Tell us about yourself and how you came to be church planting?
I was born in Botswana, raised in South Africa and am a lover of the African continent. I came to faith at 19 while studying at the University of Pretoria. I found myself in a Bible study, and one night clearly heard the Gospel. The beauty of Jesus and what He’s done for me drew me to be reconciled to the Father. That radically changed my life. I got plugged into a campus ministry and was discipled there while completing my degree. I wondered what to do after graduation? Do I pursue a career in Law or work with the campus ministry, discipling the next generation by sharing the Gospel? Campus ministry it was!
I wrestled with God because I didn’t think I was gifted to lead a church plant. I lost. God had other plans.
I also got plugged in deeper at my local church. With the help of other organizations, we put together a church planting conference and I was exposed to church planting for the first time. Now, Scripture doesn’t explicitly tell us to plant churches but rather to make disciples. As I began to learn more about the Church I saw that one of the best ways to make disciples was to plant more churches. I wrestled with God because I didn’t think I was gifted to lead a church plant. I lost. God had other plans. That led to an incredible journey, where we have seen God’s faithfulness and favour in the planting of Rooted Fellowship. It’s been a roller coaster ride for my wife Confidence and our two little girls, Amara and Keeya and a whole community of people whom I love dearly.
Tell us about Rooted Fellowship.
Each service starts with: “Welcome to Rooted Fellowship. We are a Gospel-Centered, Disciple-Making, Transcultural Church.” The core of everything we do is to see Jesus on the throne – we look to Him as Lord and Saviour. Disciple making is a multiplying effect of the Gospel seen where we live, work and play. Most churches agree with that. But transcultural? It sounds like multi-ethnic or multi-cultural but it is different. Yes, it speaks to diversity, but says so much more! We did not create this idea on our own; Pastor Léonce Crump Jr. and Renovation Church inspired me. While looking for something to reflect the true diversity of South Africa, with the Gospel at the core, it was at Renovation Church gatherings that the beauty of transculturalism began to grow in my heart. From their definition, we created one specific to our context. We defined ‘Transcultural’ in South African as “a community that reflects, embraces and enjoys the diversity of its context; and by the power of the Gospel transcends it and creates one new community.” These past 2 years we have seen God do amazing work in and through Rooted Fellowship. He has gathered people from all walks of life, bringing them from darkness to light through the saving work of Jesus and creating a truly transcultural community. We still have a long way to go with our country’s history, but we look to the Gospel to break any strongholds and create a community that reflects the beauty of the Kingdom of God.
What do you like to do when you aren’t church planting?
I am, in fact, an introvert. I enjoy being on my own in quiet spaces, especially with a good audio book or even watching a good TV series. It’s in the quiet spaces that I tend to be most productive – when I hear most from God. It’s in these times when I feel he directs me in my personal life, my family life and the church. I also enjoy watching movies with my wife – this time is now scarce since we have two kids, so watching TV series from the comfort of our own home works best. I am also a coffee snob and therefore frequent a number of coffee shops in our city, tasting and enjoying different flavours and methods of making great coffee.
Describe the church in Southern Africa right now.
The Gospel gives the opportunity to unpack oppression, confront it and nail it to the cross.
The Southern African church landscape is an interesting context. It has a deep religious history, mostly Christian. Sadly, that is rapidly changing. The Prosperity Gospel is growing. It takes advantage of many who are in desperate need; they then find themselves holding onto false promises and looking for salvation in something other than Jesus. In other areas, more individuals are turning away from any form of religion – largely because of hurts experienced in the church – whether conflict, colonisation, injustice, apartheid, civil wars, and so on. Trust has gone out the window, between the church and people. Southern Africa is in a truly unique position now, especially as we seek to raise up church planters who will be able to go into those contexts to re-establish trust by rebuilding relationships, living out the truth of the Gospel by being Jesus’ hands and feet. It also means building genuine, authentic relationships where the oppressor can seek forgiveness and the oppressed can give forgiveness. We have all been both. The Gospel gives the opportunity to unpack that, confront it and nail it to the cross. Southern Africa is at a tipping point. The next 10-20 years are important for what the church does – seeking to engage a rapidly changing culture with a never-changing, beautiful Gospel.
What are you excited about in the Southern Africa Network?
The entire continent of Africa is growing – economically, educationally, and socially. We are no longer seen as the Dark Continent, but rather the continent on the rise, pregnant with opportunity. We have an opportunity to raise up individuals passionate about Jesus and who want to see the Gospel permeate every place they go. We should make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples, through the planting of healthy churches that are contextual and relevant to where they find themselves. Being part of Acts 29 is greatly beneficial to many local church planters because we get to learn from amazing churches around the world.
We have also already seen a growing interest in young men searching to become church planters, giving us an opportunity to assess, train and equip them, to get them ready for the work of ministry.
Why are you a part of Acts 29 and why did you step into the role of Network Director?
I told myself I wanted more of this! It only made sense to join the Acts 29 family.
Because I was not part of a denomination, I knew I had to be connected to like-minded individuals to keep me accountable and encourage me in times when I felt alone or discouraged. The church where I did my residency was part of Acts 29, and the partnering church that helped us launch was also part of Acts 29. Those relationships were so fruitful and encouraging to me. I told myself I wanted more of this! It only made sense to join the family. I love the vision of Acts 29. There is so much to learn from others doing great things around the world. When approached for the role of Network Director, I just really wanted to serve in an area where God was already at work. I get the privilege to use my gifts for the expansion of his kingdom.
How can we pray for Acts 29 Southern Africa?
Please pray that awareness of Acts 29 Southern Africa as a safe place for individuals to come and be assessed would continue to grow in our region, leading to relevant training, healthy coaching and genuine support.
Please pray for our existing church planters, pastors, their wives and families. Pray that God would watch over them and provide protection against the evil one who seeks to only deceive and bring about division. May the fruit of their labour be a sweet fragrance to the Lord.
Please pray for a move of the Holy Spirit in our part of the world that would ignite a passion for God and his Glory.