What is working effectively in your area of ministry?
Our leadership training programmes, particularly the Great Commission Course and Biblical Worldview Seminars are working well.
The literature production and distribution is greatly appreciated and in high demand. Books that have been specifically produced to assist with the leadership training courses have been particularly effective. This includes: The Greatest Century of Reformation, the Discipleship Handbook, Biblical Principles for Africa, Slavery, Terrorism and Islam, The Greatest Century of Reformation. In Africa books get read and then sold – this means each book reaches more people. Combining Bibles, books and bikes is helping to put wheels under the Word and multiplying ministers effectiveness.
We know that the Love in Action part of our ministry priorities is very important, particularly where Christians are suffering so severely as in Zimbabwe. Our Box With Love ministry to pensioners has been much needed and greatly appreciated.
We have greatly appreciated The Way of the Master and Evangelism Explosion training programmes which we have integrated into our Great Commission Courses, Reformation Society and staff training programmes.
[Charl van Wyk] E.g. of effectiveness of our leadership training - We have employed some of the youth of a black township church, and trained them to become leaders in their community. One young man, who started at our mission as our gardener, after having attended and been trained at our leadership and discipleship courses, is now serving the Lord in a Christian political party and has become a city councillor; he has also had death threats.
2. What is not working?
There is a tremendous need and hunger for literature and leadership training in Africa, but one of our ongoing problems is that most of those who leave rural areas for urban training institutions, tend to stay in the urban centres and be lost to the rural communities who sent them for further training.
Similarly, most of those who go to First World nations for further training tend not to return to their Third World countries of origin. In this way the church is haemorrhaging in Africa. Some of our most promising leadership candidates are failing to return to their communities. The rapid urbanization and the mass movement to First World countries is devastating to local congregations. Most of the pastors of rural areas where we work have no tertiary education at all.
We also face the continual problem of the harvest being extremely large and the workers being all too few. Despite many people going through our courses, and many volunteers for short term outreaches, there is a serious lack of long term commitment. Many short term volunteers go home just when they would start to become really useful. The continual attrition rate, losing those trained and experienced, is undermining long term effectiveness. Much valuable resources are wasted sending unsuitable or uncommitted people into the field.
3. What are the principles, guidelines or processes that you go through during the implementation of your ministry?
Frontline Fellowship exists to glorify God by faith and obedience, in prayer and action, assisting persecuted Christians and working for Reformation and Revival in Africa.
Our mission principles are: Simplicity of structure, mobility in operations, boldness in approach and the priority of Evangelism and Discipleship training in restricted and neglected areas.
We always try to do as thorough research and preparation as possible, consulting Operation World, communicating with ministries that are already involved, or have had some experience, in the field we are entering. We then will seek out the most effective ministry or church already established in that area and make ourselves available to them, seeking their counsel and advice and following their requests as our priorities. By coming in to assist an already established church, or ministry, we avoid many of the cross-cultural confusions and well-meaning complications that visitors can so easily cause.
4. What kinds of problems have you faced and how do you solve them?
Of course, our mission, like most other faith missions, is continually short of funds and resources, and, most of all, trained, committed personnel.
On principle, we have never engaged in direct fundraising, but rather report back on the work that has been done, and on some of the projects and priorities before us.
We have had so many problems with unsuitable missionary volunteers who are insensitive to cross-cultural concerns, unwilling to stay long enough to learn, adapt and become effective and invaluable in the field. The impact of worldly music, secular humanist education, and a self-centered, egalitarian, materialistic, entertainment oriented culture have taken their toll on prospective field workers. We frequently come across Biblical illiteracy, spiritual immaturity, worldliness, selfishness, pride and un-teachability amongst those who claim that they want to serve the Lord in missions. Sacrificial service, teachability, humility, a dynamic devotional life and a passion and zeal to win the lost for Christ are rare.
