When God moves, He often does so unexpectedly!
During COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown in South Africa last year, I started feeling a stirring in my heart to start a Joshua Generation Church outreach congregation in Gordons Bay, where we lived and ran a small community group as part of the Somerset West congregation. At the same time, I reasoned that it was impossible; Shaun and I aren’t church planters; in fact, we had not even attended any of the church planting courses. We had been part of JoshGen for ten years, leading a community, serving in Junior Youth, leading a men’s group and overseeing on Sunday’s but had never felt the call to plant a church. However, the feeling never left, so I shared it with Shaun, who, in turn, laughed at me. He repeated all the same reasons why we were not able to do it. He was absolutely sure that it was not what God has for us. In the meantime, the community we led grew very fast, with an almost 90% attendance throughout COVID.
“… if it really is God’s will, He would make it happen …”
About a month or two later, we visited good friends in Sunningdale, Lon and Ann-Margaret Whelan. Lon gave Shaun a word about us planting a church/congregation, to which Shaun responded that he was uncertain if the word was from God. He said he would pray about it, but we also had a good giggle because of me feeling the same thing earlier in the year! When we returned home, Shaun said that if it really is God’s will, He would make it happen; we would not have to do anything. And from that day, we never spoke about it again and continued faithfully serving in our local congregation in Somerset West. At the same time, our community grew to over 25 people, and we couldn’t fit in our lounge anymore.
Fast-forward to Thursday the 11th of February this year, when we joined Richard and Imedla Gordon, who lead JoshGen Somerset West, for dinner. Yet again, the topic of planting a congregation in Gordon’s Bay came up. Richard felt that because our community had grown and continued to grow, there was a need to plant something locally. Shaun responded by telling Richard what he had told Lon and me and promised that we would continue to faithfully serve in Somerset West. A lengthy discussion ensued, and we later left knowing God was busy doing something. That was the Thursday; by that following Monday, we had received three prophetic words from people around the world about our next season. By Wednesday, we had told the community with every single person being overjoyed and committed to joining our next God adventure. By the following Thursday, in just seven days and after God’s prophetic leading, we had found our venue. It was clear – we could no longer deny that this was God’s plan for the Gordons Bay area! On the 14th of March, just one month after our discussion with Richard and Imedla, we held our first church service, planting the new congregation with 34 adults with children. Within the first two weeks, we had already had about ten new visitors.
“… as we work towards health, growth will happen organically since healthy things tend to grow.”
As we look back over the past ten years of being in JoshGen, we are wowed by God’s faithfulness and all that He has done in us. Andrew Selley often says, “what you get saved into is far more important than what you get saved out of”, and since day one, we have been completely invested in the vision of being a blueprint (healthy) church. We have been fortunate to sit under the ministry of so many who shared these values, and it has become deeply engrained in our lives. It is from this place that we are passionate about seeing people experience Jesus personally. We know that when people meet Him for themselves, they will never be the same; they will experience peace and love unknown to this world. We also believe that numbers aren’t that important; instead, we trust for every saint’s health; in their marriages, lives and relationship with God. We believe that as we work towards health, growth will happen organically since healthy things tend to grow.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 (ESV).
There is no truer word for us in this season. We can’t believe what God has done and how He has changed our hearts. Right in the beginning, Shaun said that if God wanted us to plant, He would make everything happen. That is exactly what He did! We are so encouraged by God’s faithfulness.
Come join us this Sunday at 87 Beach Road, Gordons Bay and see what God is doing. We know this is only the beginning.