Making disciples in the local church

For many people the new year is a time for reflecting on what has gone, and looking ahead, and that is true for us too. We’d like to start by bringing you up to speed with EQUIP, the name we use for our work with church leaders. Fifty leaders now meet three times a year in five centres: Chester, Hungerford, Bristol, Derby and Canterbury. At each meeting Roger and John Benson, who lead the groups, aim to share insights from their long years of experience in parish ministry.
The most recent round of meetings covered the subject of making disciples, which we believe should be a focus of all ministry. As Roger and John look back we can think of many people now following Jesus with enthusiasm – people who were not doing that when we first met them. We want our EQUIP group members to have the same experience.
We believe that a church leader who hopes to make disciples must first and foremost be a hard-working pastor, a shepherd of the sheep who knows each one intimately. This is not easy! We know that in every church there are some who do not have it in their hearts to become disciples, some who are not open to learning new things, some who are unreliable, some who simply lack the time. So in our meetings we have been talking together about whether (and how) to challenge such people. We also recognise that some church members have such hard lives that our focus must be entirely on helping them to trust God through difficult times. But we also know that in any church, in any place, there are some who will be able to devote many years to wholehearted discipleship. It is our task and our privilege to find these people and help them fulfil their potential.
Church leaders who wish to make disciples must be able to manage their time well. This means dedicating many hours to working one-on-one with many individuals. It also means that administration, important though it is, must very largely be delegated. We discussed these things in our sessions.
Disciples can only be made in churches that teach the Bible well both on Sundays and in mid-week groups. And disciples can only be made in churches which pray, which make converts, and which have an effective ministry of healing. If a church has these things, it is easy to provide all kinds of opportunities for young Christians to grow into confident disciples; if not, then it becomes hard to help people make progress, however keen they are. All this is easy to envisage but hard to make happen; making it happen depends chiefly on reliance on the Holy Spirit but also on the willingness of church leaders to structure their churches appropriately. We took a lot of time in our sessions to talk about how to do this.
This round of teaching in EQUIP groups is now being followed up by more than 50 one-on-one visits to our EQUIP group members; we too are aiming to be hard working pastors! Each person, each church leader we serve, is unique. We will be listening to each one, praying with each one, and helping each one to make plans. And in a few places we will also be contributing to their local ministry, perhaps by preaching, perhaps by giving evangelistic talks, perhaps by taking teams with us to support evangelism, healing, or prayer.
Ian reflected on his time with EQUIP as follows:

“I have been a member of Equip now for several years. You have helped me enormously to focus on the things that matter most, the things that work and don’t work and how best to go about the Christian ministry in a church. You have inspired us by your preaching and teaching. You have occasionally disturbed my comfort and comforted me when I might otherwise have been disturbed! And always with great clarity. I take away with me your approach to preparing and preaching sermons, running home groups that grow, the importance of mentoring, how to take the spiritual temperature of a church, how to run church services, how to be a healthy church that makes disciples and many other tools that have served me well  – and I hope will continue to do so as I move in to retirement.”

EQUIP is led by Roger Morgan and John Benson. To find out more visit our EQUIP page, or contact us by email or phone.

 
 
 










Posted 6th January 2020

 

Incarnation and Redemption in the Diocese of Kondoa

It has been a great privilege this year to share in the good news of Jesus with so many people, both in the UK and in Africa. We are grateful to all who have partnered and prayed with us, and offer our best wishes for a trustful and joyful Christmas.

The Birth of Jesus - Luke 2:1-20
Birth of Jesus with Shepherds – MAFA project

We have seen the Lord working in many places – but would like to invite you to pray for just one of them as we celebrate the coming of Christ: the Diocese of Kondoa.
Kondoa sits on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley in central Tanzania, and it held its first Rooted in Jesus conference last month. It’s an unremarkable place, set in an ordinary rural community whose people support themselves predominantly by subsistence farming. But it faces particular challenges. People have worshipped in traditional ways here for thousands of years – Kondoa is home to some of the oldest rock paintings in the world. And more recently, Kondoa was a staging post on the slave route to the east coast. Today 90% of its 600,000 people are are Muslim. Many have never heard the gospel.
But the Lord has been working in Kondoa. Bishop Given Gaula has been called to serve the diocese as its leader, and he has some remarkable stories to tell. The number of Christians is growing, churches are being planted, and 126 people have just been trained to lead the first Rooted in Jesus groups.

