For the past week Kobus Odendaal, manager of Witness Ministry, visited three of our four young URCSA ministers who have been ordained in congregations (in the former Transkei) since 2018. And what a privilege it was to visit Wiseman Calvary at Mthatha, Zukile Bloro at Lusiksiki and Thembinkosi Mene at Rietvlei.
They were also part of the final year theological students of Stellenbosch University who visited Witness Ministry in 2017. The aim of that visit was to meet us and to be introduced to Witness Ministry’s different task teams in order to understand how we can support them in their ministries.
Kobus could also visit Christo Wooding, who will retire next year and has been ministering in Kokstad for many years. He also means a lot to the young ministers in terms of letting them feel welcome, and his much appreciated guidance.
About 50% of our URCSA Cape Region Synod’s congregations must function without a minister; a huge challenge for any congregation. Of the 106 congregations in the Eastern Cape, 76 are without a pastor; more than 70%! If it wasn’t for the congregations that have combined, the total was even more so.
In light of this challenge the joint URCSA and DRC ministry group, Witness Ministry, has since 2018 along with the other URCSA ministries, began to support congregations in order to call proponents of whom these above-mentioned three were some of them.
During our conversations challenges like leadership training, a lack of youth involvement in church activities, and how to make a difference in your community were highlighted. The importance of developing and maintaining good relationships was also discussed and the importance of Rev. Pedro’s workshops about vacant congregations and Contextual Bible Reading.
May God bless these young ministers and the older church leaders who must guide them in this mammoth task.