Om te fokus op wat God nou doen!

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Gestuurdheid

Leiers wat kan fokus op wat God nou doen: die uitdaging van ver-antwoord-elike leierskap

‘n Week gelede het ek een van die mees merkwaardige aande saam met gemeenteleiers beleef. In kort: die proses nou al byna 18 maande aan die gang, die leiers het met toewyding gewerk in die proses maar die vordering was min, meestal omdat hulle onderling goed moes uitsorteer.

Toe ek daar aankom is ek vriendelik ontvang, maar daar was nie groot enoesiasme en energie nie. Soos altyd het sommige gewaarsku dat die proses nou iets sal moet produseer, dit gaan nou eenvoudig te lank aan sonder enige resultate, natuurlik met so ‘n skewe kyk na my as fasiliteerder.

Ons begin die naweek met die vraag:  Wat het God gedoen sedert ons laas bymekaar was? In die gesprek  begin die gemoed van die groep te swaai – na 20min in die gesprek sê iemand – die swaai het met ons gebeur, ons het dit net nie opgemerk nie! Die res van die naweek het ons binne hierdie bewussyn deurgebring – God is besig met ons en ons het probeer reageer – of antwoord op wat Hy aan die doen is. Ek het hieroor in Luisterryke vergaderings (BM 2007) iets geskryf en ek het weer gaan kyk of dit na verlede naweek nog sin maak – wel, so ietwat, behalwe dat ek nou nie net teoreties daaror skryf nie maar vanuit my ervaring met hierdie groep leiers.

Om te fokus op wat God nou doen begin by wat H Richard Niebuhr noem ‘n ver-antwoord-delike lewe. Hy onderskei tussen 1) gehoorsaam te wees aan wette, 2) ‘n doelgerigte lewe en 3) ‘n verantwoordelike lewe in The Responsible Self, pp47-68. Ek som dit kortliks op:

  • Vir baie gemeenteleiers is leierskap die nakom van wette of reëls, want hulle wil graag hê die gemeente moet gehoorsaam wees aan die Here se wil.  Op die oog af klink dit reg, maar as ‘n mens mooi daaroor nadink is daar baie verkeerd met so ‘n benadering. Die gevaar is dat die reëls of wette God se lewende teenwoordigheid vervang.  Wanneer reëls die vertrekpunt is, word ons rigied en meganies- mooi woorde vir geestelik lui- en het dit tot gevolg dat ons nie fokus op wat God nou aan die doen is nie. Ek onthou dat ek jare gelede met Ferdinand Deist ‘n gesprek gehad het oor Jeremia- ek wou ‘n pinkster daaroor hou. Sy samevatting oor Jeremia was min of meer: As jy met die lewende God wil saamleef is jy in vir groot verassings. Reels hou nie van verassings nie.
  • ‘n Meer gewilde motief die afgelope aantal dekades is om doelgerig te wees. Met die vertrekpunt werk dit meestal so: Ons bepaal wat God se doel is, en poog dan om so effektief as moontlik hierdie doel van God na te strewe. die veronderstelling is dat ons mos weet dat Hy het ‘n plan het(Jer 29:11 of Lukas 10:1) en dat ons hierdie plan van Hom so suksesvol en effektief as moontlik moet uitvoer. Hierdie soort denke pas netjies in by hoe ons besighede bestuur en die algemene lewensgevoel van mense wat sukses en doelgerigtheid aanhang as die ideaal in die lewe. Ons is dan geneig om al die klem te laat val op die aktiwiteit en besigheid van die gemeente en kan in die proses met baie goeie bedoelings voeling met God verloor. Die doel word dan Gód in die gemeente! Die probleem hiermee is dat ons soos die dissipels en die eerste gemeentes nie so maklik ‘n greep ontwikkel op God se plan nie, en baie maklik ons planne met dié van God kan verwar. Hierdie is byna ‘n naïewe positiewe ingesteldheid op die lewe wat so maklik vir die versoeking van, groter is beter, kan val.
  • Niebuhr dink ons moet eerder ‘n lewensstyl van ver-antwoord-elikheid navolg as leiers in die gemeente. Ons lewe is ‘n antwoord op God se aksie. Ons wag op Hom en ontvang dan van Hom as die bron van liefde en genade koers en rigting vir die pad vorentoe.  Die eerste vraag is daarom nie wat ons moet doen nie, maar wat God doen en dán, hoe kan ons daarop antwoord.
Matteus 6:33: “Gee jou volle aandag aan wat God nou besig is om te doen …” (Vertaling van The Message).