Kondoa Nov 2019 (62cr) (2)

We’ve posted a full report on https://rootedinjesus.blog/. So before you settle down to celebrate the Lord’s coming with your family, why not take the time to ponder on what he is doing among our brothers and sisters in this remote rural district in the heart of Africa – starting with a very special act of incarnation and redemption.
Posted 17th December 2019 by Alison Morgan

Supporting prayer ministry in the local church

We believe that prayer for healing is a key part of the ministry of those who are disciples of Jesus. We base this on Matthew 10: 7-8 where Jesus instructs his disciples: “Proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” That seems quite clear, doesn’t it? Proclaiming the good news is our first priority but prayer for healing is not an optional extra; it is an essential part of our calling.
We have been pleased to support the ministry of healing at a number of events this autumn. Roger is often invited to preach in churches, especially those where the church leader is a member of one of our EQUIP groups. He does not always preach about the healing ministry but he does routinely offer to pray for people at the end of the service, always quoting the words of Jesus that if we have faith like a grain of mustard seed we can tell mountains to move and they will move. We suggest to people that if they came to church with any kind of mountain in their lives they should not go home with it, but instead come for prayer. It is not always possible to tell immediately if the prayer has been answered, but in recent times we know of one person whose hearing loss in one ear has been restored, a man with cancer who now has no trace of it left, and someone who is now on top of a serious addiction which has been dominating his life for years. We are finding that God is with us and we are trusting him even more as our ministry develops.
Gateway 2019
Andrew Evans is the vicar of St Katharine’s Holt, Wiltshire, and one of our trustees. This year Andrew and a team from St Katharine’s have been hosting a monthly meeting as part of their Gateway Christian Healing programme. The vision is to bring God’s healing love to all as a declaration of His goodness. All meetings include worship, a talk, and an extended time of prayer. Each month a different speaker is invited, covering a whole range of aspects of prayer ministry, and in November Alison spoke on ‘I am the Lord who heals you’. There was a wonderful atmosphere as people huddled together to pray, sitting or wandering off into corners, and eventually drifting off late into the dark night outside. The Gateway programme continues next year, and all are welcome – if you are in the area do take a look at their website. Next up is Simon Guillebaud!
October found Roger in Wroughton near Swindon where he had been invited by vicar Phill Harrison to lead a parish weekend on prayer. Similar weekends have happened in other churches and proved popular; the next one will be in January in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Roger normally does two sessions on the Saturday; the first of these is on solitary prayer based on Matthew 6: 6 “When you pray go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret”; Roger tries to answer the question ‘how do we listen to God in these solitary times and what do we talk to him about?’. The second session is based on Matthew 18:19-20 “If two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven for where two or three are gathered in my name I am there among them”; the session is about praying together – the aim is to show how to discover the presence and the power of Jesus when we pray in groups. Then on Sunday Roger usually preaches from Luke 11:13 where Jesus invites his disciples to ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit; in Wroughton as in other places people came forward for prayer to receive the Holy Spirit and others for healing.

 

To find out more about our long-standing healing course In His Name and other resources on prayer ministry, or to think about the possibility of hosting a prayer weekend for your church, check out the links or give us a call.

