News from D’kar – January 2021
A very satisfactory church council meeting
Our church council met on Tuesday, January 5th for the year planning. The church council consists of Ben Soso, Sobe Nqarega, James Morris, Jim Morris, Morris Morris, Gaobolelwe Ngakayaja, Aron Johannes, Xgaiga Qhomatca, Frits Lala and Hendrik du Plessis. Absent: Frits and Xgaiga.
The main item on the agenda was evangelism / mission. The question was asked to how we as a congregation can spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus to people who are not as privileged as we are. There are about 2000 inhabitants in D’kar, but we want to reach beyond just local. We have the most wonderful message in the world to share, the forgiveness of God in and through His Son Jesus Christ. It can and may not be limited to D’kar. We are currently reaching out to Bêre, Motopi and Mababe. Closer to D’kar are places like Tchabo, Groot Laagte, East and West Hanahai and Kuke.
Gaobolelwe, our 77-year-old emeritus minister, is still eager to visit the farms around D’kar. He believes that as long as his health lasts, he wants to spread the Word of the Lord to people. He really is a great support to me in our congregation. We need diesel for our vehicles to reach people because it is too far to ride a bicycle, we told each other the other day. One of our church council members proposed to barbeque sausages and sell it to be able to buy the fuel. The church council shares our sentiment calling to share the Gospel with people.
Every elder has a congregation ward and with our home visits we have decided that each church member should invite his neighbors when the elder or pastor visits. This is how you involve your congregation members in evangelism.
Furthermore, we have fixed two dates for communion, 28 February and 4 April (Easter Sunday) have been reserved. This gives plenty of time for the elders and deacons to do home visits. Last week, I updated the elders congregation ward lists for 2021. Ward lists are used by each elder to monitor his ward members’ church attendance. On Sundays, every member present is marked off. When the elder visits home, he knows exactly what each member’s church visit is like. In this way we can keep members from communion who never come to church but want to take communion because if you do not even have a thirst for the Word of the Lord on Sundays, from where all of a sudden the thirst for wine.
This is a system I started in South Africa, and it worked very well. When I wanted to implement it here, the congeration members initially were opposed to the idea. Our defense was that we are the shepherds of the Lord’s sheep and that a good shepherd always counts his sheep. It is not necessarily always laxity that makes someone not come to church, it can be illness or other problems and you can quickly find out in this way why the member’s church attendance is poor. After that, no one had a problem anymore.
To conclude, three of our church council members, Gaobolelwe, Aron and James are very interested in preaching. In fact, they lead the services when I have to preach elsewhere. Aron and James had been late Rev. Braam le Roux’s faithful Naro translators and Gaobolelwe as far as Setswana language was concerned. I offered to teach them. We plan to work through James Braga’s book, “How to Prepare Bible Messages.” The book have practical examples of what a Scripture-based sermon or Bible study should look like. James Braga was a missionary in China and later a professor at the Multnoma School of the Bible. The first print was in 1969 and thereafter the book was revised and reprinted six times. I am translating the book into Setswana and then into Naro. Yesterday they anxiously wanted to know when we were going to start. The arrangement is, after I translate a chapter, we work through it together.
Our planning for this first part of the year is as follows:
- Mission and Evangelism Outreach: Motopi, Mababe, Bere and around D’kar.
- Confession of 2020’s confession of faith’s class.
- On Sunday it will be announced.
- The elders then visit them individually.
- Then they appear before the church council and are questioned.
- The 2021 confession class have to make their confession of faith at the end of the year: Mondays classes by Gaobolelwe and Tuesdays by myself, between 5 and 6 pm.
- Home visits: Congregation members are involved by inviting their neighbors.
- Communion: 28 February.
- Easter weekend, April 2-4: worship service Friday night, Bible study Saturday morning, choir singing Saturday night and communion Sunday morning.
We ask for your intercession and support in this regard. We truly appreciate it.
Your brother in Christ,
Hendrik du Plessis.