Nou dit is hierdie 3de benadering wat ons Vrydag-aand be-oefen het- en ons gehelp het om te verstaan, God het die swaai reeds gebring, ons moet dit net ontvang uit sy hand en met ons lewens daarom antwoord.  Ek dink die hoe hiervan werk min of meer so:

Hoe ons fokus op wat God nou doen?

1.      Leiers wat fokus op  die  moontlikhede, die kairos, wat God in ons tyd saam vir ons oopgemaak het. Die klem behoort hier te val op die nóú – in hiérdie konteks.  Ek onthou ‘n gesprek so tien jaar gelede waar ‘n kollega gevra het ons moet almal nadink oor die rol wat ons speel om versoening in die dorp te bevorder. ‘n Uur later was ons nog steeds besig om te definieer wat ons presies onder versoening verstaan-sic! Daar is tye wat die Here vir ons ‘n geleentheid oopbreek, waar ons eenvoudig moet reageer met ver-antwoord-elike lewens wat bereid dis om die geleentheid wat God nou vir ons gee te benut. Tye waarin ons gehoorsaamheid van ons vra om risiko’s te loop sonder dat ons enige waarborge het. Ek sou se dit is die ingesteldheid van mense wat verwag dat die Gees ons elke dag lei. Omdat die Gees deur die Woord lei- is my ervaring dat ons hierdie kairos-oomblikke beter raaksien as ons Wandel in die Woord.

2.      Leiers wat  bewus is van die bewegings van die Gees

Daar is twee bewegings van die gees: na God toe en weg van God af. Altwee bewegings kan deur God gebruik word. In bewegings na God toe, wees bly en dankbaar, doen langtermyn beplanning en begin nuwe bedieninge as God jou in daardie rigting roep.

John Ackerman

Die verhaal van Jona help ons om te verstaan wat met “bewegings nader aan God en verder van God af” bedoel word. Die wonder van Jona se verhaal is dat God met Jona besig was terwyl hy weggevlug het van die roeping van die Here én toe hy gehoorsaam was daarin om die oordeelsboodskap aan Ninevé oor te dra.  Die Here het as’t ware sy ongehoorsaamheid ingesluit in sy plan om Jona uiteindelik in Ninevé te kry. En in terme van die Luister seisone en luistersiklus (stasie 5), is dit interessant om te let daarop dat dit die “buitestaanders” op die skip was, wat hom gehelp het om God se stem weer te hoor (Jona 1:8 vv).

Dis daarom baie belangrik dat ons die storie van ons konteks getrou en vertel en diep luister na mekaar. Só begin die prentjie duideliker word van wat God besig is om te doen met ons lewens, en kan ons met groter ywer daarmee  saamwerk.

n bewegings wat ons ervaar “weg van God af” is, moet ons nie moedeloos word nie, maar onthou, God is besig om dinge te verander. Daar is tye wat ons dapper genoeg sal moet wees om te sê dat die Here ‘n nuwe weg met ons wil inslaan en dat ons nie te gou met aksiebeplanning kan voortgaan nie, omdat ons doodgewoon nie weet nie en eers weer en weer wil luister. Byna soos mense wat eers ‘n nuwe taal moet aanleer, moet ons aangaan met die proses van luister. Soos wat die Gees Christus eers in die woestyn gestuur het, mag ‘n ver-antwoord-elike lewe soms wees om eers ‘n “sabbat” of ‘n tyd van rus en besinning aan te kondig.

