Cold, cold, cold…but I told Louise a long time ago that when I complain about the cold winters here she must remind me of the 63.8 degree Celsius weather in Gambella. So, I let her do the complaining and I simply nod in sympathy.

This morning, the preacher used the image of a desert rose as an illustration of the nominal Christian…beautiful to behold, but nothing more than fossilised soil. For those who don’t know what a desert rose is, here is a picture of one.

There could not have been a better confirmation for what we are seeking to do as Growing the Church. The reality of non-productive church goers is something that needs urgent attention. The horror of successfully Christianised nations committing atrocities beyond human nightmares such as the genocides of Rwanda and South Sudan remind us that we simply cannot do church as we have in the past. Something must change.

In our recent application to SAMS-USA for a project to fund a scholarship program to assist those who simply cannot pay for the disciple-making training, we pointed out the fact that numerical growth does not necessarily bring about the type of change one seeks for those being added to the Kingdom. The LEAD program, however, teaches disciple-makers to walk with their disciple(s) through a process from unbelief all the way through to maturity.

Schematically thus:

The LEAD program teaches disciple-makers how to win the lost for Christ…then how to build up the new Christian in their new-found faith…then how to train that person to make disciples themselves. All three of these lead quite naturally to the final phase, that is multiplication. But the important thing is to write the concept of multiplication into the DNA of the new believer right from the start…a far easier thing to do at the beginning than to try to ignite that passion at a later stage.

And now, I must disappoint you all…we did not braai tonight…in fact we did not braai at all today. It was a quiet day in this peaceful country town and we spent it peacefully together with everyone else. We had pancakes (American crepes – well, sort of) and chicken soup and now we are gathered around a lovely warm fire.

Tomorrow…ah…we are so excited…