Sunday 27 January 2019 was our farewell service at Following Jesus, the Vineyard church we have led for just over six years. Many have asked us: what now? Where will we be going? What will I be doing?
I decided to give a more detailed answer than a simple one-liner. The purpose is for awareness among all who know of our journey with Jesus and ministry, with his church and world. And especially to ask for prayer in our new season with God – God knows we need his grace!
Just to say, if you would like to hear what we shared with Following Jesus – our farewell address and responding words of thanks to us – then click http://followingjesus.org.za/sermons/alexanders-farewell-message-to-following-jesus/
I was sent into full-time paid ministry on 20 January 1975. Ever since that time I’ve been planting and pastoring churches. For the past few years I’ve known the time was coming for me to change gear and focus on what I believe God has prepared me for over the past 44 years. Simply put: to be available to the broader church to consult with and mentor leaders, to help churches with teaching and training – generally doing spiritual formation. I have been doing this for years while pastoring the local church, but now it’s time… ! Biblically speaking, I’m being released into apostolic work on a full time basis, sharing my years of spiritual-theological formation and ministry experience with those who may want to receive it.
However, to be more precise, the way I understand this new and further journey – the heart of it – is to live a slower more contemplative life. I have sensed a strong call, for the remaining years God gives me on earth, to a deepening solitude of intimacy with Jesus, to literally “echo silence” (Thomas Merton’s phrase) in all I write, say and do. I am called to write more books – as Morton Kelsey said, “I am pregnant with a number of books!” But, I want to write from inner solitude and silence, in which I hear God more clearly – the still small voice that Elijah heard – that my life and ministry may echo God’s thoughts, desires, words and deeds. To this end I would appreciate your prayers, that I may live this reality for the glory of God and fulfilment of his purposes.
Practically it means Gill and I are locating ourselves with another team and congregation not far from where we reside (I do not believe in ‘a dislocated travelling ministry’ – we will always be grounded in a local church). Gary Bradshaw, the team leader, has invited us to worship with them, to teach and lead spiritual retreats, and use it as a base for travel.
However, Gill and I are aiming to relocate to the Kwa-Zulu Natal north coast – Ballito Bay/Salt Rock area – north of Durban. We hope to do that early 2020, locating ourselves near an airport for ministry trips, and especially to base ourselves in a vibrant church that is welcoming us a teaching/mentoring/apostolic presence.
So that’s the story! Thanks to all who have supported us in one way or another, not least in prayer – especially now as we ‘walk on water’, trusting God step by step in this next phase of our lives. And P.S. my book, Doing Spirituality: The Journey of Character Formation Toward Christlikeness, is with the editors and I’m itching (waiting very impatiently!) for the final comeback, so that I can do the corrections and get the book into print. God bless!