Dit vra ‘n profetiese ingesteldheid om te erken dat die Here ‘n nuwe koers met ons wil inslaan. Dit is hoekom dit so belangrik is om te fokus op wat God nou doen. Nie alles wat ons in die naam van die Here doen is sy wil nie.  Nie elke keer wat ons bymekaar om die wil van die Here te onderskei ontstaan daar ‘n nuwe insig nie. Daar is kere wat die Gees ons terughou van aksie, wat ons moet wag, wat ons moet omdraai, wat ons ons foute moet erken. Dit is vir ons met ‘n westerse ingesteldheid wat onmiddellike resultate soek, baie moeilik om halt te roep en te wag op die Here.

3.      Leiers wat leer om te fokus.

Dit is bekend dat gemeentes ly aan wat in die organisasie-teorie bekend staan aan “mission drift”.  Daar is soveel goeie dinge om te doen dat ons energie versprei word tussen ‘n duisend en een dinge. Dit maak ons te besig en op die ou end moeg.  “Mission drift” is dodelik, want as ‘n gemeente daaraan lei verloor sy haar passie om net een Here te dien. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” My ervaring is- en dit is die naweek bevestig- wanneer ons fokus op wat God nou doen en dan daarop reageer word dinge helder en kom die fokus. Nie die soort fokus wat gebore is uit strategiese beplanning of die kompromie van ‘n kommissie nie, nee die fokus van die eenvoud van die evangelie.

Koeltebome vir God se genade

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Gemeentes

Hierdie  kursus help gemeenteleiers om die verskillende spiritualiteitstyle  in hul gemeentes te verstaan en leierskap te gee ten opsigte van uitlewing van die verskillende behoeftes in die gemeente. Volledige handleidings is ontwikkel wat video’s insluit om gemeenteleiers te bemagtig om die kursus maklik self in die gemeente te kan aanbied. Baie gemeentes wat die kursus al gedoen het in hulle gemeente is van oordeel dat dit gehelp het om diversiteit in die gemeente makliker te aanvaar en uit te leef. Eredienswerkgroepe vind ook baie baat hierby.
Kontak vir Joanie Batt by 021-808 3382 of e-pos: jcab@sun.ac.za vir meer besonder hede

Leer my…

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Transformasie

<div class=”info”>Ons was in ‘n kursus-situasie.  Ons stoei oor ‘n ding met mekaar, en ek vra een van die predikante wat sy gedagte is oor die saak.  Hy bly ongemaklik lank stil en se toe: Ek het nie ‘n idee nie Frederick, en toe maak hy die sin klaar met, weet jy waar ek kan leer om dit te doen! Dit is soos ‘n granaat met ‘n “delay” meganisme, eers die volgende dag op die vliegtuig gaan dit af in my kop- dit is die eerste keer wat ek ‘n predikant hoor vra, weet jy waar ek kan leer om dit te doen ek weet nie hoe nie! en toe skielik hoor ek dit oral rondom my, predikante en leiers in gemeentes wat openlik begin raak oor hulle onvermoe en vir mekaar begin vra leer my. Jare terug het ‘n vriend ons geleer dat intelegensie nie gemeet word aan hoeveel jy weet nie, maar wat jy doen as jy nie weet nie! </div>

 

Dit was nie so lank terug dat ons eerder sou sterf as om te erken ons weet nie. Kursusse, om nie te praat van vergaderings nie, was slagvelde van alwetende predikante en gemeenteleiers wat mekaar probeer uitoorle het oor hulle gewaande kennis en in die proses hulle onkunde met vrymoedigheid verkondig het.  Ons was in verdedigings linies teen mekaar opgestel, en nou begin dit plek maak vir ‘n leerbare gees.  Begin die Luisterseisoen so sonder dat ons dit agterkom inpak te maak? of is dit ‘n geval van die Gees wat besig is om ‘n nuwe gemeenskap van gebroke en daarom leerbare mense te skep in gemeentes en kerkstrukture wat ons nooit gedink het ‘n veilige plek sou kon word waar ons mekaar kan leer nie.

