Our Calling to South Africa

29th May 2019 0 By administrator

In obedience to the calling of Christ in our life, we endeavor to make disciples of all ages through the work of Church planting in George, South Africa by sharing God’s message of hope through Biblical teaching, young adult ministry, and counseling.

In obedience to the calling of Christ in our life …

As a young man in a high school preaching class, God began to build a “Desire” (1 Tim 3:1) for vocational ministry.  That desire lead me to prepare for ministry at Northland International University for a BS in Youth Ministries and to Calvary Seminary for a Masters of Divinty.  While at Calvary Seminary, I was heavily involved in Children’s Ministry, counseling, and preaching as a lay ministry leader, while working full time at Vision Video Inc (a Producer and Distributor of Christian films) and Christian History Institute.  I loved my time at Calvary but felt the Lord leading us to a Bi-vocational ministry at Faith Community Baptist Church of Downingtown PA.  I ministered there as the Youth Pastor serving the teens and parents of the church by teaching, preaching, and counseling. The Lord then lead us to First Baptist Church of Pequea.  At Pequea, the Lord opened up many opportunities for me.  I serve as the Chairman of the Mission Committee, in home Bible Study leader, an adult Sunday School teacher, Young adults ministry leader, Pulpit supply (both at Pequea and other churches), Teen conference speaker, and counselor.  That “desire” for ministry has been a constant throughout my entire life.  God has given me the desire, ability, and continues to faithfully give me opportunity to serve and worship Him as a minister of the Gospel.

The Missionary’s call is first to salvation (John 6:44, Rom 8:30, 9:11, Gal 1:6, Eph 1:18)), secondly to service (Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1, 1 Tim 6:12, 20 and lastly to be “set apart” by the church through the leading of the Holy Spirit for the work of cross cultural communication (Acts 13:1-3).  I believe the Lord has been calling my family and I to His service for a long time, and we have by His grace been faithful with the opportunities He has given us.  We believe that God is opening an opportunity for us to be faithful ministers of the Gospel as missionaries to George, South Africa.

we endeavor to make disciples…    

The call has never changed.  Christ clearly challenges His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 with the task of Disciple making.  We are to be making disciples as we go whether we go across the street or across the globe disciple making is our task.  A disciple is a baptized, grounded in Truth, believer in Christ.

of all ages …

I have been blessed to be involved as a disciple maker in many different age groups Each group has its unique challenges and unique blessings.  God has given both my wife and I a heart to reach children, teens, young adults and peers with His message of Hope.

 through the work of Church planting…

Disciple making is not an end unto itself.  Disciple making’s goal must always be to build the body of Christ into local communities dedicated to Biblical teaching, fellowship, ordinances, and prayer (Acts 2:42).  The building of a building where believers gather is a wonderful thing but building a people to be called out Christ followers in their community is the heart of Disciple making.

in George, South Africa …

While serving as the Chairman of the missions committee at First Baptist Church of Pequea, my wife and I were able to led a missions trip to Knysna and George South Africa to visit and minister alongside of Dr. George Coon (Knysna) and Pastor Troy Gahman (George).  Leading up to the trip God began working on my heart to consider whether missions and particularly South Africa would be a potential fit for our family. While on the trip, God used the missionary team, the culture, the relationships we were able to form with national pastors, and the work God has been doing there to help us see that God could use us South Africa.  Upon returning home to the States, God began to show me that my heart is really in South Africa and many of my closest friends could see it as well.

In particular I feel God is leading me to George for several reasons. 

            A new team is in formation in George similar to the team in Knysna.  God has led in the building of the Knysna Hope team.  He has called individuals who love the Lord, love their calling, work well together, and genuinely care for one another.  The Knysna Hope team is beginning to see a “harvest” from their investment, sacrifice, and work.  A similar vision to that of the Knysna Hope team is at the foundation of what God is building in George.  George’s population is 4 times that of Knysna and is a strategic city for Gospel expansion, Theological training, and influence along the Garden Route of South Africa. Through various secular and ministry opportunities I have learned that I am much more energized by starting new projects and endeavors than I am maintaining a project.  The work in George is full of potential new opportunities for the Gospel to reach the city. 

