God's Mission in Southern Africa

NETS Theological Research Papers - Volume One


Research Paper (postgraduate), 2011

132 Pages


Excerpt

Contents

Contributors

Foreword

Chapter one: research introduction

Chapter two: literature and biblical overview

Chapter three: research results and data interpretation

Chapter four: conclusion and recommendations

Bibliography

Chapter one: introduction

Chapter two: theological substance

Chapter three: research results and interpretation

Chapter four: conclusion

Bibliography

Chapter one: introduction

Chapter two: literature overview

Chapter three: research results and interpretation

Chapter four: conclusion

Bibliography

Chapter one: introduction

Chapter two: research methodology

Chapter 3: theological principles for youth ministry

Chapter 4: research findings, analysis and interpretation

Chapter 5: conclusion and recommendations

Bibliography

Contributors

Simba Musvamhiri (BTh) is Associate Pastor of His People Church, Windhoek, Namibia.

Peter Koona Tefo (BTh, DipTh) is a pastor of the Lesotho Evangelical Church, Lesotho.

Abednigo Musona (BTh, DipTh) is a pastor of the Evangelical Church of Zimbabwe.

Zeka Avelino Tjiwana (BTh) is a student worker with Campus Crusade for Christ, Namibia

Foreword

This book is the first volume of theological research papers from the Namibia Evangeli­cal Theological Seminary (NETS). The authors are young southern African theologians and practitioners. While they come from different countries and church backgrounds they all share a commitment to Gospel-centred mission and church ministry. It is my hope that these papers will inspire more southern African Christians to get involved in theological research – for the glory of God and the building up of His Church.

Simba Musvamhiri (Zimbabwe) looks at the discipleship process in a fast growing evangelical-charismatic church in Namibia’s capital Windhoek. He argues that attrac­tive services and a strong preaching and teaching ministry, as well as a focus on hospi­tality are no guarantee that church members are fully committed to follow Jesus Christ in all areas of life and on a daily basis. What is needed is a relational and transferable discipleship process which equips all church members whether they are students, young professionals or other community members, to move towards spiritual maturity. Peter Koona Tefo (Lesotho) demonstrates the importance of pastoral visitation in the southern African context. According to Tefo there is a direct correlation between the frequency and quality of pastoral visits by church leaders and active participation in the life of a local congregation by church members. Abednigo Musona (Zimbabwe) examines the relationship between church leadership and the level of participation of church members in congregational programmes and fluc­tuations in church membership respectively. He argues that a church leadership which follows Biblical principles is more likely to achieve spiritual and numerical growth. Finally, Zeka Avelino Tjiwana (Namibia) explores the situation of young church members in the north of Namibia. He shows that due to the absence of youth ministry guidelines and a lack of spiritually ma­ture and well trained youth leaders, emotional and spiritual problems of young people are not properly addressed.

Thorsten Prill

Windhoek

The dynamics of discipleship in a multicultural evangelical-charismatic church in Namibia

Simba Musvamhiri

Chapter one: research introduction

Introduction

The aim of this research is to assess the discipleship process of His People Church Windhoek, using the One2One booklet and how it is impacting members of the congre­gation. This chapter will give attention to the hypothesis, conceptualisation, purpose of study, research problem, motivation or rationale of study and the methodology of the research project which is an inquiry into the discipleship culture of the church, the people and their inter­relatedness.

Hypothesis

The numerical exponential growth at HP Windhoek over the past year does not neces­sarily mean that every person in the congregation is being effectively discipled. Can we really measure the effectiveness of the church by counting how many people are attending the weekly services? If quality is the measurement of effectiveness at HP Windhoek, then the church should certainly be not impressed by large numbers of peo­ple. Many people attend church services but it is not clear if they are in a long-term dis­cipleship relationship. It is possible that a lot of people are being attracted to the ser­vices because of spirit-filled preaching, contemporary music, hospitality and a display of charismatic gifts but still lack full comprehension and commitment to following Jesus every day.

Purpose of study

To contribute and help the leadership team and members of HP Windhoek to embrace discipleship as a congregational culture in obedience to the Great Commission (Mat­thew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-17). The purpose of this study is to motivate individuals in the congregation who have not yet started the discipleship journey to get involved and also to encourage believers who are currently discipling others. Looking cautiously at the present congregational life, this study seeks to help the leadership team to discern priorities, stay focused on the goals of disciple-making and make responsible decisions for either adjustments or enhancing the current work.

Research problem

Discipleship is clearly outlined in the mission statement of HP Windhoek namely: “Honour God, Make Disciples!” The mission statement of the church is founded on Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-16 and it is a noble task. The research problem is that while there are many people who come to church every Sunday, worship freely, display some knowledge of scriptures, listen to good sermons and attend events run by the church, it seems that many people are not in an intentional long-term discipleship relationship and are not growing spiritually. Most people seem to experience conver­sion, receive foundational and elementary teachings through the One2One booklet (in a minimum time frame of six weeks), however they do not intentionally continue a per­sonal discipleship process after completing the One2One. It also appears that the discipleship process is not transferrable. McClung (2008:186) identifies this as a prob­lem in church discipleship processes and he contends that an organic reproduction of disciples or replication by those that are in a discipleship relationship is often missing.

Motivation or rationale for study

The researcher considers it a privilege to belong to a church that has discipleship as a core value. The researcher has been discipled, is being discipled, is discipling others and is seeing the Lord at work, transforming people. There is a lot of joy that comes through making disciples. God fills your heart with joy when you see people engage in long-term relationships centred on the gospel of Jesus Christ and obeying His commands. There is much to celebrate when the body of Christ displays an environment of love, trust and hunger for the lost.

Discipleship is Jesus’ inspired plan to reconcile the world to Him. I personally embrace discipleship as a lifestyle because God is at work in the world through His followers. This research is a discernment process to help me and other leaders see what God is doing in the church and further my participation in God’s missional praxis. The revela­tion of the Lord in the world is continuous, therefore this research, in its nature, is a small part of the unfolding understanding of His revelation.

Possible value of research

Whilst this research is not an exhaustive survey of the whole church (HP Windhoek), it will hopefully contribute to the leadership team’s ongoing inquiry into the dynamics and effectiveness of the One2One discipleship tool across the Campus, Young Profes­sionals and Community (families) ministries. Furthermore, this research will present to the leadership team a record of personal insights from the congregation to determine whether people are embracing discipleship as congregational culture. There is anticipa­tion from the leadership team that the research findings of this project will measure the discipleship intensity (quality) of the church using the numerical representation of the segments of the church. The researcher, together with the leadership team (and future teams) will hopefully benefit from the findings of the research, praise God for what He is doing, and make informed and responsible decisions for either adjustments or enhancing the current work.

Conceptualization

Campus Ministry: HP Windhoek’s ministry to students at the University of Namibia. This ministry has grown from a mere student outreach to a formal congregation of about 120 students and it is led by a Campus Pastor.

Community: The segment of HP Windhoek that includes older married people with children and families.

Connect group: The phrase used by HP Windhoek to refer to the weekly small group meeting, where people share their life, challenges, struggles, victories, testimonies, needs, prayer, Bible study and accountability. A connect group is elsewhere known as a home group, home cell, cell group or Bible study group.

Discipleship, disciple-making, disciples: McClung (2008:202) defines discipleship is helping another person to personally know, love and obey Jesus. Discipleship is following Jesus, accepting His teachings in mind, heart and lifestyle. Discipleship is a process by which a disciple learns how to follow Christ, fish for men and exercise fellowship with other believers. A follower of Jesus is a disciple. A disciple is a follower of Christ who remains in Christ, who is obedient, bearing fruit, glorifies God, loves others and has passion for the lost. Disciple making is the entire process from conversion to a trained disciple maker. Hull (2007:94-95) states that disciple making introduces the lost to the Saviour through the sharing of the good news, builds them to maturity and trains them to reproduce and be effective for Christ.

His People Church Windhoek (HP Windhoek): An evangelical charismatic church that was started in Windhoek in 1996 after an outreach mission by students sent from the His People Church in Johannesburg. This mission was so successful that pastors were sent from South Africa to plant a His People Church in Windhoek. Over the years, the church has grown from less than 100 people to just over 500 people. HP Windhoek also has a vibrant student ministry at the University of Namibia campus where services are held every Sunday for students. HP Windhoek is part of Every Nation, which is a worldwide family of churches and ministries that exists to Honour God by planting Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered, socially-responsible churches and campus ministries in every nation. This church is one of the multi-ethnic, multi-racial and vibrant faith communities in Windhoek, Namibia.

Honour God, Make Disciples!: The motto and mission of the Every Nation family of churches (taken from Matthew 28:19-20) embraced by HP Windhoek.

Leadership Team: Refers to the senior leaders of the HP Windhoek comprising of the Senior Pastor, Elders, Campus Pastor and the Young Professionals Ministry Leaders.

One2One: Refers to a little booklet used as a tool for personal follow-up and disciple­ship by all His People Churches in Southern Africa. It is a tool with Bible verses put together topically to help believers engage and establish others in fundamental biblical foundations. Since it is a guide, it cannot make a disciple but will assist believers in laying foundations with topics such as salvation, lordship, repentance, baptism, faith, church, Bible and prayer. Someone who has gone through the One2One and understood the foundations is expected to also lead someone else through each chapter.

Young Professionals Ministry: The segment of HP Windhoek that consists of young adults or those who have graduated from university and are working. This ministry caters specifically for the needs and questions that young adults face in the market place, such as how to be effective witnesses for Christ without compromising the gos­pel. Relevant topics, preaching, and events that promote godly relationships and disci­pleship are major signposts of this ministry.

Methodology

Seeking permission- The researcher sought permission and it was granted after negotia­tions between the senior pastor at HP Windhoek, senior leaders, elders and members of staff.

Questionnaire design- The questionnaire comprises six (6) questions which cover an understanding and application of the One2One booklet as well as the practicality of per­sonal discipleship. The template for the questionnaire used during the research is attached in. The researcher has also given a copy of the One2one booklet to the research supervisor. This research was done by way of Participatory Action Re­search and included a reflection on theoretical literature written on the subject.

Facilitators- People who helped in the conducting of the research, were key leaders who organized meeting times and venues with members of the congregation.

Sampling the congregation- HP Windhoek is congregation of more than 500 people of which 350 are adults. The other 150 is children’s church. The interviews for this re­search focused on at least 17% of the adult congregation as an acceptable requirement for Christian research. Twenty-two people (eleven male and eleven female congregants) were interviewed from each of the three main ministries of the church (Campus, Young Professionals and Community) as was outlined in the proposal. In total, 66 people were interviewed and questionnaires were handed out to all the respondents and completed by them.

The respondents- The people who volunteered to answer questions in this research filled out questionnaires and some engaged in verbal discussion to clarify their written answers. There was no difficulty in conducting the research. The respondents were very enthusiastic to contribute and make their views known about how much they understand about the discipleship culture of HP Windhoek.

Chapter two: literature and biblical overview

Introduction

Many people have undertaken to write on discipleship and its biblical guidelines but at the time when this research is being carried out, there has never been any study on HP Windhoek. However, there is a vast corpus of literature on discipleship though not spe­cifically identified with this denomination. This chapter will focus on the theological understanding of discipleship looking at the literature and biblical motif for disciple­ship.

Literature overview

Discipleship is a term used in reference to a learning process. The word disciple in its original Greek use would mean a learner or a pupil. A disciple is not only a learner but he is also an adherent. The researcher believes that discipleship should be a lifestyle for believers and should be the general outlook of every existing church. Rosner & Alexan­der (2000:electronic) note that the word disciple(s) is used more than 282 times in the New Testament, more often in the gospel of Matthew (73 times) than in the other syn­optic gospels. Byrant (1993:131) and Kohlenberger (1993:118) state that other words are used in the New Testament to refer to, as well as describe, the disciples of Christ: believers (cf. John 4:41, Acts 1:15, Acts 10:45, 1 Tim 4:12, Gal 6:10), saints (cf. Eph 1:1, Phil 1:1, Philemon 5), the faithful (cf. Eph 1:1), brothers (cf. Col 1:1, 1 Thes 4:1, 2 Thes 1:3), those loved by God (cf. Rom 1:7) and Christians (cf. Mtt 10:1, Mtt 11:1, Acts 6:1 ).

Discipleship defined

Sanders (1994:7-9) and Marshall (1996:277) assert that the English word ‘Disciple’ is derived from the Latin word discipulus meaning a pupil or learner, which corresponds to the Greek (mathetes) μαθητής- which refers to the pupil of a teacher. Marshall (1996:277) adds that disciples in the New Testament world adopted the distinctive teaching of their masters be it religion or philosophy. Harrison (1960:166) asserts that in philosophy, a disciple would be the understudy of the philosopher, with an overtone of an apprentice. Bromiley (1960:441) concurs with Harrison that the term Mathetes designates following in the sense of an apprentice, always with the connotation of per­sonal attachment which shapes the whole life of the disciple. Harrison (1960:166) notes that Mathetes is also related to the Hebrew words Talmid and limid and the Aramaic word Talmida which means a disciple or a student. There is no disciple without a teacher.

Harrison (1960:166) claims that discipleship does not distinguish between theory and practice like Western culture does. He also adds that learning happens by listening to the teachings and assimilating them into everyday life. It is with this understanding that the word ‘disciple(s)’ is frequently used in the New Testament as an accepted descrip­tion of the adherents of the Christian movement. Hull (2007:74) asserts that the primary use of the word mathetes in the gospels described the relationship between the followers of Jesus during His mission: the twelve (Mtt 10:1-24), the seventy and the five hundred (1 Cor 15:6).

