible to follow an invisible and intangible Jesus. The Spirit makes Jesus real and possible to follow. The people of the Way, as they called themselves, did not have a worldwide plan or strategy – they followed Jesus because the same Spirit that was in Jesus was in them.
Secondly – the disciples formed a tightly knitted community, an alternative family with a new identity. They ate together, lived together, prayed together and often even lived a communal life, sharing resources equally as needed. They were community! Why? – because the one Holy Spirit inhabited the community as a whole.
Thirdly – they were radically inclusive even when it went against their cultural or religious sensibilities. That did not come easily. There had been debates after debates and often the Holy Spirit had to figuratively and literally take an apostle by the scruff of the neck and the seat of the pants to get them to understand that all kinds of “unclean” and unacceptable people were to be included in this radically strange and new family following Jesus. The pattern emerges that it was more of a disciple making community following Jesus and making disciples than individual followers making disciples. Later Paul would use the picture of one body with different members and a temple with different stones to explain this strange phenomenon. And in a way it makes perfect sense – it is actually the Spirit of the Living Lord inhabiting His new temple and ministering through his own body on earth. This is a bit too much for my individualistic westernised mindset. I would like to follow my vision, make my own plans and follow strategies that makes sense to me.
But, if we want to follow Jesus, being part of his movement, being a member of His body – then there is no other way, even if it offends my cultural and religious sensibilities.
So let us take the next step in the footsteps of our Lord with courage even if it will cost a price.
We all know Matt 4: 19 very well. Often we focus on being “Fishers of Men” as the basis of disciple making. Rightly so – this is the Great Commission. Jesus’s first call to His Disciple makers however, was not “go and fish”. His first invitation was “Come – Follow Me”. In this one word lays a whole theology of unconditional belovedness. A sacrament of Jesus’s attitude towards the fishers.
Disciple making so easily becomes a strategy, a program, an activity – something we do towards specific people at specific times. We do it sometimes and sometimes we don’t.
However, Jesus’s first call was not for us to do something – but that we follow Him.
“This is where Christianity stands alone. When Jesus came on the scene in human history and began calling followers to Him, He did not say, “Follow certain rules. Observe specific regulations. Perform ritual duties. Pursue a particular path.” Instead, He said, “Follow me”. With these two simple words, Jesus made clear that His primary purpose was not to instruct His disciples in a prescribed religion; His primary purpose was to invite His disciples into a personal relationship.
Jesus did not say “Follow this teaching” or “Follow this idea” or “Follow this commandment” or “Follow this ritual life.” He said, “Follow me”.
But we have missed this. Slowly and subtly, we have let Christianity devolve into just another set of rules, regulations, practices, and principles to observe. The problem is that any one of us can do all of these things completely apart from Jesus!
There’s an old story about a notorious bandit in the Far East who had been badly injured and taken to a Christian mission hospital. After weeks of excellent care, the bandit recovered from his injuries. He was so grateful for the treatment he received that he resolved he would never again rob a Christian. The word got around, and everyone he tried to rob would immediately say, “I’m a Christian.” And so the robber was faced with a problem: How can you tell whether a person who claims to be Christian really is? He returned to the hospital and asked the missionaries, who explained: “Well, every Christian should know the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments.” From that time on, the robber would ask potential victims to recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments. If they couldn’t do it, he would rob them.
It is possible to know the facts, know the rules, the law –all the theology – but not to know Jesus!
The surprising revelation is that if we live with Jesus so intimately ourselves – He does the Disciple making Himself – through us. It happens automatically – a lifestyle – instead of a program. Can it be that the world is not discipled because so many of His followers follow rituals and not Him? Then the darkness is not in the world, but in the church.
26 January 2017
I have the privilege to move around and listen to the different expressions of the body of Christ. I became aware of a few things which interests me and should be taken in account for future. May I dare share a few?
The most profound things that are happening in the church at the moment in this era that will shake it in its foundations are the following:
Believers discovered that they can experience God outside the events of the institutional church and that they do not need leaders to create an experience for them.
Because of growing maturity in believers, they become more value driven and not programme or leader driven.
Believers discover that they are personally responsible for their maturity and that the growth path of the church will not bring them there. The only growth path that can bring them to maturity is the school of life, led by the Holy Spirit.