The problems faced in the field have included not only heat, harsh conditions and hard hearts, sickness and sin, but also aerial and artillery bombardments by the Sudan Air Force. Thefts, looting, fraud, deceit, scams, false brethren, con-artists, corruption and bribe-hungry government officials are problems, but also time and money wasting bureaucracy, stifling labour laws, excessive taxes and religious scams.
Accordingly, we have given more and more emphasis to prayer, and intensified our selection and training procedure, emphasising character and integrity.
There is no substitute for track record, so during our Great Commission Course selection and training programme we seek to put the candidates under stress and see how they respond. Everyday begins with PT hours before the sun rises, and includes intensive lectures, daily outreaches and practicals, and night hikes up and over the mountain.
We pray for wisdom and discernment, take wise precautions and seek to prepare our missionary candidates in how to be effective in missions without becoming a victim of muggings and manipulation, by criminals and con-men. There is no substitute for a strong Discipleship and Devotional programme. And sin and bad attitudes need to be promptly dealt with in one-on-one counselling and prayer.
5. What are new areas that need your attention?
Initially our mission pioneered into war-ravaged Angola, Mozambique and Sudan. More recently we have been developing in the Congo and Nigeria.
During the wars in Mozambique, Angola and Sudan, we gave high priority to speaking up for the persecuted, publishing their sufferings and testimonies, in print, on radio, TV, and in hundreds of international meetings every year. By God’s grace, and in response to the prayers and pressure of many dedicated Christians, the wars in Mozambique, Angola and Sudan have ended, and the believers there have unprecedented freedoms and ministry opportunities.
Now we are seeking to develop our network of couriers and evangelists to distribute tons of Bibles and Christian books in up to 100 languages. We are also giving priority to leadership training of pastors, chaplains, evangelists and teachers.
Karl Marx declared that the first battlefield is the rewriting of history. It has been frequently said: “The missionaries taught us how to read. The communists gave us something to read.” As Secular Humanism has hijacked most of the educational institutions and news media throughout Africa, we have seen the need to produce more textbooks, including History books, for schools and Bible Colleges. I am working a number of history books including: From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe and A Christian History of Africa.
6. What are your plans for the next five to ten years?
One of our highest priorities is developing our William Carey Bible Institute – a Reformed, Evangelistic, Biblical and practical leadership training programme. What Frontline Fellowship has been attempting to do over the last 25 years is to take short-term leadership training programmes to the remote rural areas. We have been conducting Discipleship Training Courses, Biblical Worldview Seminars, Great Commission Courses, Reformation and Revival Seminars, Muslim Evangelism Workshops, Teacher Training Courses, Evangelism Explosion clinics, Way of the Master Evangelism Workshops, etc. and seeking to equip pastors with our Libraries for Pastors programme. We have also helped to establish Bible Colleges in Zambia and Sudan.
Now through WCBI we are offering a thoroughly Reformed distance learning programme which provides pastors, teachers and evangelists with excellent text books, lecture manuals, audio tapes or CDs and a programme requiring book reports, assignments and exams.
The College is named after William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions, who although he was deprived of secular schooling was so well-read, dedicated and disciplined that through reading he became one of the finest linguists, Bible translators and social Reformers in history.
The William Carey Bible Institute aims to provide a uniquely practical missionary training programme that is character changing, nation building and culture transforming. In addition to the correspondence courses WCBI donates high quality Christian books to Bible colleges and Christian schools as far afield as Nigeria and Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Pastors, chaplains and teachers who complete any of our leadership training programmes such as the Great Commission Course or Biblical Worldview Seminars receive study credits and are also given book donations.
As part of our leadership training programmes, I’m working on 20 different book projects, and producing a wide range of audio CD lectures for the 17 courses offered by WCBI.
Providing Data CD-ROMs with notes and PowerPoints, MP3s and textbooks for the Discipleship, Biblical Worldview, Great Commission, Missions History, Church History, Reformation and Revival, Muslim Evangelism, Ministering to the Persecuted, God and Government, Christian Action, Biblical Law, Apologetics, Children’s Ministry, Conflict Resolution, Eschatology, Leadership, and Evangelism courses of WCBI is involving several of our IT staff full-time.