Willard (2006:24) says that disciple literally means students of Jesus with the goal to learn to be like Him. Willard adds that theological integrity and spiritual vitality are to be properties of the same thing. Authentic discipleship balances a person’s lifestyle with what he or she believes. Christians cannot have a lifestyle that is separate from their be­lief in Christ. Willard (2006:26) goes further on to say that postponing obedience to Christ for as long as a Christian wants is a heresy that has crept into evangelical circles. The disciple of Jesus is a follower of His teachings and commands through scripture. A disciple is an adherent, a follower of Christ. A disciple is someone who follows Christ, fishes for men (shares the gospel message with those that don’t know Jesus) and has fellowship with other believers. Adsit (1988:31) asserts that a disciple is a person learning and applying truths about Jesus resulting in commitment to a godly lifestyle. Marshall (1996:277) states that a disciple should display continual dynamism, flux, change and spiritual growth. Marshall (1996:277) also adds that a disciple of Jesus is one who has given his/her commitment, loyalty, allegiance to Christ by embracing Jesus’ teachings not only in the cognitive but in lifestyle, no matter the cost. According to the gospels (cf. Acts 10:1, Mtt 20:17) “Disciple” is also the name given to the first 12 followers of Jesus whom He called.

According to Harrison (1960:167) a disciple may mean: (1) a believer (2) a learner in the school of Christ (3) one who is committed to sacrificial life for His sake (Luke 14:26), 27, 33) and (4) one who acts to fulfil the obligation of discipleship, namely to make disciples in the world. Disciples are called to be imitators of Christ, have a supreme devotion to Him and share the life and mission of Christ. A disciple lives to honour God and totally depending on Him for grace and power to do God’s will. Jesus, Himself defined what a disciple is. His exemplary teaching is recorded in the pages of the New Testament. Hull (2007:75) provides the following summary of what a disciple is:

Is willing to deny self, take up a cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23)

Puts Christ before interest in self, family and possessions (Luke 14:25-35)

Is committed to Christ’s teachings (John 8:31)

Is committed to world evangelism (Matthew 9:36-38)

Loves others as Christ loves (John 13:34-35)

Abides in Christ, is obedient, bears fruit, glorifies God, has joy, and loves others (John 15:7-17)

If any person finds these demands burdensome and therefore unwilling to make such commitments, Jesus declares that “He cannot be my disciple” (cf. Luke 14:26-27, 33).

When does one become a disciple?

Since discipleship is important, it is vital to note when one becomes a disciple. Sanders (1990:11-15) upholds that when an individual gives a confession of faith in Christ and trusts Him for salvation, believing in His atonement work on the cross, such an individ­ual is a disciple. Bonhoeffer (1995:94) qualifies a disciple as one who is remorseful and broken by the gospel message because of their sins and turns to Jesus for forgiveness. Bonheffer (1995:95) also stresses that a disciple is one who has faith in Christ and de­cides and is convinced in their hearts to follow Christ.

Bonheffer (1995:95) insists that discipleship is not a loose affiliation or loose con­nection to Christ but the gospel has captured one’s heart. When one decides to follow Christ, he/she becomes a disciple of Christ. The person who understands that he/she has been summoned to an exclusive attachment to the personhood of Jesus is a disciple. Sanders (1990:29) declares that the process of one becoming a disciple is uncompli­cated. There are no conditions of one becoming a disciple, there is nothing one can do in order to be a disciple of Christ except believing in the gospel and asking for forgiveness from Jesus (cf. Romans 10:9-10). There is nothing one can do to be accepted by the Lord except a genuine confession of faith. John 6:29 clearly states that the only work of God is to believe in the one He sent. Everyone is called to be a disciple, by the Lord (cf. John 14:6-12). The Lord Jesus also gave a simple invitation to come and follow Him. If a one hears this call and responds to it by faith, he/she is a disciple. The process of following Jesus, obeying and remaining in Him is discipleship (cf. John 15:1-8).

To give further clarity, the disciple is one who has responded to the call whereas dis­cipleship is the disciple’s journey of obeying Jesus. When a person believes in Jesus, they immediately become a disciple of Jesus. Some people think that when someone is showing improvement in their lifestyle, they can be regarded as disciples of Jesus. Although this notion is often believed in modern evangelical circles, it is monstrous and unbiblical. Disciples come to Jesus for grace, they are not perfect and they come to Him burdened with sin. No matter how one’s life is looking, even if it is still tainted by sin from the old life, he/she is a disciple. This is the reason why discipleship is essential to teach disciples to abandon sin and obey the Lord through His Word.

Bonhoeffer (1995:57) upholds that when one responds to Jesus’ call through the gospel message, they have responded to the absolute authority of God. They are a disci­ple of Christ, and that means they belong to Christ from that moment. The early disci­ples of Jesus did not fully understand Jesus even when He directly called them. Twenty first century believers are privileged to have been called to be disciples after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Through the Scriptures, the death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus and His Great Commission is made clear and gives people a perfect hope to trust in Jesus as His disciples.

Bonhoeffer (1995:89) notes that when Christ calls a man, he calls him to die to the old life of sin so that he can commune with him. When one professes genuine faith in Christ because of divine truth, one becomes a disciple of Christ. Whether one obeys Jesus or not, it is the role of the church to make sure that believers are discipled, taught, baptised and integrated into fellowship. One becomes a disciple because of Christ. Bon­hoeffer (1995:183) says that one becomes a disciple not because of himself, but the complete work of Christ and His saving grace. One becomes a disciple not because he possesses such a new standard or wisdom but only by believing in the Jesus Christ, the very Son of God.

Discipleship

Discipleship is intentionally seeking to fulfil the imperative of the Great Commission (cf. Mtt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-18) and moving toward spiritual maturity through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. Adsit (1988:40) asserts that discipleship utilises the resources of the local church, fully employing the gifts, talents and skills. Disciple­ship is the vocation of the church and that is the mission of the fruit-bearing followers of Jesus. Discipleship leads people to a relational health with God and others. McClung (2009:1) sums up basic truths about discipleship as a good relationship with God, a good relationship with the world and a good relationship with other believers (Love Jesus, Love each other, Love the world). Discipleship is the application of the teaching learnt from the master and the essence of discipleship is putting into practice what has been learnt.

Bonhoeffer (1995:59) asserts that discipleship is nothing else except bondage to Christ and His commands. Jesus matters and He is very significant. Bonhoeffer (1995:59) continues to say that Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without Christ. Discipleship without Christ is superfluous and devoid of all God’s promises and Jesus rejects it. Bonhoeffer (1995:89) also points out that the cross of Jesus must always be reflected in the lives of Jesus’ followers.

Hull (2007:142-143) notes that the church exists for a mission and it (the church) legitimatizes its existence by prioritizing the mission. Hull (2007:142) adds that doing otherwise prostitutes the mandate (cf. Mtt 28:19-20). Sanders (1994:28-29) asserts that where application of the teachings of Jesus is absent, that is nominal discipleship. Coleman (1998:9) notes that Jesus made a high priority of discipleship and He was sim­ply asking His followers to do what He had done (cf. Mtt 4:19 & Mtt 28:19-20). Cole­man (1998:9) adds that the Great Commission is an obligation incumbent upon the community of faith.

Murrell (2010:25) upholds that successful congregational ministry is only fulfilled by keeping the main thing the main thing - Discipleship. Murrell (2010:26) uses a famous story of an 11 year old boy as an illustration. This boy was a judo student who got injured badly through a road accident and his arm was amputated. He later returned to his judo instructor who taught him to master ‘only one move’ although it was the most difficult move in judo that hardly anyone practised. During the tournament, most people felt sorry for him because he had only one arm and he advanced through the stages. In the final round, the boy’s opponent didn’t take him seriously until he realised that he was losing the match. The strong opponent tried by all means to gain ground but it was too late and he lost the match. Murrell (2010:26) states that when the boy’s in­structor was asked to explain to the media reporters, he said that the boy had mastered only one move, the most difficult move in judo which had no escape or defence, that’s why he won.

Through this illustration, Murrell stresses the importance of discipleship as the only move that the church should invest its resources and time in, namely to portray Christ in the world. A disciple-making church might be pitied, scorned or considered out-dated, out of touch with the modern trends of changing culture, but in the end, such a church will build strong disciples and leaders. Murrell (2010:26) notes that a church that makes disciples is doing Bible based ministry, and that most of the time such a church will not go wrong.

Hull (2007:68) asserts that the Great Commission, which is the church’s mission, stems from Mtt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-17, Luke 24:47-48, Acts 1:8 and John 20:21. He upholds that Matthew 28:19-20 is the well known passage for the Great Commission and it also gives the blueprint, methods and methodology for fulfilling Christ’s com­mand. Hull (2007:69) asserts that the important Greek verb in the imperative matheteusate in Mtt 28:19, meaning go and make disciples, is followed by the adjec­tives, which are important actions that show how disciples are to be made (go, baptiz­ing, teaching). Whether disciples are local or travelling, making disciples is not an op­tion, it is a command.

Followers of Jesus should go into the world and reach out to non-believers, share the gospel and integrate them into a local church where they will be baptised and taught to follow Christ. The disciples of Christ are to make disciples of all nations by baptising them in the name of the Trinitarian God and teaching them to obey the commands of Jesus. Therefore Christian discipleship is a way of life initiated, based on and centred on the Trinity. Teaching new believers to observe the teachings of Christ is crucially im­portant. Bonhoffer (1995:230-235) expounds on the necessity of teaching those that have believed in Christ so that they can be firmly established in the essential Christian doctrines. Discipleship ensures that disciples bear fruit acceptable before God (cf. John 14:15-21, John 15:3-4).

Hull (2007:69) also upholds that evangelism should not be divorced from disciple­ship. The command of Jesus has evangelistic implications; evangelism is also part of discipleship. Every disciple should make disciples, no matter who they are or what position they have in the church. Coleman (1998:10) notes that discipleship should be seen as a lifestyle, allowing believers with secular occupations to make disciples where they spend most of their time. Adsit (1988:39) upholds that disciple-making (cf. Mtt 28:19-20) happens when a disciple avails himself to bring another person into a rela­tionship with God where they will grow. Willard (2006:9) affirms the importance of discipleship through his classic statement: ‘A church in non-discipleship is in the Great Omission.’

The disciple-maker’s (who is also a disciple himself) responsibility is to provide an environment which will enhance growth in knowing God. It is not up to the disciple-maker to cause growth in a disciple’s life. The relationship between the disciple-maker and the disciple should always ensure that the disciple becomes dependant on God not on another human being. Discipleship is not supposed to be a complicated process, it should be simple. Hull (2007:78) asserts that a disciple should remain in Christ, that’s the simplicity of it. Willard (2006:5) says that if believers don’t become Christ’s apprentices, their moral intentions will always be defeated. Discipleship to Christ will always bring inward transformation of thoughts, feelings and character.

Discipleship is a long term relationship with Jesus. Since a disciple embraces or should adhere to the teachings of Christ, this relationship continually builds trust, love, forgiveness. Discipleship should display spiritual growth, dying to self and living by the grace of God through faith in Christ. Barna (2011:60-62) mentions that discipleship is a process where a person allows God to change their ungodly values into godly values. Discipleship is about relationships not programs. If the programs are not enhancing godly relationships, there is no discipleship happening. Barna (2011:63) adds that prin­ciples, processes, structures and methodologies of discipleship might change but the church needs to constantly remind itself that it is called to make disciples (cf. Mtt 28:19-20, Luke 24:47-49, Acts 1:8). Bonhoeffer (1995:183) asserts that the disciple’s life lies exclusively in the fellowship with Christ. He possesses his/her righteousness uniquely in Jesus Christ and never outside. It is clear from Scripture that the disciple has no spe­cial privilege or power of his own. The main spring of his life is the strength that comes from his fellowship with Christ.

Murrell (2010:54-55) stresses that discipleship is also known as a process and man­ner in which people who are in the world are attracted to Jesus and assimilated into the church by believers. Willard (2006:13) upholds that discipleship is not an option or a suggestion, it is an imperative. It is a command without conditions. There is absolutely nothing in what Jesus or His early followers taught that suggests that a Christian can decide to enjoy forgiveness at Jesus’ expense and have nothing more to do with Him. Bonheffer (1995:231) and Willard (2006:13) concur that receiving salvation is only the beginning of the discipleship journey.

The importance of authentic long-lasting relationships in disci­pleships

Making disciples is much bigger than a structured process and well-organised program with a world class curriculum. Hull (2007:62) asserts that discipleship doesn’t work where there are no authentic relationships. If people realise that a Christian just wants them to go through a process, finish a booklet or course program after a certain period of time, they will eventually drop out as they don’t feel that the Christian cares about them. Hybels (2006:59-75) discusses the importance of developing friendships with people before sharing the gospel. One of Hybels (2006:68) questions was “what would you do if someone you share the gospel with declines and refuses to believe in Jesus, would you still want to see them?” This question is probably emanating from an experi­ence of people who are only interested in sharing the gospel and not having relation­ships with people.

Adsit (1988:58) underscores the importance of friendships and relationships. Adsit (1988:58) sees this as a great platform to get to know the person better, not only stop­ping at teacher-pupil level. Pratney (1988:58) suggests doing fun things together, eating together, working together, talking about other things not related to church, travelling together, laughing together, mourning together, inviting each other into homes and families is the heart of discipleship. Discipleship requires having a relationship with the whole person, not just the religious individual.

Engaging in the lives of the people around us helps us to develop relationships where platforms for sharing truth are more likely to surface. It is important for believers to understand that non-believers will at some point be ready to hear the gospel story as they start to disciple them. Hybels (2006:60) asserts that people will be ready to hear about Jesus provided Christians know when to do it. If Christians immediately share the gospel story, it is most probable that the listener hasn’t built enough trust, they haven’t known the new person enough and hence there is not enough ground to share truth. Murrell (2010:67) also suggests that every culture is capable of being discipled as long as there are authentic relationships. Murrell (2010:67) upholds that relevance is over­rated, because the gospel works in every culture as long as relationships have been formed.