Believers discover that they do not need leaders on the outside to lead them to maturity, because the Leader inside them is the only Person that can lead them where they need to be.
Through reading the Word believers discover that there is no spiritual authority outside of relationship. There is no positional authority in the Word that is binding upon people. The five fold ministry have authority in people’s lives and not over people’s lives!
The office of the priesthood of the believer is the most important office in the congregation. Leaders are there to serve and facilitate them. The believers are not there to serve the leaders in their visions.
As believers we do not have a mission, we are the mission! Being congregation is being on mission every moment of the day and the believer can no longer wait for the leaders to organize a mission for them every now and then.
Believers want to live and organize their own mission as led by the Holy Spirit.
Believers have lost their confidence that the millions they invest through tithing in the church system is good stewardship, and perhaps not even the truth according to the Word. Mature believers want to see progress, and spending 80-90% of your monthly budget on maintenance is not good stewardship. They feel they are being deceived by big vision talks to give their money, which then disappear into events, buildings and salaries!
In principle we can summarise by saying that believers realise they need to take full responsibility for their life, and therefore they are busy taking back the MANDATE of everything concerning their lives. We are in the era of the people movement, where power and responsibility are moving back to the people on ground level.
These things are here to stay and become ever bigger factors in congregation life. God is busy restoring congregation life and nobody will stop Him. God’s heart is for disciples to make disciples as the effective medium to reach the world and if one do not change as He leads, you will stay behind. It is an extremely late time in the world agenda and the success of your church is not on God’s agenda; the world is! God does not ask us to transform, He is simply walking on. He is driven by the love in His heart for the people in the world and He is not interested in building any of our church institutions. Not everything we had was wrong; it is just not effective enough in our present era to overcome the challenges before us. We are driven by the passion and love of Jesus in us that is the solution to the world’s problems and needs.
It is the time of the restoration of discipleship.
May Kingfisher be a faithful instrument in God’s hands, molding His bride to more effectively build His Kingdom, disciple the nations and transform lives and communities for His glory.
May you and your family, as part of God’s plan, have a blessed 2017 .
12 December 2016
About two months ago I had the privilege to visit a small faith community in a rural village not so very far from the war zone in eastern Ukraine. There were less than thirty people in attendance on the Sunday and as far as I could understand that included the whole church except for one lady who was ill.
I was impressed. Not by their worship, the finer points about heir theology or the beauty of their utilitarian meeting place. It may have been possible for a nitpicker to find fault with all of these. I was impressed by how the Lord uses this small community in serving the needs of brothers and sisters in the war zone. Every two weeks the pastor would take a big van filled with groceries, medicine and fresh bread and deliver it to isolated groups of people that could not afford to flee the war as many other did. Practical help and spiritual encouragement! Who knows what is needed most? On the pictures I saw old and young in tears – God has provided!
That already is a good testimony, but what impressed me most was that everyone in the church was involved in some way. Some of the goods came from far away and was channelled through this small group. Other stuff had to be bought locally with money collected amongst themselves as well as donations from elsewhere. Everybody helped with sorting and packing and planning. It reminded me about the parable of the mustard seed and the leaven in the dough.The smallest, most insignificant group of people having a big effect in the Kingdom.
That impressed me: Nobody too insignificant to be involved and no faith community too small to have a major impact.
The body of Christ in action!
29 November 2016
One of the inmates of a Cape Town prison, Pieter, has enjoyed the hospitality of this institution since 2003. Summoned for 18 years – for armed robbery. Earlier in 2003 Pieter was part of a gang hijacking big lorries transporting cigarettes for the British American Tobacco company. Pieter says he was the guy dressed as a traffic cop – stopping the lorries. Pieter tells his story with tears in his eyes – he lost his father when he was very young – bad relationships with his ageing mother – virtually no contact with his only sister. Wrong choices and wrong friends. December 2003 – he entered prison – a bleak 18 years ahead.
And then the miracle happened. One of the wardens in Victor Verster Prison, outside Paarl – a committed Christian, Hennie – noticed Pieter’s potential. Slowly a relationship developed.
Hennie saw Pieter for who he could become and not for why he was in prison. He convinced Pieter to realise his potential and start studying.