Christmas offer

advent candles

Finally, we are offering free UK postage on all or publications this month. Our poetry collection makes an excellent Christmas gift, our popular Lent course provides a fresh focus on the work of the Holy Spirit, and our other books and booklets provide a seasonal stimulus to faith. If you would like to take advantage of this offer please place your order through our office by emailing or calling us on 01749 679865.
Posted 5th December 2019

Rooted in Jesus National Coordinator Conference in Tanzania

The fourth National Rooted in Jesus Coordinator conference has just taken place in Tanzania. The conference was hosted by Bishop Stanley Hotay, the National Director for Rooted in Jesus in the Province of Tanzania, and attended by diocesan coordinators from across the country.
Bishop Stanley explained how Rooted in Jesus was first created as a resource to help people understand and practise their faith. “We had no resources to teach with,” he said; “our culture is to talk. We needed a suitable course for Africa, which permits people to talk, not read. If we are rooted in Jesus, the church will be healed.”

DSC04221 (2web)

Each Diocesan Coordinator gave a report on the progress of Rooted in Jesus within their diocese, many speaking of people coming to faith and experiencing life-changing healing, of churches growing in strength and numbers, of increasing confidence in ministry among members, and increased financial growth. Where there have been challenges, people were able to encourage and advise one another, and plans were made to support and strengthen the programme where necessary.
One of the great benefits of drawing together all the Diocesan Coordinators in this way is that it creates a strong team atmosphere. All of the Coordinators have leadership responsibilities in their own dioceses, and they had much to offer one another by way of encouragement and advice. As Rooted in Jesus becomes ever more firmly established across the Province, this is the group from whom the training teams are now drawn.
The second major benefit of the conference was that it enabled these leaders to pool their experience and think strategically about the future. How can they strengthen Rooted in Jesus in their own dioceses and in those not represented, as well as introduce it to those not yet using it? What are the factors which make for success, and what are the pitfalls to avoid? Should Rooted in Jesus be introduced to the theological colleges? How can they ensure it becomes truly self-sustaining within the Province?
Rooted in Jesus has a long history in Tanzania, and although the task of evangelism and discipleship is of course never ending, Tanzania can be proud of its own track record, and of the gift it has offered to other countries in Africa.
We have posted a full report on the Rooted in Jesus blog.
Rooted in Jesus is published and supported by the Mathetes Trust.
Posted 25th November 2019 by Alison Morgan.

Preparing for a new future in the Diocese of Kadugli, Sudan

We have just posted a report on the Rooted in Jesus blog from Canon Andrew Evans, who has just returned from the Diocese of Kadugli in Sudan, where he and a team from Bradford on Avon deanery led a Rooted in Jesus conference for 75 leaders. The invitation from Bishop Hassan came last year, but it was only in August that the political situation in Sudan improved sufficiently for the invitation to be confirmed.
Andrew writes that the churches in Kadugli city have undergone a very difficult time in the war, and they described all Christians as being the targets for the military under the previous regime. As such all the denominations have almost blended into one, as the churches clung together in the face of persecution. The Christians in Kadugli were amazed that six white people from England had been allowed to travel there, and they shared that it was an encouragement more than they could put into words that we had come to express our solidarity with them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Kadugli 5
Did Jesus have a bicycle? Read the blog to find out more!

The RinJ teaching was enthusiastically received. The delegates readily accepted the need for discipling in the churches and were keen to start the programme. Andrew tells too of some powerful prophetic words sent by an intercessor in Holt, and a number of remarkable healings: “every time we invited the Holy Spirit to come, more and more people were released.  This was of particular significance for a man who responded to a word about giving ‘locked up hurts (from long ago) to God’ and that God was ready to take them and replace them with joy. As he was wailing and crying out in response it revealed the release of some very deep and unspeakable pain. The next morning the same man was singing his heart out, dancing for joy up and down the aisles – face beaming with smiles. Most surely God had released him and given him some new peace.”
To read the full report please visit the Rooted in Jesus blog.
Posted 1st November 2019 by Revd Dr Alison Morgan

Praying for the Church in Wales

Roger writes: “Last week I went to visit the EQUIP group which meets in Chester and consists of Anglican clergy from North Wales. John Benson, who leads the group, recently spent a week praying for North Wales. John reports as follows:
“I recently spent a week in Moelfre on Anglesey, praying, seeking the Lord’s direction, and reflecting on the Church in Wales. This arose from a growing burden for the advance of the kingdom of God in Wales. Moelfre was the location of the shipwreck of the Royal Charter in 1859. More than 400 people on board lost their lives in a ferocious storm. The villagers of Moelfre rescued about 40 survivors, and this marked the start of the community’s proud history of heroic sea rescues.

