Jinx Reyneke describes church growth in Mozambique and a better way forward.
Six years. Eleven churches planted in the 115 km stretch along the road between Dombe and Espungabera. Awesome! But mentoring the leaders and potential leadership takes time and the investment of people in the lives of Mozambicans. Jinx and Dawn Reyneke have been trying to do the discipleship but admit, “We were falling short of doing a good job”. They describe the process of this amazing church growth, and AIM’s plans to establish a Mossurize Ndau team.
Soon after arriving in 2002, we decided that the best way forward was to invest teaching of the truth into the lives of local believers. Easier said than done. There were a few people who had been led to the Lord, but not been adequately mentored. These few people for the most part were on their own in a very new faith. We met with them and encouraged them and soon they wanted to be taught. We would go with some of them every weekend to a different area and stay for the Friday through Sunday teaching using Building On Firm Foundations materials. But as we returned to the same place every 6-8 weeks, new people came along. We needed to re-cap and it was hard to make progress.
However, during this time of driving all over many people began to hear the Gospel of Christ and the truth taught without “strings or price” attached. And God began to bring in the ripe harvest. People were and are still so very hungry for the Word of God. We spent a lot of time travelling, and needed to come up with a more cost effective solution. By this time 4 Churches had been planted with Igreja de Cristo Unida (American Board) denomination and growing quite rapidly.
We then decided to begin a small informal Bible school and invited the leaders to participate for one week each month. Leaders came bringing maize meal and some beans to contribute to the weeks’ living expenses. They returned to their home areas and taught what they had learnt. What a blessed time! Seeing these men and woman grow and question and to see their minds and hearts light up with truth and to see their lives being transformed, what a privilege! In January 2006 Pastor Alberto came to join us in Espungabera. He helped train the leaders of the other churches. I taught Bible and Pr. Alberto church doctrine and relevant African or Mozambican issues. Pastor Domingos arrived in January 2009 to take over from Pastor Alberto who was transferred out to Maputo.
Our goal has been to make this ministry local, repeatable and Mozambican. Dawn and I with the leaders, who by this point were so on fire to spread the Gospel of Truth to their friends and to surrounding area, decided that the local leaders would be the people through who we would continue to plant Churches. We combined our efforts with regular outreach groups and began to see God plant a further 7 Churches. Praise God! He was leading us to the harvest.
We were thrilled to see the level of maturity grow and the number of converts grew. We somehow felt overwhelmed at the task before us and felt particularly small in the grand scheme of God’s plan. This however brought us to a point where we began to review what and how we were doing things. Dawn and I were just not coping. Jinx was forever out, coming home basically to get a clean change of clothing, touch base and off again. We realized that we were not doing a very good job at discipleship of the leaders. We mourned the lack of vision in the church for reaching children and youth. The population of this same area has a very high HIV/AIDS prevalence. Those tested at the hospital are almost always positive. There is no real data on how bad the situation is, but hospital personnel and the Catholic sisters working in Espungabera have reached the point of simply considering everybody to be positive.
We had to change our plan. We prayed and asked others to partner in prayer as to the way forward. AIM Mozambique recognized that we needed to do things better. Out of this came a plan for discipleship. A team ministry.
The general strategy is two-fold, both geographically and denominationally. On the one hand, we would like to develop a medical and interdenominational ministry in Espungabera town. We are looking for a career missionary in the medical profession to be placed at the hospital, and a missionary placed as a youth worker and through these ministries reach others with the Gospel and mentor them towards maturity in the faith.
The other part of the strategy is to have other missionaries mentor church leaders in Macumba and Chitsama. Practical or professional skills such as teaching, nursing, midwifery, agriculture, etc, while not essential or required, would help these missionaries to be accepted much quicker into the community and would give them easy access to the people and their leaders.
Dawn and I as the leaders of the Mossurize Ndau Team, envision weekly team meetings in Espungabera and visits to Macumba and Chitsama in alternate weeks. Thus member care can happen and the needs and concerns of the new personnel can be dealt with regularly. The monthly Bible school teaching will provide further interaction for the missionary team.
AIM has openings for people to join us in Mossurize district central rural Mozambique to effectively disciple the church leaders and potential leaders. This however is going to need a few houses to be built and preparations to be made. We invite you to ‘join the team’!
Needed: Discipler, member of Mossurize team, Chitsama, Mozambique
Discipling church leaders and believers will lead to a mature church, whose members will be able to disciple others and reach out to the unreached of the area.
1. Discipleship of existing church leaders
2. Bible teaching
3. Help church leaders to identify and mentor future church leaders
People group to be reached: Ndau of Mossurize district
Desired qualifications: Practical or professional skills such as teaching, nursing, midwifery, agricultural, etc, while not essential or required, would help these people to be accepted much quicker into the community and would give them easy access to the people and their leaders.
Required experience: Experience in Mentoring/discipling others.
Pre-posting language required: English
Ministry language to learn after arrival: Cindau
Non-academic characteristics: A willingness to work in a multi-cultural team setting toward common goals; an acceptance of team leadership for ministry and related personal issues; flexibility to live in a simple house in a rural setting.
This team also needs a doctor, youth worker and other disciplers. As with all AIMs openings, these are non-salaried positions.