Christians cannot disciple people that they don’t have relationships with. People want someone to share life with someone they can trust. People want to be shown that they are valued and loved. Relationships are key if discipleship is to be successful. Without a good relationship with someone, it is harder to share the whole truth. Rela­tionships are very vital for conversations to begin, they provoke questions, answers or even debates that lead to discipleship and the sharing of truth. Murrell (2010:67) says that the simplest form of defining discipleship is shown in three key relationships: (1) with God (2) with non-believers (3) with God’s people (fellowship).

Relationships are not easy, there will be hurdles. People can hurt, offend or frustrate each other, sometimes there are relational dysfunctions. Pratney (1977:301) asserts that many disciples have been hurt in their relationships at work, at home with family, by people they trust, by friends or people that are very close to them. Pratney (1977:301) says this is a global problem in relationships, no matter where you are geographically. The best way to deal with disappointment and hurt is to fully forgive. Unforgiveness takes our eyes off Jesus to dwell on people that have hurt us. Pratney (1977:302) stresses that forgiveness is important in relationships. The same as when we were still sinners, God forgave us through His Son Jesus Christ. When believers feel betrayed, cheated, lied to in relationships, they should not think that they have failed to make dis­ciples. Believers should still have faith and trust in Jesus that those people they were trying to build relationships with will discover that they really care. Pratney (1977:303) asserts that Christians should trust in the Lord and maintain the relationship as much as they can. The principle of discipleship does not change, a discipleship relationship never ends.

It is important for Christians to review their relationship with God. If Christians have a good relationship with Him, do they commit their lives to Him every day? Do Chris­tians engage people in their community willingly to start and build relationships with the lost? Do Christians have constant relationships with other believers in the church, and are they accountable in those relationships or are their lives very secretive? Murrell (2010:68) asserts that if church systems are not working, if people are not volunteering in the church, if the church is not growing, if the church is not making disciples, if dis­ciples are not maturing and reaching the lost, it always goes back to relationship issues.

Discipleship models

There are many discipleship models that can be used to make disciples. There is no right or wrong method of making disciples as long as it is God honouring and the end result is a Christ-centred follower, who is committed to have a long lasting relationship with God, other believers and people that are lost. However, a clear method and struc­ture on how disciples are to be made is essential to ensuring that the right biblical foun­dations are built in people’s lives. McClung (2009:150-153) asserts that there are some four types of discipleship models:

Gender-based discipleship- where men and women meet separately to give an oppor­tunity of transparency without fear of what members of the opposite sex will think. These groups vary in size.

Group discipleship- can be very formal classroom pedagogy, where men and women are taught the elementary principles of Christian faith, sometimes in the form of questions and answers. This can happen at church separately from the main service or it can be a planned teaching forum by the church for new believers. Since it varies from denomination to denomination, terms for describing this kind of discipleship differ. Some churches including the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Dutch Re­formed etc., call this Catechism.

Small group model- where the group is smaller, ranging from 8-10 people who meet every week to share, study the Bible and support one another. The group usually has a leader. It can be mixed but is designed for new Christians who want to grow in their faith.

Core group discipleship- with a maximum of four people in the group. It is well known to have been started by John Wesley and the Methodists. This was one of the great discipleship movements of history, but it was very institutionalised and strict.

A final model of discipleship and one used by HP Windhoek is One to One disciple­ship- this is more person to person; only two people are involved in this discipleship relationship. This discipleship model has a big room for accountability and openness because trust can be built easily between two people.

Discipleship dimensions of the one2one booklet

The researcher has already discussed in Chapter 1 (cf. Conceptualization), the meaning of One2One booklet as a tool used for laying and establishing biblical foundations in believers. The One2One booklet has been a helpful tool in the discipling of members of HP Windhoek. One2One was written as a simple tool to aid in personal follow-up and discipleship. It is a guide, it cannot make a disciple but it can help the church to make one. Most importantly, it helps by laying good biblical foundations for Christian faith. It is also not a requirement for new believers to go through the One2One, it is recom­mended to new believers so that they can have a right start to an exciting journey of faith in Christ. Only topics used in the designing of the questionnaire will be discussed in this section, i.e. salvation, lordship, repentance, Bible & prayer, church & relation­ships. After every topic is covered during the One2One meeting, there is a personal application of that topic through practical questions that further help a person to inte­grate God’s word into everyday life (cf. end of every topic in the One2One booklet).

Salvation- Addresses the doctrine of sin and makes sure that the believer understands that sin separates people from God. Sin caused an immeasurable gap between humans and God (cf. Rom 3:23, Rom 6:23) because we were the enemies of God. God’s love and grace was revealed in the sending of Jesus to die for mankind. God’s wrath had to be poured on Jesus since God demanded justice for our sins. Christ became a sacrifice for the sins of mankind and paid the penalty. Hebrews 9:26-28, Mtt 27:45-52, 2 Cor 5:21, Gal 3:13 are some Scriptures that show the sacrifice that Christ made by taking on our sinful nature and how He reconciled mankind to God through His death and resur­rection (cf. John3:16, Eph 1:7, Eph 2:13).

The teaching on salvation culminates in calling for a response to God for salvation. Salvation is when one believes in the atonement work of Christ on the cross (cf. Rom 10:9-10, John 1:12-13, Eph 2:8-9). There is an application for the person doing One2One to reflect on whether they have stopped trusting in themselves and to encourage them to start to trust in Jesus. These few questions assist the person leading the discipleship conversation to know where the new believer is in terms of under­standing salvation. There is also time to pray and ask forgiveness of sin from God.

Lordship- The One2One booklet contains a list of Scripture references that teach and challenge the believer to make Jesus Lord in his/her life. There is a call to surrender one’s life to God fully. Murrell (1996:19) notes that Lordship is the starting point of an individual’s salvation- acknowledging that Jesus is Lord. Most people want to accept Jesus’ salvation without allowing Him to be Lord. Murrell (1996:19) notes “If Jesus is not Lord, He is not at all”. Teaching Lordship in the One2One grounds the new believer in the Bible so that they can learn to surrender every area of their life to God. The fact is God (cf. Col 1:16-18, Hebrews 1:1-5) is the Creator of all things, He holds everything together, He is before all things, He is the beginning and the end, He is the Saviour, He is all powerful, He knows everything, He knows our future, He knows the state of our hearts this very minute. Therefore the question is: how much of our life do we need to exercise control over? Man should surrender all control to Jesus because He is Lord.

Repentance- This chapter in the One2One teaches and encourages the believer to live a repentant lifestyle. Murrell (1996:23) notes that a person should be really broken by his/her sin and how it affects their relationship with God. This is godly sorrow and it should lead people back to God so that He can give the power to move away from the sin (cf. 2 Cor 7:10, Psalm 32:5, Matthew 3:8, 1 Cor 7:11, Acts 3:19). Our Heavenly Father is faithful to forgive us when we sin. Murrell (1996:27) asserts that a believer should cultivate a lifestyle of acknowledging and admitting specific sin, confessing it, and asking God for forgiveness. This notion is explained by Jones (1965:65-90) that if believers don’t expose their sin before God and instead continue to conceal it, there will be continual guilt, condemnation, bondage and depression. This greatly affects the rela­tionship between God and the believer.

Bible and prayer- This section of the One2One disciples the believer to have a prayer­ful life. The expectation is for the believer to depend on God and this can be cultivated by reading the Bible and praying. Praying is when we talk to God and God talks to us through His Word (the Bible). He also convicts us through His Word (Murrell 1996:37). Spiritual growth happens by meditating on God’s Word; the more we hear and read the Bible, the more our faith will grow. Murrell (1996:38-44) affirms that through reading the Bible, believers can resist temptations and that God’s Word is ultimate and absolute in every area of life for the believer.

People are also taught and guided on the right way to pray (in humility, not in many meaningless words, to God the Father and not in the name of saints, angels or someone else other than Jesus). Also this section teaches disciples to pray for God’s will to be done in an individual’s life, the church, city or nation and upon the whole earth. Other things to pray for are protection, guidance, provision, forgiveness and victory over temptation and the devil (cf. Mtt 6:10-13, 1 John 5:14-15, John15:7), with an under­standing that God is sovereign and in total control. He answers prayers because He is faithful and belivers should be patient when they pray to Him.

Relationship with other believers- This chapter teaches and encourages every be­liever to have meaningful relationships with other believers in the church. Murrell (1996:46) notes that real friends never lead believers away from God, (cf. Prov 17:17, Prov 18:24, Acts 2:42-46, 2 Cor 6:14, Eph 2:19, Mtt 12:48-50) rather they encourage believers to cultivate a relationship with God all the time. They care for us, pray for us and are interested to know about what is happening in our life every day, provoking us to godli­ness.

The One2One booklet in this chapter encourages believers to join a connect group (cf. conceptualization) or small group meeting once every week, besides the Sunday service. This is place where people establish authentic relationships, are vulnerable and open about issues that they are struggling with and can be encouraged by other believ­ers. Christianity is not a lone-ranger faith. Murrell (1996:46) uses an illustration of a red coal being removed from the fire to illustrate that when we are detached from fellow­ship, our spiritual life will die down. We need each other and other people need us. Connect groups are platforms where believers can encourage each other through scrip­ture. Accountability is also encouraged.

Evangelism and discipleship- The most important thing after someone has understood and applied biblical truth taught through the One2One, is to transfer it to other people. Evangelism is telling others about God’s solution for sin and discipleship includes lay­ing strong foundations in a believer’s life and encouraging them to have a continuous and genuine relationship with God, other believers as well as the lost. Discipleship and evangelism are tied together, they cannot be divorced from each other. Murrell (1996:48) asserts that those that have had foundations laid in their lives should not relax but exercise their gifts by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost, sharing lives and be committed to laying strong foundations in someone else’s life because of what happened to them.

Biblical overview on discipleship

Discipleship in the Old Testament

In the OT, both Bromiley (1960:441) and Ryken et. al (1998:electronic) uphold that discipleship denotes following the thoughts and teachings of a wise person or anyone who is an example in life. The OT understanding of discipleship meant to be faithful to Yahweh, following His path, to walk in His ways (cf. Dt 5:32-33, 19:9), and to adhere to His statutes and Sovereign will (cf. Dt 13:5, 2 Kings 23:3, Psalm 44:20). Ryken et. al (1998:electronic) assert that the implication of following was a customary manifestation of respect, of wife for husband (cf. Jer 2:2, 1 Kings 17:12), of servant and master (cf. 2 Kings 19:20-21) and prophet and his students. Bromiley (1960:445) upholds that the OT scarcely mentions expressions related to discipleship and there is no directly linked word that expresses the Greek cultural understanding of discipleship. The word used in the OT with a slight reference to discipleship speaks of following the Lord, e.g. the instance of Caleb (cf. Deut 1:36) entering Canaan because he followed the Lord. Bromiley (1960:445) explains that the following thereof, doesn’t directly imply a theol­ogy of discipleship. The “following” only means keeping the laws and commands of the Lord, therefore the OT examples of following or going after, don’t necessarily carry the same meaning as in the New Testament. Bromiley (1969:445) upholds that the clearest concept of discipleship in the OT is the constant process of learning of the prophet from Yahweh (cf. Isaiah 50:4). Bromiley (1960:445) says that the young prophets under the school of Isaiah and Elisha’s attachment and devotion to Elijah, even after he (Elijah) is taken up to heaven by the chariot of fire (cf. 1 Kings 19), are distinct references to the theological references to discipleship. The OT understanding of discipleship implies faithfulness in keeping God’s commands.

Discipleship in the New Testament

By the time of Jesus, the concept of discipleship had developed and was well-known in the cultural milieu. Some religious schools will be reviewed later in this section which had a concept of discipleship. Evans & Porter (2000: electronic) stress that the early Christians used this word as an exclusive concept of following (akoloutheo) Christ as Lord and Master. Ryken et. al (1998:electronic) assert that discipleship is a prominent theme in the life and teaching of Christ. A disciple is not just a listener but an adherent, a follower and imitator of Christ even as He was on mission. Following Christ in the NT means to have an intimate relationship with Christ and to be faithful to His teachings as predominantly taught in the Gospel of John (cf. John 15:12, John 13:15, John 12:26) and in the letters of Paul (cf. Ephesians 5:2, 1 Cor 11:1, Phil 2:5).

Following Christ in the four Gospels and Acts as noted by Harrison (1960:167), had three meanings: (a) following Him physically everyday e.g. Mark 10:52, 14:13, Mat­thew 9:19, Matthew 20:34, Luke 22:39, (b) to follow Jesus as a crowd, e.g. Mark 2:15, Mark 5:24, Mark 11:9, Matthew 8:1, Matthew 12:15 and (c) to follow as Jesus’ disci­ples (cf. Matthew 8:19, Matthew 19:27-28, Luke 8:23, Luke 18:22, Mark 1:18, Mark 10:28). Ryken et. al (1998:electronic) assert that being a disciple of Jesus was costly and required full commitment since Christ demanded that He had priority in His followers’ life.

Jesus’ early disciples

In the four gospels, the twelve apostles are the first disciples to be called and designated as apostles (cf. Mtt 4:14). The seventy two (cf. Matthew 10:1-16) who are sent two by two (δυό δυό) on a mission are called His disciples. The seventy two was quite a large number and probably some gave up following Him (cf. John 6:66). Marshall (1996:277) claims that Jesus chose His disciples differently to the Pharisees. He always took initia­tive in choosing His disciples and afterwards they would personally follow Him at their own will (cf. Mtt 4:18-25). Ryken et. al (1998: electronic) mentions that Jesus called people from varied social, ethnic and occupational backgrounds to follow Him. They left their trades and families (cf. Mark 1:16-20) to follow Jesus as He taught them and did ministry with them across the Galilean towns (cf. Mtt 4:23-5:1, Mtt 10:1).