Moelfre lifeboat

Moelfre today has two large lifeboats and a small boat used for rescues close to shore. In the Lifeboat Station you can see the RNLB Kiwi, poised at the top of the slipway and ready to launch out to rescue those in peril on the sea.
There is another lifeboat in the Seawatch Centre. The RNLB Bird’s Eye used to be in active service in New Quay, but it is now permanently housed as a museum exhibit, cut off from the sea. The paintwork is starting to deteriorate and the cracks between the wooden planks are showing. It looks like a lifeboat. It has been used as a lifeboat – it was launched for 89 rescues between 1970 and 1990 and saved 42 lives. It is no longer seaworthy. It is no longer fit for purpose.  It is no help at all if you are in peril on the sea. It is just a museum curiosity.
Perhaps that is a picture of many of our churches today. They look like churches. Some have had fruitful ministries as churches. But today they are as useful in saving the lost as that retired lifeboat at Moelfre. When did we last see someone come to a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in our churches? Last week? Last month? Last year? I can’t remember when this last happened …

LLandwg church (9)

Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” [Luke 19:10] He did not wait for the lost sheep to come to him. He went out to find them. Luke reports that in the early church, “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” [Acts 2:47]
Finally, this is what I believe the Lord said to me while I was in Moelfre praying for a breakthrough for the kingdom of God in the churches of North Wales:
I am here
I can do this
I will do this
I have heard your prayers
I will answer your prayers
Your own eyes will see what I will do
Watch and pray
It would be good to hear back from anyone who also has a prayer burden for this part of the world.”
John Benson
Posted 22nd October 2019 by Alison Morgan

Rooted in Jesus goes to Ghana

A Rooted in Jesus team has just returned to the UK from Ghana, where we had been invited by Bishop Felix Annancy to provide the first small group discipleship training for the Diocese of Koforidua. It was a first for Rooted in Jesus too, as Ghana becomes the 17th country to introduce the programme.

RinJ Conference, Kwabeng (96b) (4)
A small group tries out one of the practical demonstrations from Rooted in Jesus Book 1

110 joyful participants turned up to the conference, held in a secondary school in the little town of Kwabeng. We had a wonderful time, with much dancing, singing and laughter as well as a lot of hard work all round. We also attended two celebration services, each lasting nearly 5 hours, and visited Cape Coast Castle, one of Africa’s largest former slave trading posts. That wiped the smiles off our faces, but we were restored by the forgiveness and hospitality offered to us by everyone we met. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our friends in Ghana, and we continue to pray for the new group leaders and for the diocese as it follows through on its determination to grow.
One of the highlights was talking to Augustine, a young man who started off by explaining that he hadn’t wanted to come to the conference at all, and then…..  We’ll leave you to read the blog report to find out more – click here.
It goes without saying that we are immensely grateful to all who made this trip possible – to David Archer, Colin Cooper and Max Cross who joined the team, and to their churches; and to those who offered the prayerful and financial support which underpins everything we do.
Kwabeng, Ghana (52)
Team members Colin, Max and David
To find out more about Rooted in Jesus visit our website.
Posted by Alison Morgan, 6th September 2019

Supporting church leaders

We write every so often about Rooted in Jesus, so we thought it was time for an update on our EQUIP programme. EQUIP aims to support church leaders, who are invited to join one of our regional groups which meet 3 times a year for a one day seminar.
After each session the group leader, either Roger Morgan or John Benson, follows up each participant on a one to one basis, usually paying them a visit at their homes and sometimes making a contribution to the church at the same time. What we do in these personal visits varies from person to person, and quite often people have problems to share with us. The morale of church leaders is very important but can be hard to maintain. It is a privilege to support so many people at the coal-face of local ministry.

