Those congregations around the globe who have undergone transformation to an inclusive congregation, accommodating diverse cultures, have learned to take risks for the sa-ke of the gospel. In fact, being different – for Christ’s sake – constitutes a public witness.
As an example, I can quote the East brook congregation in the United States. This congregation moved their worship site into a neighbourhood plagued by drug abuse and burglaries. And they took it for granted that their worship building would most probably be broken into – and that equipment would then have to be replaced at a cost. That was the bold risk they were prepared to take! Risk taking is generally an uncomfortable experience, because it implies moving out of one’s comfort zone.
We – as a group – have also asked ourselves, where did our Bellville congregation take risks in the recent past and where should we take risks in future?
We identified two primary risks which our congregation had taken not so long ago:
- That we instituted regular contemporary English services each Sunday at 09:00. To some extent this endangered the existing liturgical German and Afrikaans services – thereby possibly alienating some congregants. This was and is a risk.
- Based on our financial resources which are somewhat strained, we appointed a new pastor and also invested in a new parsonage. All this, places an extra burden on the congregation. However, we took that risk – based on trust that our Lord will provide and see us through.
In looking forward, the question naturally arises as to what risks we – as congregants and as a congregation should take – for the sake of the gospel?
We invite you all to meditate and pray about this. You are also welcome to share your ideas with us or perhaps even join the Mission-Vision Group.