Within the next 10 years Pieter
Did numerous Bible school / Pastors courses
Obtained 2 financial degrees from University of South Africa (cum laude)
Started evangelising his colleaques around him
Lectured the inmates in mathematics – and received a certificate in 2014 from the Western Cape Government for the teacher with the best maths results in grade 12 in the province (his students were a captive audience J)
Took part in a group that made crafts and beadwork – the profits from this project was used for community development outside of the prison.
The kingpin God used in this transformational story is Hennie – when I asked Hennie why he did this – he replied : “Johann – I regard my everyday job as an opportunity to develop prisoners’ potential. I never asked them why they are in prison – because I am afraid that this information may influence my judgment of them”. One of the first things Hennie did was to introduce Pieter to a local businesswoman who offered to pay for all his studies. Three years later it was discovered that this same woman has many shares in the company whose lorries Pieter robbed back in 2003. Now this same company was paying for his studies!
Pieter will be released on parole early in 2017 – starting his internship with an auditing company. A changed man.
A DISCIPLED man.
It is because of such “Pieter-stories” that the Kingfisher-family believes in DISCIPLEMAKING as being the engine of transformation. Kingfisher dreams about assisting many more “Hennies”.
27 October 2016
In September 2011 Mike Breen wrote the article below. It witnessed in my heart when I read it again today.
We are thankful about so many church leaders all over the world growing in the understanding that the church is God’s mission to the world. Many grew in believing that the body of Christ (everyone in personal relationship with Jesus) is to continue the life and calling of Jesus Christ – to reach and save the lost. The Missional movement is growing, but here is the problem – we developed missional language and understanding but struggle in the practice and living of this truth.
At Kingfisher we realised this a few years ago and was directed by the Holy Spirit to sharpen our focus on the engin which will really sustain and energise the missional movement – disciple making. This is why we intensely focus on the ‘how to’ of disciple making.
Please pray for us in our calling to redirect the body of Christ towards a disciple making lifestyle in all spheres of live. Please pray for more and more open doors to sow the seed God entrusted to us.
Here is the article I mentioned. Please read it carefully. I shortened it a bit.
(Mike Breen has been an innovator in leading missional churches for more than 25 years, and leads a movement that is helping hundreds of established churches and church planters move into this discipling and missional way of being the church)
“It’s time we start being brutally honest about the missional movement that has emerged in the last 10-15 years: Chances are better than not it’s going to fail.
That may seem cynical, but I’m being realistic. There is a reason so many movements in the Western church have failed in the past century: They are a car without an engine. A missional church or a missional community or a missional small group is the new car that everyone is talking about right now, but no matter how beautiful or shiny the vehicle, without an engine, it won’t go anywhere (unless you push it, which quickly becomes exhausting).
So what is the engine of the church? Discipleship. I’ve said it many times: If you make disciples, you will always get the church. But if you try to build the church, you will rarely get disciples.
If you’re good at making disciples, you’ll get more leaders than you know what to do with. If you make disciples in the way Jesus did, you’ll see people come to faith who didn’t know Him. If you disciple people well, you will always get the missional thing as a by-product. Always.
God did not design us to do Kingdom mission outside of the scope of intentional, biblical discipleship and if we don’t see that, we’re fooling ourselves. Mission is under the umbrella of discipleship as it is one of the many things that Jesus taught his disciples to do. But it wasn’t done in a vacuum outside of knowing God and being shaped by that relationship, where a constant refinement of their character was happening alongside of their continued skill development (which included mission).
This is the crux of it: The reason the missional movement may fail is because most people/communities in the Western church don’t have an intentional process for making disciples. Without a functioning plan for making disciples, any missional thing you launch will be unsustainable, like pushing a car without an engine up a hill.
Think about it this way: Sending people out to do mission is to send them out to a war zone. Discipleship is not only the boot camp to train them for the front lines, but the hospital when they get wounded and the off-duty time they need to rest and recuperate. When we don’t disciple people the way Jesus and the New Testament talked about, we are sending them out without armour, weapons or training. This is mass carnage waiting to happen. How can we be surprised that people burn out, quit and never want to return to the missional life (or the church)? How can we not expect people will feel used and abused?
