SUNDAY SERVICE @ 9:30amWE ARE GOD’S REDEEMED FAMILY OF SERVANTS ON MISSION
6 November, 2017
Dear CCF family,
In January, 2007 a group of 25 people planted Christ Church Fourways at the Fourways Memorial Park. The nature of our church family changed within the first few months when a young lady by the name of Ropa visited us from Msawawa, an informal settlement down the road from us and started inviting friends to church. From then on our church has always been a family of people from very different backgrounds and it has been a special privilege to see how God can bring very different people together through Christ.
Over the last 11 years a God has done things through our church that only God could do.
There have been people who will tell you that for the first time they heard, understood and believed that God saves us by grace, through faith in Christ – so God has used our church to save people for eternity.
There are others among our kids, teens and adults who will tell you how slowly but sure God has been at work changing them as they have consistently listened to his word week after week, year after year – so God has used our church to be change lives.
God has used our church to help his people to stay faithful, to keep trusting in Christ, to keep living for him even when it was hard, even when they felt like giving up.
God has used our church to save marriages and to help people through tough times.
There have been literally hundreds of acts of kindness that go largely unannounced as people have simply loved each other as family.
And then there are the ways that God has worked through our church that we don’t even know about yet – we will only see it all when we get to heaven.
So for 11 years God has used us for his glory – and that is really why we exist, why he brought our church into existence.
But the sad news is that we seem to have come to a point where our church is unable to keep going as we are.
I have had an opportunity to speak to many of you about this already, but unfortunately I couldn’t get to all of you. So this is going to come as a shock to some, I’m sure. There are some of you who have also only started coming to our church in the last few weeks and months and so it will come as a shock to you as well. But it is very important that we start to talk about this as a church so that we can walk our way through it together and in a helpful and constructive way.
Even though many good things have happened, one of the realities of our church is that we have not grown as we needed to grow. We could spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the reasons why; the leadership and I have certainly done that over the last few months. There have been some decisions we made that, looking back, were maybe not the best even though they seemed right at the time. There have been some factors and dynamics that have impacted our church that we maybe didn’t fully understand. We have tried things, some have worked, but others have not. There have been some things that we haven’t tried that maybe we should have. There are some things that we should have done better. In the end it is actually quite difficult to figure out exactly why we haven’t grown and I am not sure we can figure it out.
The reality is that we find ourselves in a situation where 11 years down the road we have not really moved beyond being a church plant.
Even though a number of new people have joined us over the years and got stuck in, to a large degree we are still relying quite heavily on the same group of people who started the church. The problem with that is that we have run out of resources to keep going.
Just one of those resources is finances. As a church we don’t get any financial assistance from the outside, we pay all our own expenses, and one of the realities of not growing as we needed to is that we simply don’t have the finances to keep going. There is a big gap between our monthly income and our monthly expenses and it has been like that for a number of years now. We have managed to cover that gap with some reserves, but the gap has increased dramatically over the last two years and our reserves will run out at the end of this year. As the leadership we feel it is irresponsible to keep going in a way that is not financially sustainable.
But it is not just finances. Many who have spent years pouring energy and time into our church are feeling very tired. As the leadership we sense that many are worn out and weary and we are struggling to find creative ways to revive growth.
Therefore, after a lot of thinking, talking, struggling, praying – a lot of sleepless nights and heartache we have realised that Christ Church Fourway’s cannot sustain itself beyond the end of this year.
Not all the news is bad, however.
The one thing that has certainly kept me awake the most the last month or two is the people who make up our church. I have kept asking, “But what do we do for the people who are a part of CCF? Where do they go to find a new church family?” That is certainly a very important part of the road we have to walk together over the next few weeks.
I also realise that some of you will find your own way to a new church. But God has his amazing way of bringing good things out of these kinds of situations and I believe he is doing that for us as well. We have a sister church that was planted about 3 years ago just down the road in Bryanston. The church is called C4 and the pastor there is Farai Mbirimbi. Some of you have actually visited them with me. I have had some really good conversations with Farai recently and we are both very excited about what can come out of the closure of CCF.
C4 has grown steadily since they started, especially among young black professionals. In terms of size they are very similar to CCF – around 80 adults and 20 or 30 children, and they are just starting to get some teens as well. As Farai and I have spoken we realised that there is a really great opportunity for us to combine our efforts to help build a vibrant church that can reach this part of Joburg more effectively.
So the good news is that we have a church family close by that we can move to as a group. We can join C4 and become a part of what they are doing – which is the same as what we have always wanted to do – and that is reach people with the gospel. C4 is part of our denomination and so they believe what we believe and work very much the way we do. Even though it means getting to know new people it will very soon feel like home for us.
I would be part of the church as a church member and not on the staff team because they wouldn’t have the finances to pay two full time pastors, but I will certainly be there to support Farai in any way I can. All of us can do that – we can all find ways to serve and to continue playing a part in God’s mission.
I will still be working in gospel ministry but in a different capacity and you are welcome to ask me about it.
The important thing is that I want to encourage all of you to come and check C4 out with me. Of course, no one must feel like they have to make that their church home, but I think it is a great way forward for us as a group. As it turns out we have an opportunity to go and visit C4 in two weeks’ time. 19 November is the 94.7 cycle race and it starts and finishes at the Riversands Incubation Hub, so we can’t have a service there. I want to encourage you all to join me at the service at C4 which starts at 9:30. The Address is The Junior College, 6 Hobart Road, Bryanston. The folk at C4 are very excited about our us coming. You can also find out more about the church at: http://www.c4online.co.za.
I am also very aware that there are members of our church family who rely on transport to get to church on Sunday mornings. I want to assure you that we will not forget you. We will continue to transport you to church – we want everyone to have the opportunity to come along.
I am also aware that there are some of you who have just recently started coming to our church from Riverside View. We really want you to be able to come with us as well. I would love to meet with you to talk about how we can help to make that possible.
There is more we can talk about and we will do that over the next few weeks, but please know that I am always available if you have any questions or concerns. We want to help everyone work through what this means for them and so please get hold of me when you need to. You can also speak to the other leaders: Andrew Borreson, Blessing Mandimutsiri, Dave Austen, Paul Hendey, Graham Anderson, Denvor Phokaners and Joe Spring.
Please pray with me over the next few weeks that we can make this big change smoothly and that everyone is cared for. Pray also that God, in his wisdom, helps us build something better and stronger, for his glory.
Family ServiceWe all start together, because we believe it is important for families to spend time worshiping together. The teens and children then go to age-appropriate classes, and the adults remain for the sermon.
TeensOur goal is to equip young people to know what it means to be part of a church family when they are adults. So we don’t have a separate “Teen church”. They do spend time on Sunday mornings talking about issues unique to their lives, listening carefully to what the bible says, but our teens are regularly part of the main service.
ExplorersWe have a team of dedicated Sunday School teachers to teach the bible in age appropriate and fun ways. There are classes for pre-schoolers and for primary school-goers (Grades 1-7).
TotsWe have a nursery next to the main hall where you can stay with your child and listen to the sermon. There is also the option to drop your child off, and return to the main service.
Some recent pics from our Instagram feed
8 - 10 Sep
If you are in Grd 1-7 then you wont want to miss out on the camp. Please contact us if you are interested. If the cost is an issue, please let us known and we will gladly assist you where possible The camp will take place in Magaliesburg.
8 – 10 September, R550 p.p.