Stepping down further

I am about to head off to a Presbytery meeting at St John’s in Pietermaritzburg. This is a regional gathering of our churches which meets every second month. Tonight I will be presenting my last report as the Convener of the Ministry Committee and will ask the Presbytery to appoint a replacement in view of the possibility of my leaving this Presbytery.

In a sense I am quite sad, I have journeyed with several students over the years. Our process requires that prospective students have two years before their studies as part of a Fellowship of Vocation, exploring the Call of God on their lives. During this time I have met with these young men and women on the last Friday afternoon of each month to talk about faith and life and God’s Call.  In some cases the group have had to say to their fellow travellers that God is not calling them to ministry. These have been hard times, but these times have also proved the validity of God’s Call as a truth to be understood and to be obeyed. Sometimes we have had to fight hard against a system which wants to put the Call of God into a straightjacket and which has thus rejected promising candidates. What has been the joy for me, is that I have been the only consistent member of the group for the past 10 years (the others only join for 2 years at a time) but we have found a bond in Christ which has been quite amazing, and which has allowed us to speak into each others lives.

Tonight I will ask the Presbytery to congratulate and pray for my last two students, Mr Innocent Mabaso and Mr Simon Mbanjwa who will proceed to the Ministry Selection Conference next week. Both of these men have, in fact, completed their theological studies already and I have had them placed as “Stated Supply” in two separate congregations and they have proved themselves as Called of God. I am so proud of them and so thankful to God for what He has done in their lives. Both are from disfunctional homes, both are the eldest child who has taken care of the family, both have trusted God in their short lives far more than I have in my whole life.

I just love it when Innocent calls me, he always begins the conversation like this, “Hi Rev, I am Innocent!” Although that’s a direct translation from the Zulu language, it is quite pertinent to his life, in Christ he is innnocent!

I am loving this stepping down from the responsibilities which I have carried for so long. It is giving me, not only a sense of freedom, but also an opportunity to rejoice in the way in which God has used me. “What is man, O Lord, that you are mindful of him?”

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