This year EQUIP has expanded on a number of fronts:

1. Membership

Membership is open to any church leader within easy reach of one of our regional hubs. The composition and location of the groups inevitably changes as people take up new appointments, but this year we have been able to welcome a number of new members. There are now 5 regional hubs, meeting in Kent, Leicestershire, Berkshire, North Wales and Somerset. The Somerset group launched this year and we meet in Bridgwater. 50 church leaders are now involved, up from 40 last year. The groups are cross-denominational, and it is a joy to have Anglican, Baptist and Methodist leaders meeting together to consider the challenges of ministry and to support one another in prayer.
EQUIP is founded on a simple question:  “What do church leaders need to be able to do if they are to lead their churches into a deeper experience of God and also into numerical growth?”. Each of our seminars takes a single topic which will help ministers to grow both in their personal walk with the Lord and in their role as church leaders; each participant is given a booklet setting out the main principles and offering suggestions for good practice. Often it turns out that someone has a great deal of experience to share on a particular topic, and when this is so we invite them to take the lead.
So far this year the topics the various groups have covered are: Breathing life into Sundays, Managing time, Prayer Ministry, Revive us Again and Transforming Preaching.

2. Ministry

Growth never happens in a vacuum so, keen as we are to help church leaders, we are also looking for practical ways to serve their churches. We love helping churches to plan and run local missions, and of course we are always willing to help lead training courses and to preach. Our most recent initiative is to put together a series of 5 seminars for church members, covering the following topics:
1.  The Holy Spirit – the source of life and power
2.  Developing a strong prayer life – both individual and corporate
3.  Prayer ministry – praying for others
4.  Evangelism – ministry to the community
5.  Becoming messengers – ministry of the word
We are currently piloting this course in Durrington, Wiltshire, and we are extremely encouraged by the response. The Saturday morning sessions have been attended by up to 26 church members, some of whom have had no direct experience of ministering to others; many say that they have been going much deeper with God than they’ve been able to do before. The Lord seems very willing to pitch in; it’s all about having the confidence to let him!

3. Resources

If you would like to order a copy of one of our EQUIP booklets please let Jessica know – some of the topics are listed below. If you are interested in finding out more about EQUIP, either through joining an existing group or helping to start a new one in your area, please contact us. And if you are an experienced church leader who would like to help us expand our reach please do get in touch!
The following EQUIP booklets can be ordered from the office at a nominal price of £2.50 including postage:
All Age Worship
Breathing Life into Sundays
Courage
Delivering the Word of God
Developing New Leaders
Encouragement
Healing
Managing Time
Management of Change
Making Disciples
Prayer Ministry
Prayer Meetings and How to Lead Them
Small Groups
The Work of an Evangelist
Transforming Preaching

To find out more visit our EQUIP page

Posted 19th August 2019 by Alison Morgan

Supporting the Mathetes Trust

New donation facility

We are very grateful to all who support the ministry of the Mathetes Trust either in the form of single donations, or by regular standing order. We had been using BT’s free charity donation facility on our websites, but this has now closed. We’ve looked carefully at the alternatives, and have decided that the service offered by the Charities Aid Foundation is the best one for our purposes. The new donate button is shown below, and it connects to our CAF charity page https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/10163.
If you do not yet support us financially but would like to do so, the CAF page offers various options for both one-off and regular donations.

