The Harvest

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Jesus of Nazareth. (c. 30 AD.) Matt. 9:37-38"

Vision

Background

The 'new' South Africa has brought many changes to the South African urban landscape.

  • The demographics of our cities are inevitably changing In the wake of political en economic reforms.
  • Local communities are becoming increasingly pluralistic in terms of their ethnic, cultural and religious composition.
  • New forms of social expression are beginning to challenge established traditions and practices at grass-root level.

The religious front is no exception: great shifts have taken place in the make-up of the established church.

  • Many 'cultural Christians' have walked away from the faith altogether.
  • Others have recommitted themselves to traditional inward focused conservatism.
  • Some have become dissatisfied with the key tenets of the faith and embraced liberal theology.
  • While others, earnestly in search of authentic Christianity, have found a home in the Charismatic movement.

At the same time many ideological and structural barriers that previously separated Christians from one another have disappeared in the process. As a result new forms of association are emerging, including the need for Christians to increasingly express and live out the unity which is theirs in Christ.

Vision

In the midst of all this spiritual change and confusion, we believe that there is an increasingly pressing need for contextually relevant, biblically sound evangelical churches in our country. Churches which on the one hand, fervently hold to the biblical doctrines of reformed theology, yet on the other hand are open to intentionally express these Biblical truths in ways that are culturally relevant and impactful; churches where non-believers of all walks of life can encounter Jesus as Lord and where Christians will be equipped for complete discipleship. At the same time we recognize that it will take a movement of church-planting churches to reach and serve our cities by focusing on the multiplication of faith communities that:

  • Are committed to the biblical doctrines of reformed evangelical theology.
  • Faithfully proclaim these truths in ways that are culturally relevant and makes most sense to a particular people group in a particular context.
  • Seek to be part of a movement that has a vision to not only impact Pretoria but Gauteng and South Africa with the gospel.
Without such a church-planting focus, established evangelical churches will ever only be able to reach a limited segment of the city's people. To reach and serve the rich diversity of people that makes up the South Africa we hold in common, there is a pressing need for multiple reformed evangelical churches. For this reason we envision a network of churches that share a common gospel-commitment and Kingdom-vision. Each of the churches in the network will however strive to sufficiently contextualize itself to reach a unique group of people, resulting in a partnership of very distinct churches yet clearly reflecting gospel unity.

Why Church Planting?

We believe that the Church is at the center of God's purpose for this age and God's wisdom will be displayed to the entire universe through the Church, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 3:1-13).

  • As head of his Church Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit calls people out of this world into his kingdom by means of the faithful preaching of his Word. (Acts 2:39, Rom 10:14-15).
  • He gathers believers as a redeemed community into local churches which He sets up as lamp-stands to shine forth the light of the gospel into the world (Rev 1:20, Mat 28:18-20).

The case for church planting is made by Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC):

"The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else - not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes - will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial."

At the same time we recognise that such a vision will require established churches to join hands in facilitating and supporting new church plants and in the process develop a movement of church-planting churches that will impact Gauteng and Southern Africa with the gospel.

In particular this will require established churches to cooperate in the area of recruiting, training and supporting leaders at all levels, but especially church planters: qualified men who are able to establish and lead those churches under God. Such cooperation is vital in view of the manifold constraints inherent to the church planting endeavour.

Why more gospel workers?

The gospel proclaims that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord - He is the promised Saviour-King who is busy establishing his Kingdom.

When Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19), He was fully aware of the need AND the means of getting the job done:

"the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt 9:38).

The most desperate need of our world and our nation is the recruitment, training and deployment of more workers to proclaim the gospel.

Why training in gospel ministry?

The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to pursue ministry training:

"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Tim 2:2).

This forms the foundational basis of TRANS:mission's ministry training programs .

We believe that ministry training is an essential part of obeying the Great Commission.

Jesus' followers can only make disciples of all nations as the apostles' message concerning Jesus ("the things you heard me say in the presence of many witnesses") is entrusted to faithful men, who in turn will pass it on to others.

 

Transmission 1.5.8 on vision