ekspert51.bmp John Ackermann het in sy wonderlike boek  Listening to God, verduidelik dat leerbaarheid net kan kom as die leiers bereid is om hulle ekspert-posisie prys te gee en self ‘n posisie van leerbaarheid in te neem. As leiers konstant voorgee dat hulle weet, maak dit van die luisteraars passiewe ontvangers van die insigte van die ekspert. As dieselfde leiers begin eerlik raak, en saam beign soek na die antwoorde, word die passiewe luisterraars, mede-leerders.’n Aantal jare gelede fasiliteer ek ‘n gesprek in ‘n gemeente wat vasgeloop is, maar tog begin om saam te worstel.  ek being die gesprek deur te vra wat hulle gemotiveer het om met ‘n proses te begin. ‘n Gemeenteleier vir wie ek tot vandag toe nog baie respek het antwoord oombliklik:  Ons sit al lank vasgedraai, maar maak asof ons weet, maar laas maand het een van ons dominees vir die eerste keer aan die einde van die vergadering, terloops gese: Nou het ek ook nie meer ‘n antwoord nie. Toe het ek geweet, nou gaan dinge begin regkom.  Dieselfde dominee was verbaas en vertel hoe ontsteld hy by die huis gekom het en ‘n mislukking gevoel het, onwetend dat hy ‘n proses van leerbaarheid ingelui het. Dit is soos ‘n berg wat van ‘n mens se skouers afval as jy as leier afstand doen van die gewaande ekspert posisie en saam met leiers ‘n pad te begin stap, saam opsoek na die waarheid wat nie een van ons besit nie maar ontvang as gawe van die gemeenskap van die gelowiges.Gemeenskap van leerders

Van Calyn word daar mos gese dat hy na sy bekering verwys het as dit dag waarop die Here vir hom ‘n leerbare gees gegee het. Ek dink dit is besig om met ons te gebeur, ons maag maar waag om ons onkunde en veel meer met mekaar eerlik te deel. Dit gaan vra dat ons as leraars letterlik van ons troontjies sal moet afklim, ophou dominees wees en leerlinge word. Dit sal ook van gemeenteleiers afhang om die leraars toe te laat om langs hulle te kom staan en saam met hulle te leer.  Ek sien dit al hoe meer gebeur, ek hoor al hoe meer dat mense vir mekaar vra: Leer my…

NS As jy dit die eerste keer doen en die gemeente is ontsteld, moenie (terug)skrik nie- ons het hulle darem vir jare geleer om stil te bly en ons “waarheid” stilswyend te sluk. Hou op om jou antwoorde te gee wat jy weet lankal nie meer werk nie. Hou aan om eerlik saam te soek en jy sal eenvoudig verbaas wees oor die kreatiewe energie wat onder die leiers loskom. As ons ophou om eksperts te wees, sal die leerders opdaag!

Mission in African Cultures ( MiAC)

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Gemeentes

Mission in African Cultures (MiAC)


Lusaka Justo Mwale Theological Seminary


August 2009


Africa needs to be defined- it is not homogenous at all. Since my experience is mainly from Southern Africa my comments should be read as from Southern Africa perspective or to be more specific South African.  Mission in African cultures should take in account the diversity of African cultures and the wisdom that can come out a group with such divers contexts and cultures.


Last year at the regional meeting in Stellenbosch the following challenges has been distinguished. I will site them but take the liberty to make some comments.



An African definition of Missional Theology should start with the questions/challenges from the African context and history- including the history of the missionary movements and colonization. Newbigin’s questions are important but should be enriched by questions from the African context and history.  Africa is asking questions that other contexts in the project dare not ask and the other way round.


It seems that we have excellent agreement on the level of methodology. In terms of philosophy we have different  (hi)stories.  This should not be an obstacle but an opportunity for us from Africa to tell our own story, in terms of the philosophical, theological and cultural development.