There’s a story from World War II where The Red (Russian) Army sent wave after wave of untrained, practically weaponless soldiers into the thick of the German front. They were slaughtered in droves. Why did they do this? Because they knew that eventually the German soldiers would run out of ammunition, creating an opportunity for the Red Army to send in their best soldiers to finish them off. The first wave of untrained soldiers were the best way of exhausting ammunition, leaving their enemy vulnerable. While this isn’t a perfect analogy, I sense this is a bit like the missional movement right now. We are sending bright-eyed civilians into the battle where the fighting is fiercest without the equipping they need, not just to survive, but to fight well and advance the Kingdom of their dad, the King.
The missional movement will fail if we have a discussion about mission devoid of discipleship. Unless we start having more discussion about discipleship and how we make missionaries out of disciples, this movement will stall and fade. Any discussion about mission must begin with discipleship. If your church community is not yet competent at making disciples who can make disciples, please don’t send your members out on mission until you have a growing sense of confidence in your ability to train, equip and disciple them.”
Greetings and love in Christ
6 September 2016
In August 2016, the 25 year old Luvo Manyonga from Mbkweni township – between Paarl and Wellington – jumped into the history books by winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics – 1 cm short of the gold medal – with a jump of 8.37 m.
A hero – a young man whose potential is busy realising – impacting society. Just last week Luvo was transported around the shacks and small houses of Mbkweni in an open roof vehicle. While hundreds of kids swamped him – they did not only wanted to touch him physically – in their hearts a dream was born – a dream of what can be, in spite of circumstances. Luvo was the dreamgiver.
But it was touch and go or this fairy tale ended differently.
“In Mbkweni, it does not matter who you are. The drugs, the guns and the violence do not discriminate. It will chew you up and spit you out and never shed a tear for what could have been.”
A mere 4 years ago Luvo was on a collision course with hell and death – totally addicted to meth/tik.
In Luvo’s case the grace arrived in 2009 in the body of Mario Smith – for the first time. Smith believed in what he saw what can be – what the future can look like – and because of this vision of the future he offered himself to Luvo, encouraging him, training him, spending countless hours to develop this amazing potential. Smith sacrificed himself – even to the point of supporting Manyonga’s family at his own expense. It was not easy at all – Luvo fell for the temptation of drugs again – at one stage in 2012 he was banned from athletics for 18 months.
Mario Smith did not let go – he simply refused to let what was possible be murdered by the reality. He kept believing in Luvo, kept reminding him what can be – never lost hope – never decided “this is enough” – “it will never work”.
In 2014 the drugs caused a rift in the relationship between Luvo and Smith – they did not talk to one another anymore. Smith, however, refused to let the dream go – tragically he died in a car accident on his way to Manyonga’s house – to try and patch things up.
Two others took over – John McGrath and former Olympian, Ryk Neethling – they continued Smith’s work and took Luvo to the High Performance Centre in Pretoria where his skills were further attended to.
2016 is the first year Luvo started jumping again – after a near four year absence.
Today Manyonga is a role model for the whole of South Africa.
A great story – not only Luvo’s story – but just as much Mario Smith’s story who gave himself, sacrificed, refusing to let go in spite of setbacks, who trusted the future more than the present.
Mario Smith – a disciplemaker!
Don’t stop dreaming
The story has been passed down for generations within the Jewish faith of the renowned and revered. Rabbi Akiva was born in the first century A.D. just a few years after Jesus lived out his life among the people of Israel.
The story has been told that late one afternoon, as the sun was beginning to set in the west, Rabbi Akiva was walking along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee on his way home to Capernaum. Rabbi Akiva was doing what most God-fearing, God-honoring Jews would be doing with their spare time, he was meditating and reciting the Hebrew Scriptures. We are told he was meditating upon the portion of Scripture where the Lord says through the prophet, Isaiah,
“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!”
“You are my servant.
You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
and understand that I alone am God.
There is no other God—
there never has been, and there never will be.
I, yes I, am the Lord,
and there is no other Savior.”
Rabbi Akiva was so focused upon the text that he didn’t realize that instead of taking a left turn toward the city gates of Capernaum, he had taken a right turn and as the sun sank behind the mountains, he found that the path he had followed had taken him to the large gate of a Roman fortress. As Rabbi Akiva stood in front of the gate realizing what had happened, he heard a loud voice coming down from above the gate. It was the voice of a Roman Century Guard standing on the top of the wall. The guard had shouted down to this stranger:
“WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Rabbi Akiva was startled and could only respond to these frightening words with, “WHAT?”
