Update on our EQUIP programme for church leaders

The purpose of the Mathetes Trust’s EQUIP programme is to provide mentoring assistance to Christians who are themselves committed to serving the Great Commission in the UK – disciples who want to make disciples. EQUIP began in 2010, when Roger formed a small group of mentees in the South West of England. Since then, more and more people have asked to join and today EQUIP serves 75 people who meet regularly in 10 groups. EQUIP is led by Roger Morgan in England and John Benson in North Wales.
Seven of the 10 EQUIP groups consist entirely of clergy; one is restricted to those who serve in an Anglican multi-parish benefice, where one minister has responsibility for several churches. Leaders of multi parish benefices are often under pressure to lead each of their churches in quite traditional ways which, even with outstanding leadership, usually results in ageing and declining congregations; it is our aim to help these leaders find a new approach which reverses these trends. The other 3 EQUIP groups are for lay people. One group is for full or part-time children’s workers. The other two groups are for lay people who are committed to spreading the Gospel in the places where they live and work.
Roger and John both have long experience of making disciples, both as laymen and then as leaders of growing churches. They learned in particular that any church leader who wants to see their church grow has to make sure that certain things happen; if they do not, then those churches tend to decline in numbers. To this end, we have written a series of booklets which set out in detail the steps which should be taken and the steps which should be avoided. We teach these principles through the 10 EQUIP groups, which each meet 3 or 4 times a year, either on Zoom or face to face. Group members are asked to make these meetings a priority. Roger and John then follow up the meetings by individual conversations on the phone and, as far as possible, by visits which enable us to better understand the realities of the situations people are facing in their ministry; we also make ourselves available to share in that ministry.
Roger and John are often invited to preach and, when they do, they offer prayer for healing at the close of the service. A healthy church must have a plan to reach out with the Gospel to the people who belong to the communities where church members live and work; we often find ourselves helping churches to form such plans and walking alongside them as they carry them out. We sometimes take teams to parishes for a week of mission so that churches who may not be used to conversions or healings will see these things happen. Roger has often been to churches to give a weekend of teaching on prayer with the twin aims of helping individual Christians to find a deeper prayer life and helping groups of Christians to pray together. Another aspect of our work in parishes has been training, particularly for churches which wish to offer prayer to individuals on Sundays. Many churches have a small group system; our vision is to see these groups grow in numbers and in spiritual depth. Our vision for our lay members is that they will be fruitful in their evangelism, both at home and by coming with us on some of our visits to other places.
If you are reading this, ordained or lay, and would like to join one of our EQUIP groups, please do let us know. We would expect you to have an active ministry and a desire to make disciples; membership involves both commitment and challenge!
Recent EQUIP booklets – all available from the office.
To find out more see our EQUIP page.

The crocodile was kind to me…

Making disciples in South Sudan

We have just posted a report on the Rooted in Jesus conferences held last month in the Dioceses of Nyamlel, Aweil and Wanyjok in South Sudan. Hundreds of people participated in the conferences, despite the devastation of the recent floods which have swept across this part of the country, and we heard today that the leaders in Nyamlel have already started their new groups. You can read the report (and find out more about crocodiles) on our blog site here.

Other recent news

We have also been delighted to receive news from the Diocese of South Rwenzori in Uganda, where both children and adults who joined groups after the conference earlier this year have now completed book 1 of Rooted in Jesus and been awarded certificates of achievement. Certificates have also been awarded to children in Fort Dauphin in the Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar. Find out more on our Facebook page here.

Children receive Rooted in Jesus Junior certificates in Kasese, Uganda

Making disciples in England

Meanwhile here in England our EQUIP groups for church leaders continue to meet regularly, with recent in-person gatherings in Kent and Leicestershire, and meetings by Zoom for our theme-linked networks. We will post an update in the New Year.

Rooted in Jesus returns to South Sudan

Of all the countries where Rooted in Jesus has been adopted as the primary strategy for teaching Christian discipleship, South Sudan is the most challenging in which to minister. Created only 11 years ago after more than 20 years of civil war, South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. The Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) was quick to plan for the future, and over the next couple of years Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Anglican dioceses of Nzara, Wau and Yambio. But in 2013 a new civil war broke out, and over the next 5 years tens of thousands of people were killed or displaced. After a prolonged period of negotiation a peace agreement was signed in 2018, and whilst South Sudan remains a difficult country to visit, we have been able to continue our support for the Anglican church there.

“As soon as we finished some teaching, they worshipped; and before we started, they worshipped”

The ending of the Covid19 travel restrictions last year made it possible to accept invitations from the Dioceses of Aweil and Wanyjok, and in May this year we were able to send a team to the Dioceses of Maridi and Yambio. Over the last few weeks we have fulfilled a further five invitations, and we have just posted a blog report covering the first two of these – a visit to the Diocese of Wau to train a new generation of leaders, and another to the nearby mission Diocese of Tonj, where we provided an introductory conference.
Conditions in South Sudan are testing – but the many practical difficulties were overcome, the participants responded with enthusiasm, the worship was vibrant and many prayers were answered. To read the full report please check out the blog here.

Building new foundations in Burundi

We have just published a blog report on the recent Rooted in Jesus conferences held in the Dioceses of Rutana and Buhiga, Burundi.

