“Stretching, mind renewing, empowering, hectic, fun, an adventure!”
That is how one of the participants described the latest Great Commission Course.
They came from as far afield as California and the Congo, from Arizona to Zimbabwe, from Zambia and from all over South Africa. We had several pastors and career missionaries, some heads of ministries and leaders of church groups and pioneers in missions. Some were missionary candidates at the beginning of their training, others experienced veterans who had been in the field for decades. Some had a business background, one was a nurse, another a computer programmer, another had been a commander in the Navy. The mix of nationalities, cultures, languages, backgrounds, characters, skills and personalities made for a dynamic and interesting Great Commission Course (GCC).
Since 1998, Frontline Fellowship has been organising these Great Commission Courses for those who are serious about missions. Days began early, two hours before dawn, with P.T. The GCC is an intensive three week practical missions training programme which includes grueling hikes at night, up rivers and over mountains with backpacks filled with Arabic Scriptures. Most mornings involved lectures on the various aspects of missions, most afternoons and evenings involved practicals, workshops, outreaches and hikes past midnight.
Many thousands of Gospel tracts and booklets in 12 different languages were distributed widely during outreaches in townships, at railway and bus stations, outside mosques, in a prison and at Parliament. Day trips included a tour of the castle, a visit to sites connected with Andrew Murray and the Revival in Wellington, the Huguenot Monument and Museum in Franschhoek (where The Greatest Century of Reformation book was launched), soccer evangelism in Khayelitsha and work parties to dig and paint at a local mission base. Participants also had the opportunity to visit an animal rehabilitation centre and handle eagles and cheetahs. One morning, the team conducted a prayer vigil and literature outreach outside the Marie Stopes Abortion Clinic in Cape Town. On Sundays, the team split up to minister in as many as six congregations scattered throughout the peninsula.
GCC lectures (which were taped and will be available on CD) included: What Does it Take To Be a Missionary?; Motives For Missions; Perseverance; Understanding Animism; Missions in the Old Testament; Cross Cultural Communication, Evangelising Muslims; Biblical Principles for Missions; Practical Preparation for the Field; Evangelising Terrorists; Comparing the Quran and the Bible; Missions in Acts; Overcoming Culture Shock; Evangelising Hindus; Self Discipline – The Key to Success; William Carey – The Father of Modern Missions; Livingstone the Liberator; The Heart of the Gospel; How to Know God’s Will; Survival in the Bush; Coping with Crisis Situations; Reclaiming Surrendered Ground; The Cross and Conflict; Restitution and Revival; Making Disciples of All Nations; A World to Win and much more. Workshops were held on Evangelism, Debating and Public Speaking, Vehicle Maintenance, First Aid, Film Evangelism and Literature Ministry.
Some of the written responses from the GCC participants included: “It was amazing!”; “Much tougher than I had expected”; “I have been stretched mentally and spiritually, it has also opened my eyes”; “I was amazed at how well organised and how helpful all of the staff have been. The GCC is by far the best course I have ever attended”; “Training was very hard, but good and well prepared”; “It was a lot of fun with the outreaches”; “Wonderful, Biblical, eye opening teaching and practical experience! Highly recommended for all who are interested in missions”; “The worldview and mission experience is what every prospective missionary needs. GCC is a very challenging course preparing one for missions”; “Very intensively challenging lectures that instilled a desire to live the principles”; “It taught me endurance (big time!), that you can do more than you think”; “I improved my physical fitness, made new Christian friends, came closer to God and improved my relationship with Him”; “Taught me many important things I did not know about the Christian Faith and the mission field. I now know what I am supposed to do as a missionary”; “Illuminated and envisioned with courage”; “Multiple new outlooks on life including personal life and missions, global missions and evangelism, the Word of God, the universe and physical training…to name a few”; “I would love it to be longer!”; “The PowerPoints are really helpful! I appreciated all of the notes for the lectures”; “The practicals are very important. Visual presentations are very helpful”; “Strengthened my resolve”; “I have learned a great deal about Biblical principles, evangelism and practical application of Christianity. I am more prepared now to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God.”
Most of the GCC participants indicated that the highlights for them were the night hikes in the forest, up the river, over Table Mountain and Lions Head, the practicals and the outreaches, particularly the prison ministry, radio ministry and literature distribution in the townships, market places and stations.
The Great Commission Course also included an Africa For Christ missions rally at a local town hall. First hand report backs from the field were presented with slides and video footage from Sudan, Nigeria, the Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Heart felt prayers were offered up for the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and Reformation and Revival, in Africa.
This GCC had our largest enrolment ever. We had great trouble fitting everyone in the venue and vehicles. Numerous eager applicants had to be turned away. Participants completed written exams and 11 written assignments, along with the demanding schedule, balancing outreaches, lectures, practicals and evaluations. The Great Commission Course has been designed to provide a realistic and demanding comprehensive introduction to missions and so it involves body, mind and spirit. Missions requires spiritual preparation, physical fitness, ministry experience, adaptability, perseverance, emotional stability, an ability to work together with others, practical skills, understanding of the different cultures and religions we must work amongst, and most important a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, the Fear of the Lord and enthusiasm for the Gospel. Please do pray for each of the GCC participants as they go back to establish Reformation Societies, Transformation Teams, Christian Action groups and mission outreaches in their communities and across borders.
If you would like to benefit from some of the inspirational lectures and workshops presented, all of the 25 lectures of the Biblical Worldview Summit and 40 Great Commission Course lectures, in addition to some aspects of the seven workshops, were recorded and will be available on audio CD’s and MP3’s. Some of the BWS presentations were also filmed and will be available on DVD.
It is our sincere prayer that the Lord will graciously use these CDs, MP3’s and DVD’s to inspire and equip others to (in the words of one of the participants): “To submit through faith to the Will of God and to make the Great Commission my supreme ambition.”
“Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
Dr. Peter Hammond
GCC 2006 RESPONSE FORMS SUMMARY
To join and get involved in a local church: 9
To study the Word of God more regularly: 14
To spend more time in prayer for our country: 15
To read more good Christian books: 14
To disciple at least one person per year: 15
To financially support a mission: 10
Volunteer your time to a missionary organisation: 13
To commit yourself to studying for and working for missions: 12
To start a Missions Prayer Fellowship in your school, college or community: 11
To help distribute Frontline Fellowship literature and recruit subscribers for
Frontline Fellowship News: 9
To sign up for Frontline’s Missionary Apprenticeship Training Programme: 11
PO Box 74, Newlands,
7725, Cape Town