Again the guard called out,
“WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Rabbi Akiva had a few moments to gather his thoughts and he shouted back up into the dark at the Roman Guard:
“HOW MUCH DO YOU GET PAID TO ASK ME THESE QUESTIONS?”
The guard was now confused as to why this stranger would ask such a question in response, so after a few moments of silence he said, “TWO DRACHMA PER WEEK!” (Now a drachma was worth about a day’s wage.)
Then Rabbi Akiva, with intense conviction shouted back to this Roman Century:
“I’LL PAY YOU DOUBLE IF YOU STAND OUTSIDE OF MY HOUSE AND ASK ME THOSE TWO QUESTIONS EVERY MORNING!”
You would have noticed that in the few newsletters I have written I do focus on who we are and what we are doing here. Not because there is any uncertainty, but in trying to convey our specific function in given national and international relationships within the body of Christ. Please bear with me.
Sometimes people are asking me if Kingfisher is still on track living out its vision. Are we still dreaming of a mobilizing movement which catalyzes the body of Christ to pray more for the Kingdom of God to be established, address the holistic needs of the community, disciple the nations and to transform all spheres of society? The question can be put in another way: Is Kingfisher still equipping, coaching and mentoring leaders of faith communities to mobilize their own contexts to become Kingdom minded, develop a disciple making lifestyle and transform their communities?
The answer to all these questions: YES, we are still passionate about the vision and on course, but sometimes our strategies need to change a bit to realize the vision. God is always transforming us more and more to be like Him. He is doing it with you and me as followers, but He is doing it with us as a movement as well.
About 3 years ago God spoke to our hearts about the foundation of our movement, which is disciple making. The foundation of any movement are the most important and we cannot just presuppose it. If the foundation is not correctly laid there won’t be a movement. God specifically guided us in sharpening our focus and to strengthen our foundation.
To put this in words:
“Kingfisher redirects the body of Christ towards disciple making.
We believe that Jesus started a movement here on earth to make His will and Kingdom visible and tangible. His life are being continued through people. led by the Holy Spirit, who:
Pray and seek for the realization of the Kingdom of God
Transform all spheres of society
Address the total need of the world
Disciple the nations
Christians should be redirected in this truth and lifestyle, because most of the time, our understanding of church suppress this lifestyle.
Our task is to equip, mentor and coach Christians to live as God-sent disciple makers in all spheres of society and to make a real impact regarding the need of people and communities. It is our passion that God’s Kingdom will break through in the transformation of ordinary life, day by day.
We believe that as people start to think like Jesus and do like Jesus, they will start a journey that will make a real and tangible impact in their communities and beyond.
Our function is to empower, to unlock, to inspire and to create a space where you can discover your identity and calling. The Word of God is central. Together we listen and learn from God and then obey. We give ourselves to Jesus by following in His footsteps and in the process become like Him and walk like Him.”
“Alan Hirsch discusses the essentials to a missional movement.
He says, “I’ve spent pretty much most of my adult life being reasonably obsessed with trying to unlock the codes of what makes for highly transformative missional movements. I mean I’m talking about those type of movements in history that really get it done. I mean those ones with explosive growth and high transformation where whole societies are impacted.
I’m pretty much obsessed with that and tried to understand what makes them tick. What factors have to come together? How can we learn from them? What does it say about the church that Jesus has designed us to be? All those things kind of come into play. With some reflective authority, I don’t claim too much, but I’d say I’ve done a little bit of learning in this, I’d say this categorically that one of the clearly, most demonstratively true aspects, the keys about these movements, one of them is that they are obsessed—yes, that’s the word I’d use—obsessed with discipleship and disciple making. In other words if you took discipleship out of the equation of these movements they wouldn’t have been.
Discipleship is critical. Discipleship is the means by which it all happens. Unless we get discipleship right, whatever we intend to achieve through the rest of what we achieve in missional movement is never going to happen. If we fail in discipleship, it fails.”
Please remember to visit us on our website where you can interact with us. Look out for the journey through Matthew and a deeper look at disciple-making. You can even find us on Facebook.
Thank you so much for your prayers, involvement and love in our call to redirect the body of Christ towards disciple making.
24 May 2016
Pastor Nasko and his small church of 35 believers in Provadia, Bulgaria, glorify God by implementing disciple making principles. For the past two years they rediscovered the value of Jesus’ strategy.