Disciples following Jesus need to forgive their enemies and to love them also (cf. Mat­thew 5:38-47). Disciples of Jesus need to obey His commands and proclaim Him as Lord of their lives. They need to deny themselves even to the point of suffering or mar­tyrdom. Jesus introduced radical discipleship throughout His teachings. They had a long-term commitment to Jesus and His teachings. They were supposed to obey Him every day. Self-denial and separation from the world and its standards is required for disciples of Jesus who want to follow Him radically. There is no victory without suf­fering. Perseverance, self-denial and suffering are part of the disciple’s lifestyle mod­elled after Jesus (cf. Mtt 10:1-24, John12:26). Suffering is woven into the fabric of dis­cipleship and a disciple must everyday take up his or her cross (cf. Luke 9:21-27).

Disciples of John the Baptist

John the Baptist had followers known as disciples. They prayed and fasted together de­pending on the instruction John gave (cf. John 1:35, Luke 11:1). They looked after John when he was imprisoned. John even sent some of them to go and inquire about Jesus whose fame spread rapidly in Galilee. John’s disciples saw to his burial (cf. Mtt 11:2-7, Mark 6:29). There is a stronger tie between John and his disciples than between the Pharisees and their disciples. There was however, no long-term commitment by John’s disciples to his ministry although they followed him. In John 1:35-37, there is an argu­ment between Jesus’ disciples and John’s showing the tension that was there be­tween the two groups. However, John allowed his disciples to become Jesus’ disciples because his ministry was only percussing the coming of the Messiah (cf. John 1:29-34).

Disciples of the Pharisees

Evans & Porter (2000: electronic) mention that the Pharisees (Jewish scholars of the law) also had disciples, together with the Sadducees. The disciples would seek out their master or Rabbi and ask him to tutor them. This was a major difference between Jesus and the Pharisees because Jesus called out His disciples. The disciples of the Pharisees (Gk- mathetau ton Pharisaion) would come to their Rabbi to study the Torah through oral and written methods. Disciples of the Pharisees were students who learnt to memo­rise large portions of scripture, reciting and chanting it aloud until the material was mastered. They also left their master when their training was over and there was no strict devotion or lifelong commitment to the school of their Rabbi. Evans & Porter (2000:electronic) mention that it is clear that this rabbinic education was only cognitive and driven by a zeal for achievement of status in the society.

Conclusion

This chapter has provided a literature review and biblical overview (OT and NT) on dis­cipleship. Discipleship dimensions of the One2One booklet, lexical and grammatical meanings of discipleship were explored and a disciple was defined. Discipleship in essence is understood as following Christ, having a relationship with believers and reaching out to non-believers with the gospel. A few models of discipleship were ex­plored in this chapter, however the researcher is well aware that this is not a definitive listing of all models. The means, methods, processes and structures of discipleship differ from context to context, and from congregation to congregation. The OT alludes to discipleship in the learning of the Torah and obeying it. As such, the OT’s theological concept of discipleship was different to the New Testament where disciples were com­mitted to the person, life and ministry of Jesus.

Chapter three: research results and data interpretation

Introduction

As indicated earlier on in Chapter 1 (cf. Methodology), the research was conducted using questionnaires designed from the material taught in the One2One booklet. This was done to assess the understanding of discipleship by some members of the congre­gation. To assist in­terpretation the raw data has been collated in three spread sheets (Campus, Young Pro­fessionals and Community). These spread sheets were supplied separately to the re­search supervisor. In this chapter, the researcher will summarise the results for each seg­ment of the church and analyse and observe trends. The conclu­sion of this chapter will include an overall summary of the impact of the One2One booklet across the three seg­ments of the church.

Campus research results

Questions 1 & 2- Salvation, lordship and repentance

What do you understand by salvation and what does it mean to you when Jesus is Lord in your life?

What do you understand by repentance and what does it look like practically in your life?

Just over half (13/22) of the respondents that were surveyed on Campus gave responses that demonstrated an understanding of salvation as taught in the One2One booklet. Two thirds of the respondents (15/22) understood Lordship as taught from the One2One booklet. Almost all (18/22) the respondents understood repentance as taught in the One2One booklet. However, out of the 22 respondents, 10 did not say how they live out repentance in their everyday life as disciples of Jesus. 12 respondents gave feedback that indicated that they live repentant lives.

Question 3 & 4- Prayer, bible reading and fellowship with other believers

Do you pray and read the Bible regularly on your own? (a) If yes, why do you do this? (b) if no, please say why you do not pray and read the Bible?

Do you attend connect group? (a) if yes, why do you attend? (b) if no, why don’t you attend?

The majority of the respondents (18/22) indicated in their feedback that they read the Bible and pray to God on their own. They also displayed a biblical understanding of why they should do that as taught in the One2One booklet. Only a small number (4/22) showed that that they neither read the Bible nor pray to God. These few people gave similar excuses why they don’t have this spiritual discipline.

Almost every respondent (19/22) mentioned that they attend connect groups. Their responses were very similar in nature, showing excitement and scriptural understanding of regular fellowship. It was interesting to note that out of the 19 respondents who indi­cated regular attendance of connect groups, only two (2) of them gave reasons that showed a lack of biblical understanding of fellowship among believers. A small fraction (3/22) showed that they did not attend connect group. The three respondents also expressed in their answers, that they did not have a valid reason why they are not attending con­nect groups.

Question 5 & 6- Discipleship and evangelism

Do you have an ongoing close relationship with at least one believer in the church who challenges you in your walk with Christ, and whom you can share your struggles and victories? (a) if yes, please explain how this is going? (b) if no, why is that so?

Are you currently discipling anyone using the One2One booklet? (a) if yes, how is this going? (b) if no, what are the reasons why you are not?

The majority of the respondents (19/22) indicated in their answers that they are being discipled and they have an accountability relationship with someone they trust. Out of these 19, six of them did not articulate clearly in their comments why they have these relationships and how they are being impacted by it. The comments made among these six respondents were varied in nature and showed that they had probably misunderstood the purpose of having an accountability relationship as taught through the One2One booklet. The small remainder (3/22) stated that they are not in a discipleship and accountability relationship. Reasons from these few people showed that they did not see the biblical value of discipleship as taught in the One2One booklet.

Fifty per cent (11/22) of the respondents indicated that they are not discipling anyone at this stage. Even though the respondents are not reaching out to disciple others, their comments reflected that they had an understanding of the value of it and they look for­ward to doing that in the near future. The remainder of the people surveyed indicated that they are discipling others using the One2One booklet. Among the respondents, there was a general understanding of the scriptural value of discipleship, and the an­swers given indicated a lot of joy in discipling others despite commitment setbacks due to studies.

Analysis and interpretation of campus survey results

The One2One booklet has had a good impact on the respondents surveyed on UNAM campus as a discipleship tool. The majority of the respondents are in connect groups and have a biblical understanding of the need for regular fellowship. They are being discipled; they read the Bible on their own and strongly value the Bible as God’s word with final authority in their lives as believers. Most respondents understood salvation, Lordship and repentance as important biblical and foundational truths taught in the One2One booklet. Most respondents were excited to have found God in their lives and their responses showed willingness to be transformed by God. A lot of the people sur­veyed attend connect groups because that’s where they receive prayer, encouragement, they grow and find a family that cares for them other than their natural family.

The majority of the respondents clearly articulated an understanding of repentance as turning away from sin, mentioning the sin, confessing the sin, asking God for forgive­ness and trusting God for the power to walk away from that sin daily. Some respondents clearly articulated in their answers, an understanding of biblical teaching on salvation as presented in the One2One booklet. Only a few answers showed an understanding of re­pentance that was not pre­sented in the One2One e.g. the use of the Greek word metanoia. Although the results show that respondents understand repentance, most of them did not write how they live out a repentant life every day.

While the general impact of the One2One is noticeable, the majority of the people surveyed seemed to have only mastered general points about salvation (separation from God and sin). Their answers reflected a basic understanding of salvation and failed to explain how sin was dealt with on the cross through the atonement of Christ. Some respondents gave unbiblical answers regarding salvation e.g. salvation is a bus to heaven, salvation is a golden ticket to heaven and a clean life that God offers to us. Although they mentioned God’s salvation and forgiveness by grace, most respondents missed the need to personally accept and believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, to be saved. This, somewhat trivialised salvation and showed that respondents still need to be strongly taught on the key elements of salvation. Some also reflected in their answers, an unclear motive for attending connect group e.g. it is an obligation, looking for a spiritual ‘father’, to clarify black and white issues.

Young professionals survey results

Questions 1 & 2- Salvation, lordship and repentance

What do you understand by salvation and what does it mean to you when Jesus is Lord in your life?

What do you understand by repentance and what does it look like practically in your life?

Just above half (12/22) of the young professionals interviewed showed a biblical understanding of salvation in their feedback. A number of the 12 respondents gave very detailed information about tenets of salvation and displayed maturity in their answers, showing how they had been impacted by the One2One booklet. Almost all the respon­dents indicated in their responses that they fully understood repentance as a biblical and spiritual discipline as taught in the One2One booklet and they indicated that they daily practise repentance. Nine (9) respondents gave answers that showed a lack of under­standing of salvation, Lordship and repentance, their answers showed that they knew very little about these foundational teachings.

Question 3 & 4- Prayer, bible reading and fellowship with other believers

Do you pray and read the Bible regularly on your own? (a) If yes, why do you do this? (b) if no, please say why you do not pray and read the Bible?

Do you attend connect group? (a) if yes, why do you attend? (b) if no, why don’t you attend?

The majority (20/22) of the young professional who were surveyed indicated that they read their Bible and pray almost all the time. The respondents displayed in their feedback that they enjoy reading the Bible and talking to God in prayer. They all gener­ally agreed that this draws them closer to God. Only two respondents (2/22) that were interviewed do not read their Bibles because of reasons that were very unclear. There was something striking regarding connect groups amongst Young Professionals. All the respondents (22/22) that were surveyed attend weekly connect groups and they had a strong biblical understanding of the need for fellowship as taught in the One2One booklet. Only two respondents gave reasons for going to connect groups that were not as strong as the other 22. All the respondents look forward to meeting other believers each week and they are excited to belong to a connect group.

Question 5 & 6- Discipleship and evangelism

Do you have an ongoing close relationship with at least one believer in the church who challenges you in your walk with Christ, and whom you can share your struggles and victories? (a) if yes, please explain how this is going? (b) if no, why is that so?

Are you currently discipling anyone using the One2One booklet? (a) if yes, how is this going? (b) if no, what are the reasons why you are not?

All the respondents surveyed (22/22) mentioned that they are being discipled and are in an ongoing accountability relationship with other believers. However, most of the respondents gave comments that were very basic on how those relationships were going and did not fully disclose the dynamics of these relationships. All the people surveyed agreed that their discipleship relationships were not easy but they were being challenged to grow in the Lord. Sadly, the majority (17/22) of the respondents are not discipling others or evangelising. These 17 young professionals indicated reasons of a similar nature as to why they are not reaching out to others. Unfortunately, their reasons indi­cated a great misunderstanding of the purpose of evangelism and discipleship as taught in the One2One booklet.

Analysis and interpretation of young professionals survey re­sults

Most of the people surveyed in this category gave information that indicated that they have a strong understanding of salvation as taught in the One2One. It might be possible that since they have graduated from Campus into the market place, they might have al­ready been grounded when they were still in university (this is an assumption). Some respondents gave answers that showed depth and maturity on the salvation question e.g. “salvation is an acknowledgement that I am separated from God because of sin (and that I am born with a sinful nature) and then believing that God sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin. When I believe in the atonement work of Christ, God saves me from eternal punishment and adopts me as his child through Christ Jesus.” There was agreement in the answers given regarding salvation, Lordship and repentance.

People enjoy fellowship with others and they look forward to meeting each other every week. This is something to commend when believers are being grounded in the Word. It is clear that respondents find comfort and strength when they gather together in small groups every week, they also read their Bible and pray to God in their own time. The respondents also mentioned that they have issues that they struggle with. The cul­ture of accountability and vulnerability appears to be prevalent, and it has to be com­mended for it builds stronger disciples.

The majority of the respondents displayed a firm understanding of repentance and how it looks like in their everyday lives e.g. some respondents mentioned that God con­victs them to turn from works of darkness such as alcohol, promiscuity and drugs. Most of the young professionals that were surveyed indicated that they are being discipled (they are in a continuous relationship) and they showed deep comprehension of scrip­tural truth and how they can apply the truth. Their disciple­ship relationships indicate personal conviction from their hearts as revealed in their an­swers, they mentioned that when they meet, they study God’s word and advise each other on how they can apply it daily, some even want to meet more often than what they are doing already doing. Respondents indicated that they are growing closer in their relationships. They are also drawing closer to God from time to time

The researcher noticed a big contrast in young professionals in that, while they are being discipled, are well grounded in truth and have strong relationships with other be­lievers, there is no transfer of discipleship. Multiplication of disciples is not happening because of varied reasons but most of them mentioned that they are busy with work. The majority of those that showed that they are not discipling didn’t have a biblical understanding of transferable disciple-making. Some even thought that a list of people should be drawn up by the church so that they can choose who they want to disciple and that the Lord should bring someone to them. It seems that discipleship ended with them and didn’t go any further, despite their willingness to dis­ciple others. They had a high regard for the One2One booklet since it gave a simply structured way of laying founda­tional teachings of Christian faith, without flipping through the Bible searching for scriptures.

Nevertheless, the few that are discipling others using One2One mentioned that God is at work, citing that the Holy Spirit is convicting the people they are discipling. The few people discipling others stated that they usually don’t finish all the chapters of the One2One since people struggle with questions regarding repentance and Lordship. These are early chapters in the One2One which challenge people to fully sur­render their lives to God and get rid of habitual sin, this makes people being discipled uncomfort­able and they often disappear or give excuses to discontinue the relationship.

