The two main topics were how to revive a lukewarm church (by Rev. France Mookisi) and how to lead a marginalised church in a society that views the church as non-essential (by Dr Brian deVries, Principal of Mukhanyo).
The fact of the matter is that, since South Africa’s lock-down began, some 20 months ago, many churches have suffered, churchgoers have drifted away and many regular ministries have been unable to restart. The important point made by both speakers was that church leaders – pastors, elders, deacons and also a few theological students – should no longer accept the situation but use all opportunities for renewal.
The audience came from a variety of denominations and many African Independent Churches, all eager to hear what God’s Word can teach them. Afterwards, they went home with the question put to them: “What will I do to implement what I have learned?.”
Rev. Mookisi put it straightforwardly: “Church leaders have to stay true to what they are called to be and to do. The place and vision of who the Almighty God is, has to be maintained”.
According to Dr deVries, it is the church’s confession that God’s church is essential in every society. She is also called to be a role model of social morality (Matthew 5:13-16), to be a prophet of God to social leaders (Isaiah 1:16-17), as well as to bring a message of hope to all nations (Philippians 2:14-16).
“Today we urgently need true prophets who faithfully proclaim the Word of the Lord against the tragic public sins of society”. What should church leaders do today? Firstly, with humility, we admit that God’s children have allowed this to happen. Secondly, we pray for Spirit-worked revival and spiritual reformation. Next, we proclaim God’s message of hope. And we remind social leaders of God’s truth and demonstrate biblical justice in society.