Although Apartheid was abolished in 1994, communities still tend to divide among racial lines and the lack of personal transportation cause many to not bother with church if more than 10 minutes away. Some will pay a taxi, hitch hike, or ask for a ride but most simply will not bother.  This general distrust of the races among South Africans makes cross racial ministry especially difficult—difficult but not impossible. Cross racial ministry is  absolutely necessary. So it is imperative not only to plant multiple churches but to befriend, disciple, and train men of all races to plant churches that will reach their multi-racial community.

            The ministry in George is being built around young adults.  While on our missions trip to South Africa, I was especially drawn to the young people and young couples of South Africa. The young believers there have a deep desire to learn more about the Bible and desire a genuine faith that touches the whole of their life.   There are many opportunities for my family and I to minister by using our experiences in Children’s, Teens, Young adults, Singles, and Young couples ministries.

            The vision for George features the use of “sports facility” which will continue to attract young people.  I have often been a part of evangelistic endeavors that feature the use of sports as a way to reach young people.  The facility offers a “level ground” and a “connection” where relationships can be built and the Truth can be shared. 

            I have strong relationships with several of the Missions team members in both George and Knysna.  These relationships will be very important as they serve as ministry mentors, team mates, and friends to my family and I while we transition and serve beside one another. The realities of ministry with 4 children under 10 years old will be a challenge to Melissa and I as we minister to the people of South Africa.  The strong mentors both male and female among the team will be invaluable assets to us we strive to achieve a good family/ministry balance.

by sharing God’s message of hope …

There are many things that we can do in God’s name but the greatest and most needed thing we can do in His name is to share His message of Hope—the Gospel, whether it is the sancitifying hope of the Gospel to release a believer from the grip of his sin or the saving Hope of the Gospel to release the Sinner from Hell.  Works of kindness, love, and charity are wonderful, necessary works that create a potential opportunity for fertile ground when sharing the “Words of Eternal Life” but loving works devoid of the Gospel are temporary and unfulfilling for everyone.

Biblical teaching, …

God has always given me a passion for presenting His Truth.  Whether sharing for formal teaching situations (Worship service, classrooms, conferences, offices) or informal settings (Dinning room table, restaurant, living room couch or while walking/hiking).  Deut 6:6-8 stresses the importance of Biblical teaching wherever and whenever you are.

I hope to be involved in Biblical teaching in small group Bible study, “church” settings, one on one discipleship, counseling sessions, and the education of national pastors.

young adult ministry, …

Children, Teen, and Young Adults have always been a part of my family’s life and ministry.  God has given me opportunity, passion, and desire to be a part of discipling the next generations of His church.  Presently, we see God giving us lots of opportunity with 20 – 35 year olds, which we really enjoy.  It is a crucial time in their life to receive mentorship as they transition out of the home they grew up in and into adulthood.  As a parent of young children, we have a great opportunity to meet, reach, befriend and mentor people in a phase of life very similar to that of our own.

I hope to focus on ministering to and discipling to young adults.

and counseling …

God has given me the blessing of being mentored under many great counselors.  I often would come alongside of them while they were counseling in order to gain invaluable experience from them.  I view counseling as the “Intensive care unit” of  disciple making.  Often the people coming to counsel are reaping the consequences of of sin that they have sown, or being caught in the web of the sinful consequences of others that have affected their life too. These consequences are often the driving force for people to reach out for help. It is in that “Intensive Care Unit” that I have been able to see God’s restorative and redemptive work through the hope of the Gospel change lives.  I have had the blessing of counseling children, teens, young adults, singles, married couples, divorced couples, seniors, abusers, and victims. I endeavor to always point them to the hope of the Gospel to change their lives and this world.

I have always had a passion and dream of offering counseling to the community at large where the hope of the Gospel would be shared both evangelistically and as a part of the growth in Christ of believers. That may look like opening a counseling center or simply having an office where the community is invited to come and hear the Gospel as it bares light on their every day struggles.

Melissa is a very gifted communicator, teacher, hostess, and discipler. She is excited and energized by the opportunity to use her gifts to create relationships with South African women, young adults, and children in order to speak the Gospel into their lives.  Her primary ministry will be as the primary caregiver of the children as we manage the challenges of assimilating into a new culture.