Community survey results

Questions 1 & 2- Salvation, lordship and repentance

What do you understand by salvation and what does it mean to you when Jesus is Lord in your life?

What do you understand by repentance and what does it look like practically in your life?

Out of the 22 people that were surveyed in the community segment of the church, just over half (15/22) of them gave responses that showed a basic understanding of sal­vation and Lordship. Some of the respondents didn’t mention anything about Lordship and only gave a shallow answer on salvation. Very few people among the 15 articulated a biblical understanding of salvation as taught in the One2One. Seven (7) people showed no understanding of salvation and Lordship.

The majority of the respondents (20/22) gave feedback that indicated that they un­derstood repentance as taught in the One2One, some articulated it quite clearly. How­ever, despite showing that they understand repentance, they did not indicate how re­pentance looks like in their lives every day as disciples of Jesus. Respondents at one point or another, confused repentance with salvation, which are two different doctrines although there is interplay.

Question 3 & 4- Prayer, bible reading and fellowship with other believers

Do you pray and read the Bible regularly on your own? (a) If yes, why do you do this? (b) if no, please say why you do not pray and read the Bible?

Do you attend connect group? (a) if yes, why do you attend? (b) if no, why don’t you attend?

All the respondents (22/22) indicated that they do read the Bible and pray to God. Most of them do have a strong understanding why they should read the Bible and pray to God. Their spiritual life relied on their relationship with God and they need to grow in knowing God. Generally all the people agreed that they need to read their Bible and pray, so that they can know God better. They indicated in their reasons for this spiritual discipline that they valued and respected God’s word to be infallible and useful for in­struction of believers.

Everyone among the community respondents (22/22) indicated that they attend connect groups and they generally agreed that Scripture commands them to regularly meet. People who were surveyed indicated that connect groups are very important. Respon­dents echoed that they interact better in a small group setting and get to know each other better as compared to a big church setting on a Sunday. They also reflected biblical truth in their answers regarding the reasons why believers should meet.

Question 5 & 6- Discipleship and evangelism

Do you have an ongoing close relationship with at least one believer in the church who challenges you in your walk with Christ, and whom you can share your struggles and victories? (a) if yes, please explain how this is going? (b) if no, why is that so?

Are you currently discipling anyone using the One2One booklet? (a) if yes, how is this going? (b) if no, what are the reasons why you are not?

The majority of the respondents (21/22) indicated that they are being discipled. All the 21 respondents did not clearly disclose their discipleship relationship and how it is going in those platforms. Their answers were similar in nature (e.g. ‘it’s going fine’) and some answers indicate that people are not willing to open up in the survey. The re­lationships from this standpoint can be perceived as very light and not as open as they could be. Of all the 22 people surveyed from the community side of the church, the majority (17) are not discipling anyone, they also don’t use the One2One booklet. Only five people indicated that they are using the One2One booklet for discipling and laying foundations in others. These five respondents stated that their discipleship relationships did not last long as people struggled with Lordship and repentance.

Analysis and interpretation of community survey results

The majority of the respondents in this group answered the questionnaire showing a similar understanding and basic explanation of salvation, repentance and Lordship. Most people are in connect groups, they read their Bibles and pray often. The answers they gave indicated that they like to meet together; this is a very important element of their discipleship relationship. There was an indication of resistance for using the One2One booklet among respondents who mentioned that they prefer an unstructured way of relational discipleship and teaching foundational truths on discipleship (Salva­tion, sin, repentance, Lordship etc.). The community respondents laid foundations with­out a formal structure or method. The quality of discipleship is evident in the feedback they gave regarding questions on salvation, Lordship and repentance. It could be be­cause respondents feel that they are mature and don’t need to use the One2One booklet, thinking that it’s for immature believers. It was noted that the respondents in this group were not forthcoming with details in personalised questions on accountability in their discipleship relationships.

The general feedback given by all community respondents who are discipling others showed that they misunderstood what discipleship is e.g. people stated that they are “trusting God for someone to disciple, very busy, people are not interested in being dis­cipled, I don’t have time, my plate is full with church activities, I will encourage other members to disciple others, all the people I am associated with have done One2One”. These are some of the examples of the reasons that people gave for not discipling others and laying foundations. Most of the answers given by the respondents showed a basic comprehension of biblical truth and although they are in connect groups, read the Bible and pray to God, the responses they presented are clearly not coming from the One2One or the Bible. Furthermore, their lack of urgency in making disciples is not in line with their faithfulness in reading the Bible and of prayer.

However, the fact that they are reading their Bibles, praying to God and being in­volved in connect groups cannot be overlooked, this commitment is worth recognition. The researcher trusts that since the respondents are in a strong support network of be­lievers, their existing relationships will deepen their understanding of the urgency of being disciples and also making strong disciples. In connect groups, biblical truth will continue to be presented and it is believed that those that have a shallow understanding of primary Christian doctrines (salvation, Lordship, repentance, sin, forgiveness etc.) will be grounded and corrected in love where necessary.

Conclusion

This chapter focused on the results from surveys and analysing the responses given by the three groups (Campus, Young Professionals & Community). The responses col­lected indicated a unique dynamic to each group and revealed each group’s level of un­derstanding on discipleship. After realistic evaluation of raw data each group has its own merit and tendencies that will be summarised in Chapter 4. Across the three groups, people have an understanding of salvation, Lordship and repentance; however sin, the cross of Christ and the need to put faith in Christ to be saved was missing among community and campus responses. The majority of the people in HP Windhoek are in general agreement in their answers. People read the Bible, pray, meet in connect groups and are in constant fellowship with one another. There is a unique hunger and willingness to grow as believers.

Chapter four: conclusion and recommendations

This research project focussed on the assessment of HP Windhoek’s discipleship proc­ess using the One2One and how it is impacting some members of the congregation. Biblical and theological literature on discipleship was reviewed. Information was col­lected from empirical (real life issues) and non-empirical (analytical, conceptual) questions on the discipleship dimensions of the One2One booklet. At least 17 per cent of the congregation was surveyed, 66 people in total. The segments of the church which were surveyed are Campus, Young Professionals and Community. Questionnaires were handed to respondents and filled out at different times, some engaged in verbal discus­sion with the researcher to clarify what they had written down.

Based on the survey conducted, the discipleship process of HP Windhoek using the One2One booklet is impacting members of the congregation in many ways. The One2One booklet clearly enables members of the congregation to gain an understanding of salvation, Lordship, repentance and living repentant lives as believers. The majority of the people surveyed read their Bibles, pray, are in connect groups and have a biblical value for fellowship and accountability relationships. However, this research and survey also identified some areas that can be improved to enhance the intensity and quality of biblical discipleship in HP Windhoek.

Campus

The majority of the respondents read their Bibles, pray and are in connect groups with a biblical understanding of fellowship and accountability relationship. Half of the respon­dents indicated that they are being discipled and the majority of them are discipling others. While these are major milestones of achievement in this group, the researcher noted that the respondents did not give detailed answers that showed a strong under­standing of most of the questions that were asked in the questionnaire. This could stem from the fact that young people don’t take things seriously and are therefore not de­tailed. Another reason could be that there was not enough space on the questionnaires to articulate their views. It may also be that they prefer to articulate themselves verbally rather than in written form. The researcher’s primary concern however, is the continu­ous transfer of discipleship that does not have depth. It appears that the same quality of discipleship (very shallow understanding of foundational doctrines) is being passed on to many people.

Recommendations

A continuous investigation and evaluation of the reasons why campus members only have a basic understanding of key doctrines. It will be helpful to investigate why most people in this group did not mention the cross, sin, Jesus Christ and the need to put faith in the finished work of Christ. Since most respondents indi­cated that they are in connect groups and discipleship relationships, it may be helpful to do a preaching and teaching series on salvation and repentance in their services and small group settings. I also recommend that HP Windhoek encourage people in this segment to ask questions after every preaching and teaching series so that they can bet­ter understand.

Young professionals

Answers given by this group showed depth and firm under­standing of salvation, Lord­ship, repentance and its practicality in the daily life of a be­liever (they were also open to mention examples of what they were repenting from each day). This is a sign of trans­formation when people expose their weaknesses and how God is helping them through the help of others in their accountability. The respondents meet together in connect groups, read their Bibles, pray to God and are in continuous discipleship and account­ability relationships. Maturity and humility was shown in their responses and how they valued the One2One booklet as a discipleship tool. The major­ity of the respondents hailed the One2One booklet as being a useful tool that gives structure and method to the laying of biblical foundations.

Despite these achievements, there is no transfer of discipleship amongst Young Pro­fes­sionals. Discipleship stops with them and there appears to be no reproduction of the depth and maturity that they display. 17 people out 22 do not disciple others. Young Professionals seem to have a misunderstanding of discipleship beyond their discipleship relationships. Their reflections on discipleship and evangelism indicated that they are sitting back waiting to be approached by someone desiring discipleship or that they are waiting on God for the right time and the right person to disciple.

Recommendations

If all Young Professionals respondents who are presently not discipling others, start to disciple others, there is a potential reproduction of quality dis­cipleship. It is important therefore that Young Professionals be taught practically how to start a relationship with other people and how to disciple others using the One2One booklet. This should be modelled by leaders who might need to teach from the church pulpit or connect group so that everyone can see how to do it. Furthermore, the re­searcher recommends that every connect group and church meeting include an applica­tion which encourages members to go out to make disciples, looking beyond the church or current discipleship relationships.

Community

There was a general resistance of the use of the One2One booklet as a discipleship tool for laying foundations in the community group. The majority of the respondents stated that they prefer relational discipleship and they lay foundations from their own biblical knowledge and experience. There was a distinct lack of structure, format or methodology in the laying of foundations in this group and this was clearly seen in the answers given by the respondents on their understanding of salvation, Lord­ship, repen­tance, sin and Jesus Christ. The researcher’s concern is the transfer of un­structured and unclear foundations to believers since the quality of discipleship has the potential to di­minish as we move further away from the people who were surveyed.

Recommendations

Since relationships are strong and relational discipleship is pre­ferred and occurring, it is recommended that the community segment of the church keep these relationships and continue to strengthen them. This is a big achievement. The re­searcher suggests the ex­ploration of other methods that can be used to empower people to disciple others while not using the One2One booklet but addressing the topics pre­sented in the One2One (since they are vital). It might be helpful to review the One2One booklet so that material is not pedagogical and structured, threatening the discipleship relationship.

Final words

It is important to determine the discipleship model that best fits the HP Windhoek con­gregational context (including its various segments), whilst continually evaluating its effectiveness on a regular basis. The researcher believes that this project is a contribu­tion to the existing evaluation of the HP Windhoek discipleship culture and the use of the One2One booklet and hopes that the Leadership Team will find it useful.

Whatever excuse we have for not making disciples, the words of Willard (2006:14) ring loud and clear: “Discipleship is not an option”.

Bibliography

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Alexander, T. D. & Rosner, B. S. (eds). 2000. New dictionary of biblical theology. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press.

Barna, G. 2011. Maximum faith, live like Jesus. Experience Genuine Transformation. Texas: Christian Art Publishers.

Bonhoeffer, D. 1995. The cost of discipleship. New York: Touchstone.

Bromiley, G. W. & Kittel, G. (eds). 1967. Theological dictionary of the New

Testament. Volume 4. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Byrant, T. A. 1993. Zondervan’s compact bible dictionary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Carson, D. A.; France, R. T.; Motyer, J. A. & Wenham, G. J. (eds). 1994. New Bible commentary. 21st century edition. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press.

Coleman, R. E. 1994. The master plan of evangelism. Second edition. Grand Rapids. Spire.

Coleman, R. E. 1998. The master plan of discipleship. Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell Publishers.

Evans, C. A. & Porter, S. E. (eds). 2000. Dictionary of New Testament background. Leicester: Inter Varsity Press.

Fryling, A. ; Baster, J. M ; Peau, P. & MacLeod, M. 1989. Disciplemakers handbook. Leicester: Illinois.

Green, J. B; Mcknight, S. & Scott, T. (eds). 1992. Dictionary of Jesus and the gospels. Leicester: Inter Varsity Press.

Harrison, E. F. 1960. Disciple in Bromiley, G. W. & Henry, C. F. H. (eds). Bakers dictionary of theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Hui, R. 2004. Keep going! A user-friendly guide to the Christian life and missions. Milton Keynes: Authentic Media.

Hull, B. 2007. The disciple-making pastor. Revised edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Hybels, B. 2006. Just walk across the room. Simple steps of pointing people to faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Jones, M. L. 1965. Spiritual depression, its causes and cure. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing.

Kohlenberger III, J. R. 1993. NIV compact Naives topical Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Marshall, I. H. 1996. Disciple in Marshall, I. H; Millard, A. R; Parker, J. I & Wiseman, D. J (eds). New Bible dictionary. Third edition. Leicester: Inter Varsity Press.

McClung, F. 2008. You see bones, I see an army. Changing the way we do church. Cape Town: Struik Christian Books.

McClung, F. 2009. Following Jesus. A Practical guide to the basic truths of discipleship. 2009. Cape Town: Struik Christian Books.

Murrell, S. 1996. One2one, personal follow-up and discipleship. Manilla: Every Nation Productions.

Murrell, S. 2010. Accidental missionary. The unexpected adventure of making

disciples. Manilla: Every Nation Productions.

Pratney, W. 1977. A handbook for followers of Jesus. Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship

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Ryken, L., Wilhoit, J. C. & Longman III, T. (eds). 1998. Dictionary of biblical

imagery. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press.

Sanders, J. O. 1994. Spiritual discipleship. Principles for following Christ for every

believer. Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Shields, N. 1998. Into the world: what the bible teaches about mission. Bridgend:

Bryntirion Press.