CAF


Making a difference – what we do with your gifts

As a charity we travel very light, but we are nonetheless dependent on your support both for our ministry in the UK and for Rooted in Jesus in Africa. Our ministry continues to grow: in recent weeks Roger and Katy Morgan have run a prayer weekend for a church in Oxfordshire, Alison has spoken at a village outreach evening on Science & Faith in Derbyshire, and Mike Cotterell has taken a Rooted in Jesus team to the Diocese of East Ruwenzori in Uganda. Our EQUIP ministry with church leaders is expanding – we are now working with 50 churches across the country. Richard Scott and Roger are planning a further parish mission in Kent for 2020, and we have other church weekends and preaching engagements in the diary. We have more Rooted in Jesus conferences planned for later this year and for next year, and we are currently working on seven new translations of the Rooted in Jesus books! We have also just published an updated edition of the Rooted in Jesus Team Manual, which is used by team members and host dioceses to introduce and support Rooted in Jesus. News from dioceses already using Rooted in Jesus continues to be encouraging – visit our news page to find out more.

RinJ Team Manual cover 2019_Page_1


Amazon Smile programme

Finally, we are pleased that the Amazon Smile programme is generating a small amount of income for us. If you buy from Amazon, you can nominate a charity to receive a small donation from Amazon, at no extra cost to yourself. All you need to do is shop via https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ instead of via http://amazon.co.uk/, and choose your charity (just once). They do the rest! Persuading Amazon to make charitable donations has to be good…
Amazon smile
We are hugely grateful to all those who partner with us in prayer, in practical involvement, and in financial support – thank you so much! If you would like to join our contact list and receive our news updates by email do let us know – or click to follow this blog using the button on the right.
Posted 2nd July 2019

Letters from Africa – Rooted in Jesus news from South Africa & Burundi

We have been hugely encouraged to receive recent news about our discipleship programmes Rooted in Jesus and The God Who is There from Southern Africa and Burundi. A full report is on our blog, but here is a snapshot:
The latest newsletter from Growing the Church in Cape Town proclaims: Discipleship takes off in the Anglican Province of Southern Africa! It carries a report on recent training conferences in the Diocese of Natal and the Diocese of Lesotho, facilitated by a team which included members from the Diocese of Free State, where RinJ was introduced last year. Bishop Martin Breytenbach has recently conducted a video interview with Bishop Dintoe Letloeyane, who tells of the impact of the programme in his own diocese of Free State. Watch it on youtube here or by clicking on the image.

dintoe

Other testimonies include:
  • “I am totally humbled as I reflect on the weekend—words will never be enough to express what the Lord has done here! It was a wow experience. As Isaiah 43:18 says, “God is doing a new thing.” Several participants heard the gospel for the first time and committed their lives to Jesus. Thank God for Revd Trevor who preached boldly about salvation and gently challenged the people to consider inviting Jesus in their lives.” Joseph Morenammele (Lesotho)
  • “Each course will be rotating around the diocese over a period of 15 months. We are, with our Bishop’s support, assisting and enabling parishes to evangelize and make disciples. God is good! Three new Rooted in Jesus Adult groups, one new Rooted in Jesus Junior group, three new Alpha Groups and one new J-Life group have been formed at Parish Level.” Bruce Woolley (Natal)
Meanwhile we were delighted to hear from Elisha Acadamy in Burundi that Rooted in Jesus continues to be an effective tool for discipleship in the Diocese of Muyinga. He reports that: “Kiremba village is going to become a new parish as a result of the Rooted in Jesus ministry; in Cibare one group has completed the course and 2 new groups are now starting; the church in Danzuko has expanded through RinJ; many have surrendered to Jesus and given up idol worship in Jarama; a new church is being planted in Mukoni as a result of Rooted in Jesus.” He concludes, “the Diocese began when they had almost 25 parishes. But now after using Rooted in Jesus, more than 5 parishes have been inaugurated. This is a result of the Rooted in Jesus mission. This place is a good place for doing this ministry because many people need to hear about Jesus.” Elisha (below) is currently part of the RinJ team to the Diocese of East Ruwenzori in Uganda.

Elisha Academy 2

We have posted a full report from South Africa on the Rooted in Jesus blog, which you can read here. While you are there you might like to sign up to follow the blog, which means you will automatically be notified of new posts! And if you would like to catch up on recent feedback from other places do keep an eye on the Rooted in Jesus news page.
Posted 28th May 2019