Making new disciples in the midst of armed conflict

We are delighted to be able to share some inspiring news we have just received from South Kordofan in Sudan – a people for whom Covid is simply the latest in a long, and far more devastating, series of challenges and hardships. We hope that you too will be encouraged to know that the Lord is at work in this most painful context; and that you will draw strength from it as we face our own, more modest, difficulties.

People requesting prayer in Salara

The Diocese of Kadugli held a Rooted in Jesus training conference 18 months ago, led by Andrew Evans and a team from the Diocese of Salisbury. Since then the challenges and difficulties of Covid have been added to the far more severe challenges and difficulties they have been facing for many years now. But the Diocesan Secretary and Rooted in Jesus coordinator Babuj Simon has just written to share the news of how Rooted in Jesus is making a difference in the town of El-Dalang – to such an extent that they decided to embark on an ambitious outreach to Salara, a town in one of the rebel-controlled areas. The church there was closed fifty years ago, the building converted into a college, and people were forced to convert to Islam.
Pastor Hassan Sudan, the Rooted in Jesus team leader in Salara, recently obtained access permission for a team of 20 people from El-Dalang and El-Obied to go to Salara, to pray for the sick and to share the gospel. Twenty two people gave their lives to Christ, including some key leaders from the community, and all were baptised. The team was led by Babuj, and most of the members were drawn from existing Rooted in Jesus groups in El-Dalang. To read the report and see for yourself please read our blog post here.
“Surely God is my salvation;
 I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself,
is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
Isaiah chapter 12
Posted 8th April 2021 by the Mathetes Trust

Taste and see that the Lord is good

How can we remain faithful to our calling to share the good news of Jesus with others? How can we best draw them into the radical community which we call church? Ian Cripps is convinced that it is through building relationships. He outlines some simple steps he has taken in his own town:

If we are loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves we will form warm relationships. A warm relationship is when you and your friend know about each other’s circumstances, and so your friend knows you are a committed Christian. If you invite your friend to an interesting event, they will seriously think about attending. You have absolutely nothing to lose.
Working backwards from the outcome we desire gives us something which looks like this:
6. God invites everyone to enter into relationship with him.
5. One way of sharing God’s invitation is to provide an attractive Christian foundation course, followed by an invitation to  an accessible church service.
4. One way of sharing God’s invitation is to provide an attractive Christian foundation course, followed by an invitation to  an accessible church service.
3. The taster event is advertised through personal ‘warm’ invitations, through an announcement from your minister at your weekly online service and church website, and through neighbourhood media.
2. In preparation for this, ask for your minister’s support and email your church council or leadership team and church members outlining the planned outreach and its purpose. Invite some to serve as facilitators in the Zoom event and subsequent Zoom foundation course.
1. Find an experienced guest speaker and agree a topic.
I am a member of  the Mathetes Trust’s Equip programme. So I shared my thoughts with Roger Morgan, and then took my proposal to our minister. She suggested I work with our curate as co-leader. Just five weeks later we held our taster event!
We ran the event twice, once during the early afternoon and once in the evening, and received 34 feedback forms. We had invited participants to rate the event on a scale from 0 (a waste of time) to 6 (excellent). We were encouraged to find the average score was 5.2. Thirty of those responding said they would welcome further similar events.
We then invited those who had attended the taster events to sign up for a foundation course. We decided to use the Mathetes Trust’s friendly and accessible Beyond Ourselves course, and again we held it on Zoom. 15 participants (congregational members and their friends) and 5 facilitators accepted our invitation to attend. We used breakout rooms to keep the discussion groups small, matching each facilitator with three participants who were at similar points on their journey and asking them to keep in touch by phone. We plan to follow the Beyond Ourselves course with the rest of the series in The God Who is There programme.
Beyond Ourselves offers an interactive, jargon-free introduction to the Christian faith
If you would like to know more about running taster events and enquiry courses and feel we may be able to help, please do get in touch. Information about The God Who is There can be found on our discipleship page.
Posted 25th March 2021 by the Mathetes Trust.