In September 2021 we said our farewells to our brother in Christ and the Moderator of the Southern African Evangelistic mission, Pastor Tyron Paul.
As his deputy, I soon assumed his responsibilities in leading the mission in this transitional phase. It was imperative to remind out pastors that God is in control and to take encouragement from His Word which speaks life and hope to us when we face periods of uncertainty.
We are not so naïve as to think that Satan isn’t looking to take advantage of us. Until Jesus returns, he will continue his attacks on Christ’s churches. He will do anything he can to sabotage unity, sow dissension, and erode trust. Particularly in difficult seasons, a ministry needs to make “every effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
It takes courage to go through difficult times. But, if there’s one thing I know about our National Executive, is that they are, by God’s grace, a strong and courageous team. While it may not feel like it but God develops grit and endurance in His people through suffering. We get to demonstrate the all- sufficiency of His grace as He bears us up and carries us forward in His strong and loving care.
While the loss is still acute and the wound is still fresh, the promises of God remain precious. While God covered us with a dark cloud in the sudden passing of Pastor Tyron, He has left us a great legacy and God has made us to adore His goodness. As we move forward, Spirit- filled, out-looking churches are what can bring change to this nation “There’s nothing like the local church when the local church is working right – it’s the hope of the world,” says Bill Hybels. I really do agree with Bill, that the Church is the hope of the world. I also agree with him that it can, only if the church is working right.
As an organisation, we are defined by our churches. My own conviction forged through my years of pastoral leadership has been that the Church is God’s plan A for changing the world – and He doesn’t have a plan B. If this is true, then we really must pay attention to the kind of churches we are growing.
Our mission is to bring the love of God and the gospel of Jesus in the power of the Spirit to every person in every place, relentlessly for the rest of our days. Within that short statement are the core values of what we have always been as an organisation. A people relentlessly committed to the great commission of Christ – our founders laid those foundations for us and we are charged with carrying that forward – to grow churches with the aim of winning men and women for Christ and believing for the radical transformation of countless lives across our nation and the world.
The heroic English Bible translator William Tyndale said: “The Church is the one institution that exists for those outside it.” Therefore, if we are to continue to make a meaningful impact upon the landscape of our nation we must be ‘relentless’ in our commitment to evangelism, were birthed from an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on many churches and people at the dawn of the 20th century.
We cannot fulfil the mission of Jesus without a constant thirst for the Spirit and an obedience to His leading and will. In my humble experience, nothing enduring is ever achieved without a people who are hungry for God and willing to be shaped by His Spirit. As a Pentecostal movement, we must not surrender our conviction that it is the Spirit who must guide and empower all we do.
Our churches need to be beacons of hope in our towns and cities, and the place that people find acceptance and meaning for their lives. So many of our churches can share amazing stories of people who have been radically transformed by encountering a church that cared and showed them the love and power of Christ.
The response to the criticism we Face in our culture today, is not to hide away but to shine more brightly. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
We need to be courageous leaders and courageous people who forego the pursuit of our own comforts for the sake of the lost, the hurting, the needy and the broken – these are the people Jesus came into our world for. This relentless pursuit is what will make the difference. This relentless pursuit is what will give hope to our world.
For His Kingdom
Pastor. Steven Frank