Stevens, R.P. 1992. Equipper’s guide to every-member ministry. Downers Grove: IVP.

Willard, D. 2006. The great omission- reclaiming Jesus’ essential teachings on

discipleship. Oxford: Monarch Books.

Biblical guidelines for pastoral visitation and its impact on members of the Lesotho Evangelical Church and what African churches can learn from it

Peter Koona Tefo

Chapter one: introduction

This research was aimed at establishing biblical guidelines and the impact of pastoral visitation on members of the Lesotho Evangelical Church. So this chapter introduces the study of the topic by looking at the various aspects such as the hypothesis; terms used in the research; why this study had to be carried out; the problem that led the researcher to get involved in this study; the motivation for study as well as how the study was carried out.

Hypothesis

The hypothesis behind this research was: The reason why some members in the Lesotho Evangelical Church (L.E.C) are not active is because pastoral visitation is not actively and effectively carried out.

Conceptualization

Visitation – a process of going out in Christian faith and love to where people are, whether at home, alone or with their families, at their place of work, when sick in hos­pital, when elderly and weak or when, for some other reason (Campbell, 1990: 292).

Pastoral visitation - This is the act of reaching out to people with the purpose of showing love and care for them through ministering to them in many different ways in their different situations.

Lesotho Evangelical Church – This is the name of the denomination in the country of Lesotho which was founded by French missionaries in 1833 who came as members of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society (P.E.M.S).

L.E.C – The abbreviation for ‘Lesotho Evangelical Church.’

African Churches – This refers to Christian churches in the continent of Africa.

Purpose of study

The purpose is to help pastors, evangelists, lay leaders and members of the Lesotho Evangelical Church to understand what Scripture teaches about caring for one another through pastoral visitation and to find out what impact pastoral visitation has in the Lesotho Evangelical Church. However the researcher already has in mind that if pas­toral visitation is properly done it will keep members active and effective in the church. Thus the research was carried out to measure the impact of pastoral visitation in the L.E.C.

Research problem

The Lesotho Evangelical Church (L.E.C) is the oldest church in the country of Lesotho. It was established by the French missionaries who came in Lesotho in 1833. These mis­sionaries were Eugene Casalis, Thomas Arbousset and Constant Gosselin. They planted the church which was named after the society that they came from, that is, ‘Paris Evan­gelical Missionary Society’ (P.E.M.S). As years went by different groups of missiona­ries came one after the other to carry on the mission work until 1966 when the church accepted a new name when it gained autonomy. It was named ‘Lesotho Evangelical Church’ (L.E.C). The problem that is seen in the church at the moment is that some members of the church are neither active nor effective. The Lesotho Evangelical Church has approximately 300 000 members. Some people are known as members of the church from the church register but do not show up for church services and church activities.

Some report themselves when they leave the church to join other denominations (which is the procedure in the church), while some just disappear and only when they are dead is it recognised that they were members of the church. This becomes a problem because it is not clear to know who the true members of the Church are. This is espe­cially the case for those who decide to stay away from the Church without saying any­thing. The church duly takes notice of them when they die or when they need service from the church, for instance, baptism or conducting marriage ceremonies.

Motivation or rationale for study

The fact that some members of the Lesotho Evangelical Church do not take their mem­bership in that church very seriously has motivated the researcher to find out why is it that they are not acting as they are supposed to do in the church. This study is underta­ken to see how the church is taking care of its members; to find out how pastors are doing their pastoral ministry in their different congregations; to find out how effec­tively lay leaders in the church are doing their work of caring for members and to find out how members of the church themselves are taking care of one another in order to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Apart from that, it is important to find out what is going on if some members in the church are not active because we all belong to the same body of Christ as Paul says in Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12. The re­searcher thinks that pastoral visitation as one of the factors for church growth might not be practised very well. Also, the motivation is to understand the quality of relationships brought about by pastoral visitation as an activity to enhance relationships since visiting is an activity to enhance relationships.

Methodology used

In order to obtain information both primary and secondary sources were used. With re­gard to primary data, information was collected by means of an empirical (practical ex­perience) study; by engaging in talks with members of the church, both individually and collectively. The researcher also obtained information through interviews whereby not less than 100 members were interviewed including answering of a questionnaire. Other information was acquired through publications like textbooks on previous studies on visitation. This means that this research was carried out by way of participatory action research and the use of theoretical material.

Literature overview

The literature studied for this research included: Taking Heed to the Flock (De Jong, 1948); Shepherding God’s Flock, chapter 17 (Adams, 1975: 110 – 119, 126 – 134); Classical Pastoral Care, chapter 2 (Oden, 1994:26 – 56); The Effective Pastor, chapter 2 (Anderson, 1985: 125 – 143); Jesus Driven Ministry, chapter 13 (Fernando, 2002: 209 – 223). Biblical information on pastoral visitation has also been studied.

Chapter two: theological substance

Many people have written on pastoral visitation and biblical guidelines on pastoral visitation but there seems to have never been any study carried out on the impact that pastoral visitation has on members of the L. E.C. However, there is literature on pas­toral visitation although not specifically identified with this denomination. The idea of visitation is not new in the L.E.C since members already have cultural way of visiting one another (social interaction).

God visits his people

The concept of visiting starts with God Himself. It is not out of human eagerness to visit but it is something that has its roots in God. God takes the initiative to reach out to His people. In Genesis 1, after God created Adam and Eve, having given them the blessing, God gave them a specific task of being good stewards of what He had created. From there it can be seen that in Genesis 2, having placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, God did not just leave them alone instead He visited them. God talked with them and had fellowship with them while He also told them what He wanted them to do and not to do. From this incidence attention should be paid as to who visited who. Another incidence where God visited Adam and Eve is in Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This time the visit was not the one of fellowship and peace, it became as a visit of judgement and punishment which gives an indication that some visits are of that kind (Hugen, 2003:7) hence they were driven out of the garden. In Genesis 17:1, God visited Abraham and made a covenant with him. During the time of Moses when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, God visited the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt and He made Himself known to them. Later on He visited them in a tabernacle, and later still, in the temple. He also came to the proph­ets, to King David and to the priests in the temple (Hugen, 2003:8). This is an indication that God visited His people regularly and by so doing He was interested in His people and He associated and identified Himself with them.

God also visited His people through his Son Jesus Christ who came from heaven and dwelled among people. God’s visits involve personal encounters; He comes to talk with His people and expects them to talk with Him too hence His visit establishes His friend­ship with His people. In the concept of visiting, God came to visit and redeem His people (Luke 1:68). Since God becomes personally and bodily present in the incarna­tion, spiritual leaders are called to be personally present with those that are in their charge. Pastoral visitation of persons becomes one way of reflecting the glory of God’s own visitation of humanity in Christ whereby He seeks the lost, redeems sin and mends pain (Oden, 1983:171). Visitation is an act of outreaching, self extending and an initia­tive-taking in order to exercise care as is mentioned in Matthew 25: 36 “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Throughout his book ‘Taking Heed to the Flock’ Deiong (1948) looks at the issue of family visitation throughout history as the important task of getting in contact with all members in their homes and this practice has been defended throughout the years maintaining that this work was for the spiritual life and the edification of the church. So, this is an indication that the pastoral office is a shepherding task that involves not just a single meeting with the flock, but continuing oversight and feeding. This has the deep meaning of enhancing relationships and it requires vigilance and consistency. Above all, it requires a caring heart. Therefore, shepherding cannot be done at a dis­tance with automated telephone services, computerised messages, and impersonal form letters since pastoring is personal (Oden, 1983:171).

The aspect of shepherding is closely connected to visitation and the Lord God was from the beginning the shepherd of His flock (people of Israel). Therefore shepherding can be seen as the divine activity of God Himself in which Jesus’ shepherding aspect is rooted. The following passages of Scripture are clear about God’s shepherding: Psalm 23:1; 28:9; 9:13; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 17:16; Ezekiel 34:11-16. Through this aspect of shepherding, it can be drawn that Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14-15) and all other congregation ministers are shepherds of His people (flock). In other words this kind of shepherding is not only just following the example of the shepherding of Jesus, but it is the shepherding of Jesus Himself whereby He acts through shepherds (pastors).

When doing the work of shepherding, the shepherd, according to Taylor (1983:9) guides his flock to provide pastures and safe resting places (Isaiah 40:11); he feeds them and provides for all their needs making sure that they have enough water to drink as well as keeping the sheepfold in good repair (Psalm 23) as he shepherds the flock; the shepherd guards his flock and gives it protection from wild animals as well as thieves or any other dangers even when he has to be involved in himself (1 Samuel 17:34). Also, the shepherd searches for the lost sheep until he finds it (Matthew 18:12) and carefully tends any sheep that are sick or weak as well as taking special care of them. This exam­ple of the shepherd is the one that those who look after God’s people should follow since it gives exactly how to tend God’s flock and in carrying out visitation, this attitude of the shepherd should be seen in those doing visiting to those they visit.

Following in the footsteps of Jesus, it is necessary for pastors to have a heart for the people by knowing them by their names. To know someone by name means a lot be­cause that is to know who that person really is. As in John 10:4, 14, the good pastor must know his flock (people) by their names and the flock (people) must know his voice just as in John 10:4, 16. In this way the work of visiting people will be easier because the pastor will have a good insight in the needs of people. This knowledge helps the pastor to know when to show a special care and concern for members since he will be familiar with the situation of each member of the flock. At the core of visitation is over­sight that shows concern for their spiritual wellbeing. This concern is at the core of bib­lical visitation and is equated to a kind of remembering or thinking about another (Psalm 8:4; 106:4) that leads to action (Adams, 1975:76-77).

Most people feel honoured when they are visited by their pastor and in most cases this kind of visit is not a result of an invitation. If people are not visited they feel like they are neglected by their pastor. So Oden (1983:169) states it clearly that the pastor is ordained and commissioned to do visitation from house to house calling upon those in need, giving spiritual counsel in due season. This indicates that visiting people should be at the heart of the pastoral office and it should be from house to house (Acts 5:42). Following Oden’s perception of visitation, it can be seen that visitation requires much grace, patience, and commitment. Hence this outgoing of the pastor shows watchfulness in order to make proof of the pastor’s ministry (2 Timothy 4:5).

However, Oden points out some obstacles that may hinder visitation to be properly carried out, which in turn may lead to neglect of such visits. Such obstacles may in­clude: demands on time made by large congregations as a result of geographical dis­tance to parishioners which may lead them to come to the pastor only in times of crisis; the large number of people working while fewer are at home which makes it difficult for the pastor even when they are free, since the pastor may have so many scheduled meetings.

In response to such obstacles, Baxter in Oden (1983:170), indicates that ideally, pastoral visitation calls for a regular round of scheduled individual consultations with every communicant or family in a parish. It is only by this means that the pastor can learn firsthand of parishioners’ aspirations, struggles, and challenges. Hence there can only be a realistic shepherding when it can be brought in touch with parishioners’ actual loves and aversions, joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. In that way the pastor can enter emphatically into the ground floor of currently lived human experience and be able to offer assistance and encouragement and be able to minister to changing needs at the right time (Herbert in Oden, 1983:170).

Adams (1975:77) when referring to visitation looks at it as something special since at the centre of it is the idea of the Shepherd of Israel who watches over and meets every need of his flock. By this it can be seen that visitation is not just exercising a certain care for the flock but it is intended to meet all the requirements of the flock. In relation to this, in Ezekiel 34:2-4, the Lord brings a strong prophetic word against the shepherds of Israel by sending woes to them for caring for themselves while they were supposed to care for the flock. These shepherds were looking for ways to satisfy their own needs or interests. Pastors who are not functioning well in their position are misusing their posi­tion of authority hence the flock will be sick, fragmented and dysfunctional (Dewberry, 1995:17).

The teaching of Jesus about pastoral visits

Throughout His ministry, Jesus exercised and showed care and love for the people who were in need and He reached out to them in their different situations. Hence through Jesus’ ministry, it could be said that God in person visited and redeemed His people (Luke 1:68). Jesus ministry was time and again directed to individuals where He could have face to face interactions with them. He had conversations with those who were hurt and troubled. He visited individuals such as; the centurion (Matthew 8:5-10); and the nobleman whose son was sick (John 4:46-54); the adulteress (John 8:2-11). Jesus also visited those whose lives were demoralised and the disabled.

Jesus visited the towns and villages of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee and when visit­ing, He often entered into the house of willing hearers regardless of their status and He would minister to them along their places of joy or travail. In Jesus’ ministry context, visiting people in their homes was very important. Jesus visited the home of Levi the publican (Luke 5:29); Jesus went to the wedding at Cana (John 2:1, 2); Jesus went and visited the houses of Pharisees (Luke 7:36-50, 14:1-24); Jesus visited the house of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42); again, Jesus visited the house of Simon the leper (Mat­thew 26:6). From these passages it can be seen that Jesus ministry included visiting people where they were in their different situations in order for Him to be there with them. As attested by Gregory in Oden (1983:174), Jesus cut through to the marrow of people’s lives, exposed their idolatries, awakened a living sense of the presence of God, looked deeply into their souls, heard them emphatically, and called them to repentance and faith as He met them in their homes and work settings. Hence Jesus remains the pattern for all who would converse in His name.

The apostles and visitation

The apostles took the example of Jesus and continued the one to one interpersonal min­istry of Jesus. They did visit from house to house as it is suggested by Paul in Acts 20:20, “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house”. The practice of visiting is from Acts 5 where it can be seen that the apostles had been released from prison after the speech of Gamaliel where they had been severely flogged and were ordered to give up speaking in the name of Jesus (Oden, 1983:174). Despite all that the apostles were going through, yet they courageously returned immediately to do what they had been doing: “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 5:42). ” Again, Paul, after some days having preached in the vicinity of Antioch said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the Word of the Lord and see how they are doing” (Acts 15:36).

