There is tremendous value whenever a group of church leaders can gather to discuss ministry challenges.
I was reminded of this truth again this week here in South Africa, where our World Vision tour has continued with four Canadian pastors.
Today as we drove through the beautiful countryside of the KwaZulu-Natal province, the question of ministry challenges was raised yet again, and once again similar themes emerged; “Missional” versus “attractional”, weekend service formats, staffing issues, all were discussed with great enthusiasm.
Arriving at the offices of World Vision’s KwaMaphumulo Area Development Project, the conversation was paused as we gathered in a comfortable board room to meet with five pastors from the local area. These pastors, all Zulu speaking, spoke with great passion of their love for God and for the congregations they led. In this sense they were no different than their Canadian counterparts.
But when the conversation turned to “What are your greatest challenges?” well, that’s when things became decidedly more diverse.
One pastor spoke of what we would call “facility challenges”. Their weekly meetings are held under a tree.
Another spoke of what we might call “local social needs”. He described a situation in which two older men in their village were learned to be receiving a monthly government grant. “Now,” the pastor explained, “local girls are prostituting themselves regularly with these men simply to get the money. How can we slow the spread of H.I.V. and A.I.D.’s with all this going on?”
After several such examples of ministry challenges were raised it seemed that each of the Canadian pastors had nothing else to say. How could we respond when the ministry context so far removed from our reality?
But then one of the Zulu pastors spoke up again and said, through his interpreter, “There is tremendous value whenever a group of church leaders can gather to discuss ministry challenges.”
As the meeting ended and smiles and hand-shakes were exchanged, I realized that even though few problems had been solved this day, the fact that they could be discussed was in and of itself of great value to these church leaders.
And I deepened my own resolve to make sure these kinds of forums would continue to be a part of my own leadership journey.
- How have you been able to make these kinds of peer discussions a regular part of your ministry journey?
What benefits have you found from sharing the journey?