The Spirit laid two young gypsies on his heart. In Bulgaria the gypsies still stay in informal communities outside the towns and villages. The default of the Bulgarian population is to disconnect themselves from them – “they will only steal from you”. Nasko, however, decides to reconnect with these “untouchables”. He spends the bulk of his ministry time with them. He takes them to all ministry opportunities possible; teach them at all possible occasions. He opens up the privacy of his two bedroom apartment to them; take them on fishing expeditions. Personally, I very seldom saw Nasko without Galien and Lupcho 1-2 steps behind him.
In April this year I visited Provadia again. Surprised to see that Nasko’s church has grown with 10 new members – 30 percent! A youth group of 8 new believers formed the worship team – all of them disciples of Galien and Lupcho! Nasko’s spiritual grandchildren.
In the same church they have a cell group of elderly women – they started reaching out to their neighbours – several other unbeliever babushkas (grandmothers) now join this small group on a weekly basis – they don’t feel free to join the church due to many wrong perceptions about the church and also because of what churches did to people in the past. This however, presents no problem for Nasko. He has grown into a Kingdom pastor – not thinking about an attractional church in the first instance. Being part of the cell group makes them church as well – Nasko can easily accommodate different models within his own sphere of influence.
Nasko’s wife, Mariana, discovered that her workplace is her ministry – the place where she is sent to by God – her calling by God – her disciple making space. She accepted her class as her spiritual responsibility – showing and teaching them evangelical values, purposefully building relationships with them inside and outside the school – simply loving them. Mariana is one of 4 such teachers in Provadia that lectures the same grade. In the Bulgarian system parents can choose the teacher of their children. She says that wherever she meets parents in the streets, they all approach her and ask if their children can please be in her class – there is something different about her and her class.
Disciple making is the engine of transformation.
21 April 2016
Dear friends and colleagues
Everyone, part of the Kingfisher family, lives in an unique context. Father God placed us at a specific place with a specific purpose and everyone has a specific sphere of influence. Our Father is very strategic! Every context has its unique challenges and potential. This is why we always encourage our mobilisers to contextualise what our Father has entrusted to us at Kingfisher. We do not dictate on how our colleagues should mobilise; gifts are unique, context is unique, sphere of influence is unique – but we share DNA, values and principles and keep each other accountable regarding our identity and task.
The heart of this movement remains that we are sent by Father God across borders to establish a DNA by mobilising people to live with a Kingdom Vision, Kingdom Values and a Kingdom Lifestyle. We equip leaders, coach and mentor them to mobilise others to live as sent disciple-makers and so realising the Kingdom. This process looks different in every region and country. The approach, strategy and outcome are different – and that is OK – as long as you are faithfully spreading the DNA.
In South Africa we have a diverse approach. We partner with different Kingdom focused movements and organisations, using their platforms to spread the DNA. We present a disciple making workshop which help followers of Jesus regarding the practice (how to) of disciple making. We have a fresh initiative called ‘Helplift’ which help the process to redirect the body of Christ towards a lifestyle of disciple making in all spheres of life. We are excited about this concept and the positive effect and reaction in mainline churches.
There are TWO REALITIES:
The first reality is POVERTY that is represented by numerous needs (material, motivational, moral, spiritual and relational), and the second reality is THE ABUNDANCE OF RESOURCES, flowing from believers living their life calling by committing their skills, talents, expertise, services, products and finances to Kingdom service.
Helplift Network is a Biblical concept, that BRIDGES the GAP between these two realities. This concept provides a safe and workable platform, for each local faith community to put this into practice.
Helplift Network is a disciple making concept that enables believers to reach out, serve others and build relationships. It is a catalyst that creates a “caring and sharing” culture.
Based on this concept, Helplift Network provides a practical tool for churches to unlock their kingdom resources and to empower their members to serve others with their gifts.
The Helplift concept implemented, creates as space where a faith community move towards being a high impact church where disciple making is a lifestyle for every member.
Unlocks kingdom resources to address needs in the community.
Encourages disciple making as an everyday practice.
Empowers and enables believers to serve God by serving others in every sphere of life.
Cultivates a sharing, caring & giving culture.
Is Inter-denominational and brings cooperation and unity amongst Churches and Welfare organisations.
Synchronise believers with people in need.
Creates many opportunities to testify of God’s goodness.