What the apostles were doing had its origin in Jesus’ commission whereby visitation was assumed to be connected with preaching, thus, “As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:12-14). It is from this apos­tolic pattern of visitation that the pastor should see the essence of visiting people too. Paul suggested when he was in the middle of a frustrating conflict with the Galatian church: “how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone because I am per­plexed about you!” (Galatians 4:20).

Christians should visit

The act of visiting has been regarded as the duty of a pastor (the shepherd of the flock) but every Christian should visit. Adams (1975:110) indicates that it is the duty and pri­vilege of all Christians to show concern and care for the needs of the sick. In support of the viewpoint that all Christians should visit, Adams points to James 5:14 which makes it clear that God has served notice that it is His expectation for elders to be available for such work in their official capacity. Since visitation is not confined to the pastor alone, Dickson (2004:50) when speaking of elders doing visitation, he indicates that elders should visit all people, rich as well as poor alike. This is to avoid the danger of the elder being identified with certain people and neglecting the other and it refers to all parties; he must avoid visiting rich people only or poor people only since he has to balance his visitation process and be careful to treat people equal when it comes to visiting them.

Killen (2005:25) shows that the ‘shut-ins’ need the regular visitation from the pastor and other caring people in the congregation. He refers to this kind of people as com­prising those who should have been in church leadership or active members of the church but due to old age cannot be seen regularly at church. Apart from this group, there are also those who are infirm and cannot do anything but are found in homes hence need the care and support of the pastor and the caring people in the congregation. The pastor in particular as a teaching elder has an obligation as shepherd to look after the sheep in times of need (Zechariah 10:2, 3; 11:15, 16; Ezekiel 34:4). Also, Anderson (1985:125) points out that in Acts 2, there is the clearest case for New Testament visita­tion and it is not seen as the task of the apostles and elders only. He concludes that the activity was a people-movement which involved visitation occurring joyfully and spontaneously as Christians compelled by love, shared so many things. This is a clear indication that not only pastors should be involved in visitation process but Christians must feel obliged to visit one another.

Visiting as an act of pastoral care

Through visitation, several things take place. In carrying out this kind of ministry, pastors and other people in the church are serving God, the church and the gospel. In order for visitation to be properly carried out, the Holy Spirit equips those who are called with necessary gifts as found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. Some of the things that are related to pastoral care which pastors do when they visit are: comfort, guidance, healing and reconciliation. The pastor has got a big role to play since he is ordained and given commission to visit from house to house, call upon those in need, as well as giving spiritual counsel in due season (Oden, 1983:169). This is the privilege that the pastor has which is not easily found in any other profession. Oden further states that the pastor has the opportunity of just going to the person when the time is fit, that is not offered easily to a psychological counselor or psychotherapist. The illustration that he gives is that of the physician waiting for the patient until the patient comes to the office to seek medical treatment, no matter how ill the patient may be (:169).

Comfort

Comfort refers to the ministry given to those who are in grief, the sick, the prisoner, the persecuted, and disheartened. Scripture describes comforting as bearing one another’s burdens, showing compassion, caring, encouraging and giving hope (Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 40:1; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7). When people are comforted they are helped to endure pain, that is, to keep going despite what is going on in their lives, doing their work, taking care of their children and doing other things. People are also helped to rise above pain or grief, meaning they are to rise above things that cannot be changed and therefore continue to find meaning, purpose and hope in life. However this may not happen quickly, it may take time. Baxter (1997:33, 34) stresses the fact that pastors should visit families and by so doing they get to know each family hence it becomes easier to know how best they can help and visiting them occasionally when everyone is at home.

Again, pastors should be diligent in visiting the sick people whether believers or non-believers since for non-believers that is the opportunity for them to realise the im­portance of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives and they may repent while for believers it is to strengthen them in faith and encourage them as well as comforting them because of what they are going through in life. When people are comforted they are given en­couragement, they are given hope, they are prayed for, they are shown compassion, they are comforted in order to bear their burdens, they are helped with some work that they are unable to do, and they are visited.

The message of comfort is that God is with His people when they suffer and He never abandons them (Psalm 23); God cares for His people and about their suffering; God answers prayers (John 14:13-14); God gives sufficient grace (1 Corinthians 10:13); God will not allow anything to separate His people from His love (Romans 8:38-39); God uses affliction for the good of His people (2 Corinthians 4:8-18); when Jesus re­turns, the dead will be raised up and every tear shall be wiped away (Revelation 21:1-4).

In order for the pastor to do all this, the pastor should be a good listener so that he knows how to communicate the message of comfort. In the case of a funeral, many people come to comfort the bereaved family. In comforting, the funeral does several things: it helps the people who are in sorrow to face the reality of death by seeing the dead person, gathering around the casket and singing songs and praying. It also helps the people who are in grief to express their grief, however, they should not grieve like those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Guidance

Often people turn to pastors for guidance when something happens in their lives that they are uncertain about what to do. This often takes place at church, in the pastor’s office or during pastoral visit. As indicated by Baxter (1997:31), pastors ought to be ready to counsel those seeking spiritual advice and could also be through pastoral visi­tation as well as when people come to the pastor for such advice. Pastors therefore should be wise in order to give proper guidance to people. The following are some scriptural teaching about guidance; “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8); “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generally to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5); “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding” (Psalm 111:10); “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105); “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). In order for pastors to provide good guidance, they must study the Word of God and pray for wisdom every time they are to give guidance. It is wise for the pastor to be able to give good guidance to people in a right way and the pastor can do provided he or she knows the question being asked for guidance, knows the person who is asking and knows the situation.

Healing

Hiltner (1959:19) understands shepherding to move in the direction of healing though circumstance may prevent actual healing or may prevent it at the point in time. He fur­ther indicates that the term healing in its general as well as comprehensive sense in­volves the restoration of functional wholeness that has been impaired as to direction or timing. Thus shepherding helps the person or the group to move as far in the direction of healing as circumstances permit. This leads to the other way of showing care to people as connected to healing. In the Bible healing is with prayer (Acts 9:40; 28:8; James 5:14-16); with the laying on of hands (Mark 6:5; Acts 28:8; James 5:14-18); with anointing with oil (Mark 6:13; James 5:14-16); with faith (Matthew 9:22; Mark 2:1-5; Luke 18:42; James 5:15). Although healing always comes through faith, but it is not necessarily the faith of the sick person according to the verses mentioned above (healing through faith). God promises to heal and does so over and over again in the lives of every individual although He does not promise to heal each and every time. God uses various means to answer prayers for healing, including medicines as well as anointing and laying on of hands.

Waruta (2000:85-86) shows that the Church’s role as ‘shepherd’ of God’s flock must administer healing that will resolve harmony in the lives of individuals, community and the environment as Jesus declared His mission in Luke 4:18-19 “to preach good news to the poor to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Therefore Waruta continues to state that the pastoral work of the Church is to be seen in terms of healing, guiding, sustaining and reconciling the people of God. In carrying out visita­tion, in order to exercise care for people, people can be prayed for, then wait for God’s healing or they can be taken to hospitals for medical healing. It must be noted that all healing comes from God just like every gift is from above, coming down from the Father (James 1:16-17).

Reconciliation

The ministry of reconciliation in carrying out pastoral care is a very important one. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to Him because of sin that had sepa­rated people from God. This shows the seriousness of sin even in present times whereby sin has the power to separate husband and wife, children from their parents and a neigh­bour from another neighbour. It is in this case when Jesus’ words should keep coming into people’s minds that He urged about the need to reconcile with a brother or sister when one has sinned against the other, as well as the need to reconcile to God.

The scriptural basis for reconciliation is as follows: “All this is from God, who re­conciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation….We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20); “There­fore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be re­conciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24); “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others alongIf he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church” (Matthew 18:15-20). The ministry of reconciliation can involve confrontation whereby the person who does not repent or confess their sin is warned, admonished, corrected or even re­buked (Matthew 18:15-20; Luke 17:3; 2 Timothy 4:2. These biblical passages give a direction on reconciliation that pastors should follow when reconciling people with others.

Crisis visit

This kind of visit is normally related to something serious that has happened in a family. It could be that someone is sick, someone dies, people are bereaved, someone has con­tagious disease or someone’s animals are stolen. In most cases crisis visits are carried out in response to a specific need which someone has reported about. Often the pastor knows beforehand why there is a need to go and pay a visit and is familiar with the pur­pose of the visit that requires urgent response. In a crisis visit, it is true that the pastor has to pray, but the pastor must listen carefully when the story is being related so that he or she can gain proper understanding of how this affects the lives of family members, and to also hear the whole story. The pastor must not be quick to make judgements; instead he or she waits to hear it all as James 1:19 calls for quickness to listen and slow­ness to speak. Good listening helps the pastor not only to listen to what happened but also to know how each person responds to what happened. In other words, how has the event affected them (their reaction to what has happened) and what it means to them so that the pastor may be able to give a good and wise counsel to them as well as to com­fort them and how to pray for them. Only if the pastor has listened well and knows the Bible well he/she can bring the right, appropriate word relevant to the situation. That word could be meant to correct, to rebuke, to encourage, or to comfort. The Word must be brought with patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2). Whatever the word it should be out of love in order to call for meaning (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). The pastor should be as compassionate as Jesus was. Having been able to listen well as to what has happened; the pastor will be able to know what to pray about. The pastor should be able to know what God promises about prayer and His teaching in situations like this. If there is wisdom lacking in the pastor, he should ask of the Lord and the Lord will give it to him so that he or she knows both the good word and how to pray (James 1:5).

Home visit

This was the kind of visit that was the practice of the Apostles to the people in their homes as part of the ministry of the church. In Acts 5, it is found that the apostles did not cease preaching and teaching in the temple and at home (Acts 5:42). Fernando (2002:215) stresses the practice of visiting homes as fitting in with the metaphor of the Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine and goes out to search for a single lost sheep (Matthew 18:12) without waiting for the sheep to come to him. Thus home visits have been the custom throughout the Christian church history and has been used for many different purposes. In home visit, the pastor is there to respond to the needs discovered and to do what is possible in order to help. Above all things, the pastor is there to offer necessary service not to be served. The pastor prays for the members and by so doing, lifts up to God all their joys and thanksgiving, together with their sorrows and pain, their needs and their laments to God.

Home visits can be used for evangelism, which is to bring the gospel to any members of the household who are non-believers. This effort can lead many unbelieving wives or husbands or unbelieving children to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by personal witness of the pastor in their homes. Home visits can also be used as an opportunity to teach new Christians about the whole of Christian faith, for instance, what God has done for them, about His promises, about how they should live in obedience and thank­fulness to God. This can be an opportunity to answer and correct their misunderstand­ings. They are also taught how to serve God better as good stewards of their posses­sions, their time and their gifts for ministry (1 Corinthians 12). The apostle Paul in his letters frequently used this example through his words of praise and thanksgiving to the members of the church. Home visits are also carried out for watching over Christians (Hebrews 13:17) or keeping watch “over all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God…” (Acts 20:28).

In home visits, pastors speak face to face to those who are living disobedient lives, unfaithful to their wives or husbands, or who are involved in all kinds of things that are against proper Christian living. It is in this way through which pastoral supervision takes place which may lead such members to repent and be accountable hence they can be restored to Christ and His church. It is through home visits that sometimes husbands and wives can be given wise counsel about their marriage or about their children or sometimes members of the family need to be reconciled and home visits provide a good time for such things.

Chapter three: research results and interpretation

In this chapter, the researcher gives the results of the research that was carried out in the Lesotho Evangelical Church with the view to establishing the extent to which some members of the L.E.C are not active and effective with the hypothesis that this could be because pastoral visitation is neither actively nor effectively carried out in the L.E.C. The participants, questions and responses on social interaction among the Basotho people, and questions and responses on pastoral visitation are discussed. The results of the research are divided into two parts. The first part looks at the social interaction among the Basotho people (people of Lesotho) as it relates closely to the issue of visita­tion through actions of love that generate good relationships. The second part is all about the results obtained through interviews and answering of the questionnaires in relation to visitation itself.

Participants

Participants involved in this study were: Pastors, Evangelists, Lay leaders and ordinary church members (those who do not hold any position of leadership in the church). The way they participated was through answering questions on social interaction among the Basotho people and pastoral visitation and also through individual and collective verbal interviews.

Seeking permission

Before carrying out the research, the researcher sought permission from the governing body of the denomination of the L.E.C (the Executive Committee). The researcher was granted a written permission by the Executive Committee of the L.E.C and began to carry on with the research process. The researcher had to produce a written permission from the Executive Committee in order to get the consent of the people for interviewing so that the interviewees would feel secure to provide the researcher with necessary and relevant information.

Facilitators

Facilitators who helped with the design of the questionnaire were Rev. Bernard Mojaki Kometsi, lecturer at Morija Theological Seminary and Rev Dr. Abiel Matitsoane Mo­seme (the Director of Morija Theological Seminary of the Lesotho Evangelical Church).

People involved

This study was carried out with the involvement of pastors, lay leaders and ordinary members of the L.E.C. Interviews were held with the above mentioned parties and eighty-five people were interviewed. In most cases these interviews were conducted with a group of people due to limited time. Apart from interviews, questionnaires were used in order to obtain data. Fifty questionnaires were handed out to different people but only thirty-two people answered the questions while eighteen de­clined.

Social interaction among Basotho People

What do you understand by social interaction among Basotho people? On this question, different people gave different views. Some showed their understanding of social inte­raction among Basotho people as an act of love that Basotho had/has among themselves shown by coming together for different reasons such as working together, coming to­gether as friends and relatives, cultural clubs, feasts. It was/is a way of relating to one another. It was found that social interaction could also mean a meeting of people with common interest in life to help one another, promoting peace and sharing common views such as problems and other matters of interest. Through social interaction, people would accept their customs, values of society and become willing participants in a so­ciety and to encourage acceptable behaviour. Through social interaction people get to know each other better as they reach out to be with others and develop a better under­standing of others’ weaknesses and strengths and solution of family as well as personal problems.