 



  • Ecclesial trap: The growth of the church in Africa could easily temp us to transform the missional vision of Newbigin and Bosch in an ecclesial growth strategy. We should be aware of our default as a church to be self-referential and self-interest rather than be vulnerable or self-less. (Michael Welker) Mission in African Cultures should be understood in a discerning style of theology that un-ashamingly starts with questions about the Triune God’s mission to the world. Bosch: Mission is not the task of the church but an attribute of God. We therefore needs to start with God every

  • We need to learn to cross boundaries – resent events in Southern Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa etc. around election results, xenophobia, including the Chinese “invasion” and political drama. Practically it means that we as the church need to learn how to follow the Holy Spirit in crossing the boundaries of culture, ethnic groups- the challenge of tribalism, nations, denominations-the ecumenical challenge  We need to understand how to create trust through hospitality.

  • Mission in African Cultures should be understood as a public witness.  It seems to us that the African church  still have a place in public discourse and that we should use and strengthen our witness as a public witness in vulnerability. 

  • Mission to African cultures should address the issues of HIV/Aids. This includes issues of gender, family, patriarchy, and people at risk- women and children.

  • Missional theology in Africa should connect with faith communities living in poverty.  Our hunch is that faith communities living in poverty can teach us a different vision on missional theology.

  • We need to design the research discerning process around the question: “How do we hear one another?”- not only across boundaries but also to faith communities in different local contexts. It should be doable and affordable given the resources available in Africa.

  • This project should enhance new Missional Leadership.  The question of theological training. Does our schools train en equip missional leaders or ministers to maintain the church? Have we neglect the question of missional training?  This is a question that have been with us for more than 20 years. Why can’t we change this. The struggle to be local and global and to keep up with developments internationally.

  • Reflection on the impact of modernity and globalization on Africa

  • Inculturation is an important part or avenue to an African missional thinking and the dominance of western culture imposed on African cultures. Should it not be the re-constructing of an African Theology? The issue of Inculturation is not past- we will always be busy with the issue of culture and gospel, but there are many voices that ask if we should not focus on constructing an African Theology that take in account the public issues of Africa.

Mission in Western Culture

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Gemeentes

Mission in Western Culture project 


Vision



Allelon’s vision is to cultivate a multi-generational movement of missional leaders to engage questions of mission in Western culture into the future.
The International Network on Mission in Western Culture project is part of an extensive range of initiatives of Allelon as part of this overarching vision.
The Project is shaped against the background of the inspiration and influence of Lesslie Newbigin. While Newbigin’s legacy has been significant the last decade suggests that much of the work he initiated around the question of mission in western culture has not yet translate into a sustained movement of mission-shaped local churches.
In the summer of 2006, some 25 international practitioners, missiologists and researchers gathered in McCall, Idaho to explore the possibility of forming an INMWC. People sensed a deep continuity with the missional conversations initiated by the various Newbigin movements that have shaped the past twenty-five years. At the same time, they felt a call to a new chapter in which the local church was a primary partner.
 
 The Project



Allelon is sponsoring the INMWC as a multi-year project (September 2006 – December 2012) to address the question of mission in Western culture from the perspective of the local church and its context, and the implications for leadership development.
The goal of the project is to develop frameworks, practices and resources that address the question of a missional engagement in contemporary, western culture through a mutually critical partnership with local churches in selected countries. These countries are: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
As the project seeks to engage particular local churches, the focus will be on the actual, lived narratives shaping the people of these churches and their contexts in late modernity, in dialogue with Scripture and in engagement with the missional challenges of their contexts.



 


Background to the Project and the Payette Lake Consultation



Lesslie Newbigin, arguably the most influential missiologist of the 20th century, in his 1986 book, Foolishness to the Greeks asked this question: What would be involved in a missionary encounter between the gospel and this whole way of perceiving, thinking, and living that we call ?modern Western culture? This question and Newbigin?s challenge to Western Christians resulted in the creation of groups and conversations around the world seeking to address this critical issue of mission to modern Western culture(s).