Mar 4:26-29 Jesus went on to say, “The Kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters seed in his field. (27) He sleeps at night, is up and about during the day, and all the while the seeds are sprouting and growing. Yet he does not know how it happens. (28) The soil itself makes the plants grow and bear fruit; first the tender stalk appears, then the head, and finally the head full of grain. (29) When the grain is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come.
Please pray for discernment regarding the most effective approach to spread the DNA in each country Kingfisher is working. Please pray and consider your involvement in this ministry.
Please remember to visit us on our website where you can interact with us. Look out for the journey through Matthew and a deeper look at disciple-making. You can even find us on Facebook.
Thank you so much for your prayers, involvement and love in our call to redirect the body of Christ towards disciple making.
‘n Student snap die Droom
Anja is 24 jaar oud – n student aan ‘n Russiese universiteit. Die enigste christen in haar gesin – pa, ma en jonger broer baie vriendelike selfs hulpvaardige mense – maar geswore ateiste. Op geen manier teen God nie – reken net God bestaan nie. Tog positief oor die kerk – want tydens Kersfees en Paasfees mis hul vir geen geld om kerk toe te gaan nie. Met ‘n mandjie kos – ‘n ham, ‘n brood, botter in die vorm van ‘n lammetjie uitgekerf en natuurlik die bottel vodka. Die priester moet immers die Paasmaal seën – soos wat hy al Anja se pa se motor moes seën met heilige water (dan sal die motor nie in n ongeluk betrokke wees nie. Vir Anja se ma moes die priester al bid – teen n ordentlike fooitjie – om werk te kry – sy is onderwyseres. Vir Anja se oorlede oupa en ouma moet priester bid – dat hul siele uit die vagevuur na die hemel oorgeplaas kan word. Oupa is 3 jaar gelede oorlede – vir hom vra die priester net R350 om voor te bid – o wee – ouma is reeds 10 jaar oorlede – haar gebed is minstens R800 werd. Anja se gesin – kerklik betrokke ateiste!
Op 16 wil Anja se ma haar straf vir ongehoorsaamheid – die wreedste waaraan sy kan dink is om haar na n kerkjeugkamp te stuur. Wat haar ma bedoel het die wreedste moes wees raak vir Anja die wonderlikste – sy ontdek die Here se liefde vir haar. Nou was Anja n groter probleem vir haar ma : elke Sondag wil sy kerk toe gaan – haar ma dring daarop aan om saam te gaan – wil immers weet waarmee haar dogter nou besig is. “Onskadelik” reken haar ma – hoogstens n tydelike illussie… Anja groei en groei en groei. Sy begin verstaan die wese van n missionêre mentaliteit om dissispels te maak. In 2012 begin sy, ‘n vriend en die se vrou n nuwe kerk. Vandag het hierdie kerk 90 lidmate. Meestal studente – Anja se ouderdom. Op 23 is sy die “mother superior” van die gemeente – immers die instrument dat baie van hulle na die Here gelei is.
Tans lei Anja n selgemeente van 14 studente – 12 van hulle is ateïste – soos sy self was. Hul vind egter Anja se vriendelikheid en talle uitnodigings na haar 3 slaapkamer woonstel (want “mens moet n groot genoeg plek hê om ongelowiges te kan uitnooi”) onweerstaanbaar. Net onlangs nog het Anja n Halloween party gehou. En daarvan hou die studente – dis effe vreemd. Hul praat oor hekse – en terloops noem Anja dat daar in die Bybel ook van n heks gepraat word – Saul se heks van Endor. Wie was Saul – wil hul weet. Wat is die Bybel? En die tafel is gedek vir die evangelie. Anja begin sulke groepe en gee dit dan vir iemand anders om verder te mentor. Sy is net die oesmasjien.
Haar hele kop is gefokus op ongelowiges, op die buite die koninkryk, op disispelmaking. Dit vorm haar hele DNA. Dalk wil sy in 2017 China toe gaan sê sy : “daar kan mens gaan engels gee – en dissipels maak…..”
Kingfisher Mobilisering Sentrum is n hitte geleide projektiel – wat die warmte van Anjas in die wêreld soek.
Se permanente arbeidsmag het die afgelope paar jaar baie min geword. Die invloed brei egter steeds uit. Ons hoor die mooiste Anjastories uit Uganda, Kongo, Oekraiene, Belarus, Bulgarye, Estonia, Indië, Thailand, ens.
