Today we headed down to George Whitfield College, which is the official CESA training college based in Muizenburg, Cape Town.

First of all, we met with the principal, David Seccombe, to get some idea of what he knew of that was happening church planting-wise around South Africa.  There were encouragements, but what was clear, as David said, was that there was less happening than there should be.  David was concerned that there was more talk about church-planting than reality.  Evangelism is so central to who we are convictionally, but the reality is we’re not so good at doing it.

Having said that it was exciting to hear about the people who are getting on and ‘doing it’.  Among those David mentioned were Duane Olivier, who is in Ballito, Durban, Kenny Lloyd who is in the Eastern Cape, a much-deprvied place it seems, in terms of evangelical churches.  Kenny is white and Xhosa-speaking, meaning he has a great opportunity to get reaching that people-group.  David was saying there is a great need out there in the Eastern Cape as there is a cluster of universitites not touched by evangelical witness.  Interestingly, though, the church of the province, which is the largely Anglo-Catholic, Anglican church in South Africa, is actually largely evangelical in that area. 

There is also some planting happening in Bloemfontein where two congregations in the townships there are teaming up and have a vision that extends well beyond their immediate area.

One of David’s concerns was for a strategic church-planting push. Up till this point it seems there has been some planting happening, but not on a larger, strategic level. This has resilted in the planting largely being white churches planting white churches. There needs to be some real thinking into how to plant into black areas. We also chatted a bit about movements of God. It really is exciting to realise that it is God doing things, and as David said, you just have to get on the bandwagon.

In the afternoon we met up with some of the students, one of whom I have had quite a lot of contact with and who blogs like nothing else! We met Stephen Murray (author of Daylight Conversations blog), Tobie (pronounced ‘torbie’) Meyer, Johann Vorster and Neil Thomas.

Tobie, Johann and Neil are all looking to plant up in Gauteng. It’s very exciting to hear about their vision for planting in Pretoria. Pretoria is the capital of South Africa and has a large Afrikaans population. People consider themselves culturally ‘Christian’ and so inevitably this makes gospel work hard. But that’s what these guys are committed to do there. They are very keen to make sure church is a community and not simply an event you attend every Sunday and they are asking the questions of what that will mean in that context. They grilled me for a fair bit on what we do at the Crowded House and we got to talk through some of the assumptions we make in our circles about ministry and what that entails. It was a good time to think through what we do and how we do it in the light of the issues that are being faced in South Africa. In the evening we had dinner with Stephen and his fiancee Robyn. We talked lots more about church planting and some of the models we’ve been coming into contact with around the world.