At the beginning of a new millennium the modern West faces even greater transformation than it did twenty years ago when Newbigin wrote these words. During that time a generation of leaders and missiologists grew up within the framework of Newbigin?s agenda. We are aware that a younger generation is emerging into leadership while the missional question remains a primary challenge for us all. We believe it is appropriate, at this time, to form an international, multi-generational network of missional practitioners and thinkers working in partnership with local churches to re-engage the challenge of mission to modern Western culture(s). Allelon?s goal is to create the relationships that will facilitate and resource such a network.



Over the past year Allelon staff have researched the work of groups in North America, UK and New Zealand which engaged with Newbigin?s question of mission to modern Western culture. In June we invited a small, international group of twenty-six missiologists, theologians and local church practitioners from North America, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to join us for three and half days at Payette Lake, Idaho. Our purpose in meeting was to:



  • Reflect upon the Newbigin legacy in terms of future work.

  • Determine the questions and frameworks that would shape the formation of a multi-generational project investigating the emerging nature of mission to modern Western culture.

  • Sketch the outline for a multi-year project into discerning the key missional engagements with local churches as primary partners and loci of our work.

  • Discern the partners who might join with us in this undertaking.

  • Investigate how Allelon might develop a research, learning and resource center for this project of understanding the nature of mission to modern Western culture.

 

The methodology of the Southern Africa Think Tank for Missional Theology

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Gemeentes

The Methodology of the Southern Africa Think Tank for Missional Theology
Frederick Marais


 


The Allelon Think Tank for Mission in Western Culture Project (MWCP)
Portland
Skamania Lodge
16-18th of July 2007


 




  • Introductory remarks: A context of deep cultural transformation and surprising interest in Missional Theology


We experience in Southern Africa an exciting interest in Missional Theology and the Emerging Church Movement. Since we have started with the SAPMC 4 years ago the interest has grown unexpectedly.  We are not sure what the reason for this energy is, but we except it as a gift from the Spirit and as an opportunity to discern together on what is going on regarding Gods calling and sending of the church in our region.


We life in culture that can be best describe as a “post”-culture. It is well known that we had a real power shift since the mid-nineties when the Apartheid regime handed over power to an ANC government.  Although it is 13years since our first democratic election, the culture has not yet settled yet. The massive transformation that took place is still in process, it is true that the road to tomorrow is under construction. No institution can hide from this, certainly not the churches, the transformation have pushed us all out of our comfort into the pain of transformation.  There is no place to hide.


On a local, national and regional level a re-thinking or re-imagination is taking place. The above might be some of the reasons why missional discernment has received so much attention.




  • Research community: Embody the community we are called to be


Before I give attention to methodology it is important to mention partnerships.  Creating partnerships is in our context of vital importance. It is not easy because we have not solve all the animosity of our troubled past, but we need to learn how to build research communities that is bridge-communities in itself. We do not need armchair academics that critique the church (or any other institution) on its inability to cross divides, but do not intend to do it themselves.  We have learned that it is more important to attend to the question who, as the question, what or where-to.  Although this makes our progress sometimes extremely slow we believe this is the way foreword.  Our region is socially still largely segregated, because of our history of social, political and economical apartheid. We have therefore worked hard on creating partnerships that will cross the historical divides of our past.  We simply cannot afford to draw partners from only one section of our community. We are thankful to report that we have the commitment of theologians, students and congregations from a variety of Theological Schools, denominations and cultural communities.


 


Our Missional Research Community:



  • Congregations participating in the PMC journey. Currently more than 200 congregations from almost all the mainline churches are involved. Listening Teams in all these congregations gather data from interviews. We put these data in a database for other members of our research community to reflect on.

  • 10 students form the M Th in Missional Transformation (US) every year act as field workers in our research community. They are trained in missional theology and research methodology. Their research data also goes into the database. Prof Pat Keifert is one of the lectures of this course.