Vestig strategiese vennootskappe met ander rolspelers met n dissipelmakende hart.
Vertrou die Here vir meer medewerkers – voltyds sowel as deeltyds. Bel vir Dirk Coetzee as daar iets in jou hart roer.
Soek saam met ander na die mees geskikte vorm van wynsak vir die nuwe wyn.
Benodig jou vennootskap in terme van voorbidding en finansiële ondersteuning – net soos in die verlede.
Mag jy ‘n geseënde Paastyd beleef
18 February 2016
Dear friends and colleagues
Kingfisher discovered through the years that the engine of the mobilising movement is none but disciple-making. We are called to awaken the strategy Jesus has given His church. The church has to rediscover disciple-making, because the body of Christ all over the world, expressed in all its different forms, has unlearn and forgotten it. The Kingdom of God takes shape, transformation in lives and communities becomes a reality, if disciple-making is rediscovered and becomes the lifestyle of every follower of Christ.
We also discovered that our strategy of proclaiming, teaching and modelling this message are bearing little fruit if we do not conduct this in a disciple-making way. Therefore it is not conducive for reaching our purpose to only have training events with good training material. Our endeavour should be disciple-making relationships and to journey with the right people for the effective transferring of our values and DNA.
We can teach good and many things to people, but if our lives and teaching do not bring forth disciple-makers who on their part again make disciples which create a multiplying disciple-making movement, we miss our purpose. This is why Kingfisher spent much time during the past years on discovering a deeper understanding of disciple-making and the best strategy to help the church. We worked on a few documents, namely a study guide on practical disciple-making and a bible study on the book Matthew, which will help to discover disciple-making first hand from the Bible (downloads on our website: www.kfmc.co.za). We also developed a disciple-making workshop which can kick-start groups or faith communities towards a disciple-making lifestyle. If you are interested in the workshop or the material, please be welcome to contact us.
Fearless and with strong conviction, we should also create spaces where disciples can be made. We should propagate the need, importance and principles of disciple-making groups in traditional as well as emerging churches. Disciple making is going to be just a dream if we do not create and realise the effective spaces for it, like Jesus demonstrated.
A while ago, Johan Theron and I visited Floyd McClung to talk about disciple-making. Disciple-making is his live. He lives it and then writes books from experience. He’s a veteran, a father figure. Not long in our discussions he told a story which touched deep in my heart.
Forty years ago Floyd discipled Bob in Afghanistan. Later, Bob became a pastor in Canada. There he met George, a drug addict in a mentally-ill institution. Bob discipled George. Later George got involved in a ministry in Afghanistan. One of his first disciples there was Nathan (not real name).
Recently Floyd again visited Afghanistan. He met Nathan. Nathan thanked Floyd for discipling Bob many years ago. He said: “Floyd, you do not know me, but I am your spiritual grandchild.” He invited Floyd to meet one of his disciples, Ahmed. On his turn Ahmed took Floyd to some of the 25 small disciple-making groups he started. Some of these groups already produced fourth generation disciples – some of them today missionaries in Middle Eastern countries.
Floyd told Johann and I with tears in his eyes: “ … if I only lived for this, my life was worth it”. 40 years – 8 generations of disciples.
This is the multiplication effect of true disciple-making. This is Jesus’ strategy. This is Kingfisher’s game plan.
Please remember to visit us on our website where you can interact with us. Look out for the journey through Matthew and a deeper look at disciple-making. You can even find us on Facebook.
Thank you so much for your prayers, involvement and love in our call to redirect the body of Christ towards disciple-making.
25 January 2016
It is January 2016 and hereby I pray that you would experience a year full of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
When you are following Jesus, one thing sure and constant is that you are continuously being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. This is true for human beings in relationship with Father God, but it is also true for an organisation who wants to follow Jesus in His footsteps. You do not stay the same – you change and renew and in the process you understand more and more who you are and what your purpose is – why Father God put you here in this place and time.
Kingfisher brought together a small selection of mobilisers from India, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa for a week of intense discussion, some planning and good fellowship. The focus was on disciplemaking as the engine driving a transformational movement.
We plan to do the same, but with a different group in October.
In the photo to the right, some of the group were on their way up the mountain as part of a practical exercize in leadership.