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Following Jesus to be lead pastor at Valley Vineyard

Just over 3 months ago Gill and I responded to a call from the leaders at Valley to come and help in a process of evaluation and direction in terms of the where the church was at. There was a serious struggle on a few fronts, not least in regard to attendance and finances. That process came to an end in mid August when the leadership said they were ready to make decisions for the way forward. Trevor (the existing team leader) and the elders wrote me a letter of invitation or call to become the new team leader, and Trevor would be re-positioned as the associate pastor with a focus on ministries going out from Valley, particularly Emthonjeni HIV/AIDS project south of Johannesburg (which needs more of his time because of its recent growth with orphaned and vulnerable children taking up residence in house built by Habitat for Humanity).

Gill and I feel right about this decision before God. I believe God wants me to give leadership to Valley Vineyard for the remaining season of my paid-ministry life. I am keenly aware that I am entering the last part of my full-time working life as a senior pastor of a church. I know that I am now entering the peak of my experience, gifting, calling and ministry, so I am taking this appointment very seriously under God, as his precious gift entrusted to me for the years ahead. This is going to be a joy to walk this journey with God and the followers of Jesus at Valley Vineyard. I am asking God for at least 15 to 20 years of productive leadership and ministry with health and strength in my body to do this work for God’s glory and honor. Gill is equally excited at this opportunity, to stand side by side with me and do this for Jesus. Continue reading Following Jesus to be lead pastor at Valley Vineyard

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Following Jesus @ Valley Vineyard

I’m really excited about next week Sunday, 1 July 2012.  Why? I begin preaching at Valley Vineyard, after fulfilling all my prior commitments to Sunday preaching at other churches.

Since my last blog explaining the important (and rather dramatic) shifts that have taken place in Gill and my life, here’s a brief update. In following Jesus to Valley Vineyard I’ve engaged with the leadership and staff and some members over the past two to three weeks, in response to the invitation to give leadership to a process for 2 to 3 months – in order to make firm decisions as to the way forward for Valley Vineyard, for Gill and I, and for our colleague (the current team leader). We are presently making final decisions as to budget cuts, among other things… and implementing them. So it’s all happening! Pray for us!!

But my purpose in communicating is to say I’m soooo looking forward to getting into the flow of preaching at Valley Vineyard. Sunday 1 July will be my first opportunity to give perspective and initial direction in a “family talk” to the church. Then Gill and I have a 10 day family holiday. And then I begin a series of teachings on Sunday 15 July, which will run for 9 consecutive Sundays, called “Restoration and Renewal”, based in the book of Isaiah. I cannot tell you how much I’ve missed – over the past four years – preaching and teaching sunday by sunday, pastoring and building up a community of faith through the regular exposition of God’s Word. The Word of God has a power of its own. When faithfully proclaimed under the anointing of the Spirit it penetrates and cuts like a two-edged sword, exposing all sorts of stuff, and working God’s sure progressive transformation on the inside. Continue reading Following Jesus @ Valley Vineyard

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Following Jesus to Valley Vineyard

This is a brief note to inform all our friends about new shifts and changes in our lives.

Just over four years ago I handed the leadership of Valley Vineyard to a younger leader, in order to base myself full time in our community (on the farm where Gill and I live). It was partly in response to the need to give vision, leadership and direction towards growth in our community. However, after a process of discussion in our community over the past four years, there was no consensus as to the key issues – including the way forward for the community. So I decided that I needed to lay down my leadership in the community.

This, among other things, led to a process of unbundling our community commitments, and legal, financial and other structures. The purpose was to free one another to make decisions for our lives without dependencies or vested interests. At the beginning of this year Gill and I felt under God – with the blessing of the community – that we should make ourselves available for a calling to pastor or plant a church once again. Continue reading Following Jesus to Valley Vineyard