Small group practice in the Diocese of Rutana

The conferences had been organised by the national Rooted in Jesus coordinator Elisha Nkeza at the request of Bishops Pontien Ribakare and Evariste Njiimbere, and were facilitated by a team of five – two from the missionary diocese of Lake Tanganyika in DR Congo, and three from England. We laboured in the heat (UK: 31 degrees, Bujumbura: 31 degrees), communicated with each other in French, and were fed like kings on an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. The conferences were attended by about 250 people (clergy, catechists, Mothers Union and Youth leaders) all of whom were exemplary in their enthusiasm, openness and commitment. A team of intercessors supported us remotely, and their prayers were abundantly answered.
Burundi is, economically speaking, the poorest country in the world; but we couldn’t help feeling that it has a lot going for it. We look forward to praying for the new group leaders.
You will find the report on the Rooted in Jesus blog here.
Posted 2nd September 2022

Helping with mission in Slough

We have just taken a team to help with a week-long mission to Slough, where Tim Wambunya, formerly the bishop of Butere in Kenya, is now the vicar. The team of ten was led by Roger Morgan and Andrew Evans, and the gospel was shared through a variety of events in the church alongside a programme of visiting people in their homes. Many church members went out with the team, often feeling a bit nervous, but always returning rejoicing. At the meetings in church we preached the gospel and prayed for the sick. About 60 people made commitments and many were healed. Tim and his colleagues are now following up those whose lives were touched in one way or another.

Making new friends in Slough

Strengthening discipleship in Uganda

Ben Beecroft has recently led a multi-national team to Uganda to support the Dioceses of East Ruwenzori and South Rwenzori, with a conference for adult groups in East Ruwenzori and one for both adult and Sunday School leaders in South Rwenzori. Uganda was particularly badly affected by the Covid restrictions, which remained in force for many months and prevented churches from meeting together – so it was good to be invited by Bishop George Turyasingura and Bishop Nason Baluka to hold refresher conferences in these two dioceses. 250 or so leaders were trained during the conferences, which were marked by many testimonies of healing and deliverance. We have posted a full report from Ben and the team on our blog here.

Rooted in Jesus workshop in the Diocese of East Ruwenzori

We were grateful during these missions not only to those who went but also to those who prayed – many of those prayers were answered. We continue to pray for Tim and his team in Slough; and for coordinators James, Philip and William as they encourage those leading groups in Uganda.

If you are interested in running a parish mission and would like to talk to us, please do take a look at our mission page and get in touch if you would value a conversation.

Posted 19th July 2022

Making disciples home and away

A Rooted in Jesus team has just returned from two weeks in South Sudan – our second visit to this country in recent months. In November we travelled to the Dioceses of Aweil and Wanyjok; this time we were delighted to accept invitations to minister in the Diocese of Maridi and the Diocese of Yambio.

Practising using Rooted in Jesus in Maridi

South Sudan is the youngest and one of the poorest countries in the world, and it was a particular privilege to be invited to share in the ministry of these two dioceses by Bishop Moses Zungo and Archbishop Samuel Peni. Over 240 leaders were trained, including pastors, Mothers Union leaders, youth and evangelism leaders. We have posted a full report by team leader David Archer on our blog site.
Other conferences have recently taken place in the Diocese of Kibondo, Tanzania (led by Bishop Stanley Hotay), and the Diocese of Kericho, Kenya (led by Tim Grew and a team from Trinity Cheltenham). You can catch up with these on our Facebook page.
Here at home we remain busy too. We are delighted to welcome Sue Whitehead who is joining the team as our Office Manager, and we are looking forward to taking a team to help run a parish mission for St Paul’s, Slough later this month. The muted world of Covid is giving way to the technicolour reality of living relationships!

A new resource for children

We are pleased to announce the publication of a brand new gospel booklet for children. Born Again offers an engaging retelling of the story of Nicodemus, helping children to understand what it means to become a Christian, be filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to live differently. Fun fonts and specially commissioned colour illustrations help to bring the story alive, and the conversational style draws the reader into the story and opens up questions for reflection and discussion. Children will enjoy reading the story alone, with a parent or teacher, or in a small group.
We hope the booklet will become a standard resource for Sunday Schools, children’s clubs, outreach events and missions – it’s designed to stand alongside our Decision booklet which explains the gospel to adults. Born Again comes as an A6 booklet specially shaped for smaller hands, and is available from our publications page for a modest £1.50, with a discount for bulk purchases.
If you minister to children and families you may also be interested in Roger Morgan’s short book Growing Younger, which identifies a number of simple steps that can be taken by any church wishing to grow its ministry to families. It’s been used fruitfully in many places now, and it’s worth a look if you are among the growing number of churches concerned about the increasing loss of children and their families from our local churches. Also available from our publications page.
To find out more about how we can help you develop and strengthen a ministry to families click here.
Posted 2nd May 2022

A return visit to the Diocese of Kitale, Kenya

We have published a blog post on the recent Rooted in Jesus conference to the Diocese of Kitale in Kenya. The team from the US, UK and Kenya were well received and well cared for, and the 195 conference participants and 40 local facilitators participated with enthusiasm. Team leader Richard Morgan has produced a short video which you can view by clicking on the image to the right. The blog includes some encouraging highlights shared by team members, as well as a request for ongoing prayer from Bishop Emmanuel Chemengich:
  • “We praise the Lord Jesus for the successful RinJ leaders conference. Pray with us that Christ’s grace will abide with the newly trained leaders so they move with urgency and passion to establish RinJ groups across the Diocese, and for the existing leaders to be re-energized and keep pressing on with this vital discipleship program for growing our members to be more and more like Jesus.”
We are grateful to the team members who gave their time and resources to the people of Kitale, and to the group of faithful intercessors who prayed daily for them whilst they were away.
Watch Richard Morgan’s video report on the conference here.