Social interaction could also bring about exchange of views and could mean a dialo­gue often by a group of people who meet for a common purpose to reach a common goal thus, ‘Matla ke kopano’ which means ‘Unity is strength’ when translated. Social interaction could mean coming together for different activities, talking, playing, laugh­ing, and discussing issues of life leading to a harmonious living and friendly atmosphere among people of an area and better understanding of one another. This could also mean caring for one another in many ways and showing sympathy towards one another through sharing with those in need, in order for them to feel part of the society. Social interaction was/is motivated by this saying, ‘Motho ke motho ka batho’ which when translated means ‘a human is a human through other humans’.

Therefore social interaction would also show peace among the people because even the way of greeting among Basotho means a lot since when a person greets the other shows a sign which is an establishment of peace and the other responds in the same way to show the reception of that peace. From the greeting, then flows communication which led/leads to knowing each other better; talking about personal matters, relatives, to the extent that they may end up realising some connections between themselves. What was/is prevailing was that ‘no one was/is for himself or herself, there was/is a need for others’. This would be done by reaching out to others to find out how they were/are doing either relatives or neighbours and as a result children belonged to all people, which means that every adult was/is responsible for raising every child as a sign of true parenthood.

What impact do you think social interaction had/has among Basotho people?The researcher discovered that most answers on the above question were almost similar. The response was that social interaction among Basotho people has been a tremendous thing which has promoted a concept of working together to achieve a common goal. It has also contributed to coming together and sharing different ideas resulting in a healthy society built on love shown among Basotho people in order to help one another.

Through social interaction, a well built nation was experienced since all in the so­ciety contributed to the raising of children. As a result they could become better and responsible citizens of the country as they grew up since every child used to be not only of his her parents by blood. Every parent was responsible for raising every child in a proper manner without saying that children did not belong to them and children too knew that every parent was their parent. Social interaction influenced Basotho people that they were so much interested on the affairs of others. Thus they were troubled if things did not go well with other neighbours. Peace was also experienced as a result of interacting with one another and they led a life of caring for others’ needs hence shared what they had.

The spirit of encouragement was/is seen among Basotho people and the spirit of reaching out to others to find out how they were doing was common among them. Hence the spirit of brotherhood was/is prevalent among the Basotho people as a result of social interaction. Basotho people had/have the spirit of cooperation which resulted in transference of values from one generation to another. This spirit would also be seen in the establishment of village committees and councils to show togetherness amongst the people. Social interaction also brought/brings solidarity and oneness among Basotho people which caused/causes them to live in mutual friendship and enhanced good rela­tionship with one another. Above all, Basotho people were/are motivated by love that was/is common among them to be so much concerned about others as well as being in­terested in the affairs of one another in their everyday life. As a result of social interac­tion, no man lived/lives as an island.

Do Basotho people still value social interaction? How? The majority of participants responded that social interaction is still experienced among Basotho people although it is becoming rare day by day. Research has shown that nowadays people interact with people of their class and caliber, for instance, in times of birth, commemoration of unique events, graduation and ritual celebrations. It is true that social interaction still takes place but it has taken a different direction.

Although this can be seen in their lifestyle the fact is that currently, social interac­tion has taken a different meaning since some people fail to interact with their imme­diate relatives, their neighbours, to find out how they are doing. Normally it is uncon­ventional according to Basotho culture to pass someone without greeting them, but this is what is commonly seen among the Basotho of today. The way children behave to­wards elderly people is totally different from the way children used to behave pre­viously. Some parents even teach their children that parents are their immediate parents only (those by blood) not those in the community. People interact with certain people and the spirit of oneness is not seen among Basotho people. In some areas, this spirit of social interaction can still be seen though it is rare. People still cooperate but the way they do is not like it used to be traditionally.

Results on pastoral visitation

How would you describe the way people interact in the Lesotho Evangelical Church? Several things happen in the L.E.C through which people interact. People go to church together for fellowship as Christians where they mingle with others and talk about how each person is doing. Some spend time with each other in groups formed in the church for instance, women’s league, men’s league, and youth league, Sunday school children come together to sing and to learn the word of God at their level as well as playing games. Some come together for church choir meetings, prayer meetings held in villages even at the church, sharing in church activities. In this way they show friendliness and togetherness by sharing their concerns about spiritual life, discussing the Word of God together and encouraging one another through the Word. They also value greeting one another as a sign of showing concern for one another. Congregations visit one another in order to raise funds for the church, as well as celebrating together about their achievements. In the time of bereavement, they go to the mourning family for comfort, going to see how the sick are and praying for them. As they do interact, they show love for one another, care, and interest in one another’s physical and spiritual life since they are all part of the body of Christ.

Though there is interaction in the church, some participants in this research said that there is no strong interaction in the L.E.C among church members which may be con­nected with what is seen among Basotho people nowadays since social interaction is declining and it may have some effects on the interaction of church members with each other.

What do you understand by pastoral visitation? The most dominating response on this question was that pastoral visitation is an activity done by pastors to their congre­gation members by going out to them in order to give spiritual guidance and counselling and to show their care and concern for church members. This is done to bring the good news of Jesus Christ by showing love, giving encouragement, showing sympathy for the needy and being with people in their difficult times. Also, visitation means the rejuve­nation of spiritual life of the believers – making sure that all the ‘sheep’ are intact both in number and spiritual health. Pastoral visitation also refers to going to people to teach them the Word of God, looking after children of God giving them courage where there is no hope by going to their homes and different areas of life, praying for the sick, those who are troubled and to comfort those who are in grief as well as making new converts.

The researcher found out that this visitation should be from house to house, visiting both members and non-Christians, checking on the living conditions of members of the church helping the pastor to know exactly what different church members are going through in their daily life. When doing visitation, the pastor takes in the role of the shepherd who always looks after the sheep; tending them in order to know the problems they may encounter and show the need for one another. Therefore visitation according to this research refers to looking after, tending, overseeing by checking the wellbeing of church members done by pastors.

Participants responded that visitation should not be only limited to pastors, evangel­ists and lay leaders, as well as other church members. Different groups in the church: women’s league, men’s league, and youth league, must also visit in order to show love and care for one another. However, since visitation has been done by pastors and evan­gelists most of the time and sometimes lay leaders (although not often), pastors and evangelists are the ones who should take the lead because they had theological training and they can train lay leaders as to how to care for one another.

Also, church members are to be encouraged to exercise this love and care for one another just as it is the culture of Basotho people to show love and care for one another through social interaction in their daily matters (though church members seem to be not aware of this mandate that they should also visit others, but some do visit others in the light of social interaction). Only pastors and evangelists are trying their level best to carry out pastoral visitation. Unfortunately some pastors and evangelists are somehow relaxed in relation to visiting people hence visit in times of crisis like death or when someone is sick.

In this understanding of pastoral visitation, research has revealed that those who should be visited are all people in different spheres of life: the sick; prisoners; those who face difficulties and problems in life; elderly people; those who are in sad mo­ments; unbelievers to bring good news to them for their conversion to Christ; old and young couples to encourage them in their marriage life and also to give them spiritual counsel due to ever-growing unhappiness and high rate of divorce; healthy Christians in order to motivate them and encourage them to press on in their Christian service; those who do not show up at church in order to provide spiritual revival; disabled people to strengthen them and encourage them despite the situation that they are in; orphans; those in hospital; the rulers of the country: chiefs and political leaders in order to help them rule wisely for the glory of God; those addicted to drugs; orphanage homes and old age homes.

However, it seemed that few visit those in prison and in hospital especially in groups. All in all, research has revealed that every person must be visited in order to show love, care and give support. Visitation can help them in their different situations to come closer to God through Christ. The researcher found out that visitation should be re­garded as of paramount importance as it enhances good relationships.

Some members of the L.E.C are not active and effective in the church. What do you think is the reason for that? The researcher discovered that there are several reasons that cause some members of the Lesotho Evangelical Church to be not active and effective in the church. Participants in this research gave several reasons that cause inactiveness and ineffectiveness of some members in the church. Sometimes it is because of lack of motivation to members and guidance and lack of practical knowledge about human re­lations by those in leadership. Sometimes some active members are not encouraging hence weak members decide to stay inactive and ineffective. Sometimes it is because of lack of good foundation that leads to misunderstanding about Christian life which also leads to poor spiritual growth. Some members join the L.E.C from other denominations and are not fully helped in order for them to understand the denomination that they join hence they decline whenever they come across something that they have not been used to in their previous denominations. Some members have been discouraged by church leaders in the way they treat them and relate to them as members of the church by not showing them that they are valuable in the church. Others are given first place in the church which leads them to think that they do not belong there hence decide to stay in their homes while still remaining church members who are not active and effective in the church.

Some people are naturally shy due to spiritual immaturity and that inhibits them from participating in church activities. Some people are suffering from spiritual illness and some less privileged people feel discriminated against, in the church by other church members because of their financial status. Therefore they find it hard to partici­pate in the church because those with high social status dominate in the church. Some­times it is because of pride and self-esteem. Some responses showed that some negative methods and approaches by some church leaders also contribute to the cause. Some leaders visit church members only when they need something from them, especially money for certain activities to be carried out in the church; yet, they do not visit them when they are sick or when they have problems in their families.

The way of communicating with church members by some leaders is not appreciated by members because it is the way of showing that they are superior and impose things on church members therefore some members resolve to stay in their homes. Some who have been in the church leadership for some time, when they happen not to be elected for positions in church, decide to stay at home. It seems as though for them to become church members was to be in positions of leadership in the church. Sometimes it is be­cause of less interaction of the L.E.C to encourage one another. Inadequate interaction of church leaders and church members due to lack of visitation also causes some mem­bers not to be active. Financial constraint is the burden in some members of L.E.C hence some are not active and effective in the church since, for instance, some poor church members decide to idle at home and some when asked as to why they are not active in the church they say that the church demands a lot of money from them and they do not have it to carry out their church obligations, so they feel ashamed because of lack of money.

Some church members are busy working almost every day even on Sundays. Another reason is that church members are not properly looked after through visitation which leads to lack of knowledge of what is expected of them by the church. It has been discovered that currently people hardly interact with one another except those of their own status. For some it has been because of resentment due to different treatment they received from church leaders. Some members travel from far places from the church and sometimes are affected by long distances. Lack of encouragement to take active participation in the church has caused some members to feel excluded because they are not given roles to play in the church. Lack of understanding about what it means to be a church member and its importance has been identified as one of the reasons why people are not active. Some think that the church is interested in money not the Word of God because of the church’s approach to money. Lack of enough information about how the church functions has also caused some members to be not active in the church. Some­times some members display piety yet practise unwelcome or dishonest actions while they give fat donations to the church, thus some members do not want to be with decep­tive members. Some church members suspect that there is lack of positive, constructive church leadership, and there is lack of resolving problems among pastors and congrega­tion members as well as poor administration to jointly building a happy organisational life of the church.

What do you think is the impact of pastoral visitation in the L.E.C? Research has shown that the impact of pastoral visitation is that it brings oneness among church members; where it is done properly, it has changed the outlook of many members and it has shown some growth of members in number. Although there seems to be slow spiri­tual growth in some members while others have grown spiritually, it also helps to bring understanding about financial contributions to the church hence some people give their contributions to the church willingly and happily. Visitation has enhanced relationships where it has been done well, that is, not visiting only the rich people but balancing the visit by also visiting the poor alike. Research has shown that visitation is essential since it has aroused interest to some church members for the church activities. It has also en­couraged some people to love their church and church services as well as church activi­ties hence they do not feel burdened by whatever is expected of them by the church.

Pastoral visitation has helped some members in renewal of their commitment to God. It has become a way of communicating the gospel to God’s people by encouraging par­ticipation in activities. Through visitation trust is built and development of mutual re­spect for one another. It also improves communication and generates good rapport be­tween the congregation and the pastor. Visitation maintains motivated membership in the church and good relationships as well as leadership interaction with church mem­bers. It has brought revival to members who were idling at home by encouraging them to return to the church actively. It also relieves people from distress because of what they are going through. It helps people to realise that they are valuable, loved and cared for. Some church members have joined the church as a result of the visits. It helps church members to be aware of the rules and regulations governing the L.E.C where it is done properly.

As a result of visitation, people will come closer to God through the presentation of the gospel during visitation. It has encouraged the sense of belonging together among some church members; and has boosted the morale of those visited where it has been done properly. Visitation is helpful for building relationships in families and strong bonds of relationship between the leadership of the church and church members. Proper handling of issues and confidentiality maintains good relationships as well as being there with people when they are in need. It has strengthened the family of Christ where it has been done regularly and brought a great development in the church by also open­ing doors for counselling sessions. Pastoral visitation encourages members of the church to be active and effective and they immediately realise that the pastor pays attention to them as human beings. It has built strong faith among some church mem­bers and good relationships where it has been done well.

[...]

Excerpt out of 132 pages

Details

Title
God's Mission in Southern Africa
Subtitle
NETS Theological Research Papers - Volume One
Authors
Year
2011
Pages
132
Catalog Number
V183646
ISBN (eBook)
9783656082088
ISBN (Book)
9783656082156
File size
1511 KB
Language
English
Notes
Tags
Mission Practice, Pastoral Care, Church Leadership, Youth Ministry, Southern Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Charismatic Churches in Namibia
Quote paper
Dr. Thorsten Prill (ed.) (Author)Simba Musvamhiri (Author)Peter Koona Tefo (Author)Abednigo Musona (Author)Zeka Avelino Tjiwana (Author), 2011, God's Mission in Southern Africa, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/183646

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