7. New things that God has impressed on your heart to share:
The importance of God’s Law as the schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Our churches desperately need holiness and Revival. We need to return to God and His Word in repentance and restitution. We need to work for Biblical Reformation and pray for spiritual Revival. Teaching the whole counsel of God to individuals, families, congregations and communities.
8. Three things to do.
1. Commit to becoming more Bible-based. Read through the whole Bible in one year. If you read 4 chapters a day, then you’ll be able to complete the whole Bible in just one year. Build the Bible into your daily routine. Make it a principle that the Bible comes before breakfast. Start your day with wisdom – read a chapter of Proverbs every morning. There are 31 Proverbs, so that would work out to one for every day of the month. Proverbs are an inexhaustible treasury of common sense, insights and solutions to our daily problems and challenges.
Read a Psalm before every lunch. The Psalms are the Prayer Book and Hymn Book of the Bible. If you want to revitalize your prayer life, start praying through the Psalms. There are 150 Psalms. You can go through the whole Book of Psalms in just 5 months.
Scripture before supper. We tend to be regular about mealtimes, so ensure a balanced diet by feeding your mind and soul as well as your body by incorporating Bible reading into your mealtimes.
2. Do a thorough job of Repentance and Restitution. Do everything you can to restore relationships with estranged brethren. Forgive those who have sinned against you. Write that letter. Make that phone call. Apologise to those you have wronged. Forgive those who have wronged you.
3. Make a concerted effort to revive the prayer meeting in your church and mission. Implement Martin Luther’s practical programme for reviving your prayer life, by structuring your prayers according to the Ten Commandments, the Apostles Creed, the Catechism and the Psalms. Pray the Psalms. Pray Scripture. Make the prayer meeting a central part of your mission’s activities.
9. Three things not to do.
1. Resolve to neither listen to gossip nor to spread it.
2. Do not allow television and the media to distract and deviate you from fulfilling the Great Commission. We need to renew our minds and win the world for Christ, not be conformed to the world and waste our time and energy with the world’s propaganda and amusement.
3. Do not assume that your staff, co-workers, or the local Christians you are partnered with, are walking in the light. Incorporate tests, including written Bible Exams, questionnaires and self-evaluation forms. Do not assume a dedication, productivity and right relationship with the Lord. The first time I met with Dr James Kennedy, and expressed my admiration for the tremendous work and the magnificent Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church structure, Dr Kennedy rebuked me. He said: “Do not be deceived. Everything isn’t as good as it appears. A large percentage of those attending church every Sunday are not saved. I wish I could tell you that all of my staff were saved, but I cannot even tell you that all of my elders and pastors are saved. In fact, our music pastor was only recently converted!” He then explained that of course a music pastor does not come straight from college to a church the size of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. This would be the summit of his career. He had already been the music pastor of many other Presbyterian churches before coming to CRPC and finally being converted. Dr Kennedy then expressed to me his frustration that, despite having 9000 members and 260 full time staff, only about 100 would turn out for Evangelism Explosion outreaches each Thursday night. Dr Kennedy challenged me concerning the importance of personal one-on-one evangelism: “Peter, that’s the most important thing I do. All these ministries around me, I doubt that many of them will endure long after I have gone. But Evangelism Explosion, this ministry of multiplication, reaching the lost, bringing them to Christ and training them to reach others also, this is far more important than all my radio, TV and writing ministry.” We must not send people into the field who do not have a track record of sacrificial service and soul winning in their own communities.
We need to be more Biblical, more prayerful, more evangelistic. We have a world to win. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Our priority is “prayer and the Word”, winning the lost to Christ. Making disciples and teaching obedience to all things that the Lord has commanded.
The Great Commission is our supreme ambition .
“Only one life, it will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
PO Box 74
Cape Town, South Africa
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