  • Doctoral students apply to become part of Missional Research Teams to reflect on the gathered data in the database. The first three South African doctoral students has become part of the research community in May 2007.  They will focus their research on Missio Dei as an African concept; leadership in missional congregations and the transformational impact of PMC on congregations. As soon as funding becomes available we hope to bring in students from Zambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

  • The Southern Africa Think Tank for Missional Theology – meet twice a year with the doctoral students to reflect on the outcome of the research. A number of the most important missiologist and congregational scholars has commit themselves to the think tank including: Proff Tias Kgatla (University of the North and Moderator of URCSA); Klippies Kritzinger(Missiologist UNISA- the successor of David Bosch) ; Nelus Niemandt( newly appointment prof in Missiology and Congregational Studies UP); Jurgens Hendriks(congregational studies US and founder coordinator of NETACT); Xolile Simon(Missiologist US) and dr Coenie Burger(Director Buvton Stellenbosch)

  • We hope to strengthen our network in the rest of Sub-Sahara Africa   through proff Kwame Bediago and Andrew Walls(they visit us in March and some of our Think Than members send so time with them)

  • The Allelon Think Tank for Mission in Western Culture Project: dr Frederick Marais and prof Tias Kgatla will represent the Southern Africa Think Tank. We hope to sincronize our methodology with members of the Allelon Think Tank in order to compare the outcome of the research in the diffirent regions. We hope that this protocol will be established at the Portland meeting in July 2007.

 




  •  Research Methodology:



    • Living in a post-culture that is still in flux, means that we have to experiment in our engagement. Our existing methodologies and skills misdirect us in these times of adaptive change( Al Roxburgh, The sky is falling) Almost nothing has settled jet we have to imagine and create as we move along.  We have to do research with, under and against congregations. (Pat Keifert) We are therefore committed to an action-reflection-action-reflection rhythm in our methodology that includes scholars as well as congregations.

    • Our research attitude would be to listen our self into understanding. Listening to the outsiders to the marginalized and the vulnerable people of our new society.  That means that we are committed to a methodology of de-centered listening, or a deliberate abandoning of power. The careful reader will recognize the ubuntu theology in this methodology, you can only be in community with the other, you can only understand when you give away the power to speak and discover yourself in the words and acts of the other. In terms of missional theology this means the deliberate dis-establishment of the Christendom.

    • Remarks on hermeneutics. The struggle against Apartheid has taught us the importance of the hermeneutics of suspicion and critical thinking. We will find it difficult to a position of Ricours first naivetivity or a romantic naivitivity. If we claim that there is no sin in us, we know the truth is not with us. The dramatic turnaround of events in the South African liberation, has taught us that we also need the hermeneutics of surprise or the openness to discover what God is up to. Gods reign breaks into our historic reality and we should be open to that. To receive the new as a gift from God. It is to put the reality of the Missio Dei into practice. We follow Bosch in the understanding that mission is not task of the church but an attribute of God.

    • We are therefore in search for a Missional methodology of discernment

 




  • The focus of our research:



We are not clear about this. The following “wish list” exist amongst us:




    • Study culture-ethnography. All the cultures in our society is under “construction”. We need reflection on what is happening and how the Gospel can be translated (Andrew Walls) into this new culture.  A very interesting study was done by dr Steyn from UCT on the new culture amongst white people in South Africa.

    • The impact of colonialism on the creating of an African christendom.(Andrew Walls)

    • Constructing an African Missional Theology and ecclesiology

    • Public theology- we have some of the best know public theologians in South Africa. Desmond Tutu, Allan Boesak, Beyers Naude, John de Gruchy, Charles Villa Vicentio(Institute for Justice and Reconciliation) to mention a few. On the other hand we experience the impact of the secularization and the creation of the private-public split that is foreign to African thinking. 

    • Non-racial faith communities- In the liberation theology a non-racial community were envisioned. There are signs that this vision has faded!!

    • African understanding of Missio Dei- there are theologians that belief that Missio Dei is very close to the African understanding of God.

    • As we live in the continent with historic levels of growth in the church, the building of leadership capacity if very important to us. Missional understanding of leadership will be vital to us.

    • In search for an African understanding of Missional Theology