by Mvusi Gwam
This is a report on the Christian Leadership Indaba held in Johannesburg from the 22nd to the 24th January 2013. It is not an official report of the gathering but a report back by those delegates attending from NM Bay.
The gathering was well represented comprising of Christian Leaders from the Church, Business and Youth. The focus of the gathering was,
“To bring together key Christian leaders from multiple sectors of South African society to design a long-term process and plan of engagement and visioning for the Church to re-engage with the public sphere and regain its prophetic witness in the nation.”
We were confronted by the reality that there are many Christian gatherings that were held in the recent past, for example, SACLA and NIRSA but the Church did not act upon the resolutions that were made. Therefore we were confronted with the question, “Why does the Church not work together to follow through its own resolutions?”
1. The Causes of the Weakness of Church’s Witness:
Amongst many factors the following were identified as the major causes of the weakness of the church’s witness.
Challenges facing the Church
1.1. The Church is divided because of different Church vs State relationships; disconnection with communities; marginalization of less resourced churches; empire building as opposed to Kingdom focus and theological diversity.
1.2. The leadership is not dealing with the growing secular sacred divide – marketplace issues; leaders lacking vision & understanding on how to deal with everyday community issues and ineffective communication.
2. Focus Area or main Issues
We further noted that the church can neither have boardroom unity nor put the achievement of unity as a prerequisite before action. Therefore we resolved that our unity must be developed through joint programs that address Social Injustice issues at grassroots level. This is further stressed by an acknowledgement that a prophetic voice is derived from God’s reaction to community issues. Amongst many issues that were identified the following were prioritised:
2.1. The Education crisis
2.2. The Health crisis
2.3. Systemic Poverty (Corruption)
2.4. Economic Injustice
2.4.1. The widening gap between the rich and the poor,
2.4.2. Move away from moral/ethical standards across the board
2.4.3. The labour unrest
2.5. The voting system (Proportional/constituent representation).
2.6. Engaging the government at national and local levels.
2.7. The decline of good governance to a critical point.
3. Prayer and Repentance
We further noted an awakening of the church that something needs to be done by the church in a visible effective way. This we recognise as a move of the Holy Spirit. As such we committed to holding two National Days of Prayer and Fasting on:
3.1. The Ascension Day, and
3.2. The Day of Pentecost.
4.1. To ensure that there is a follow through it was decided that:
4.1.1. The sponsoring bodies, namely, South African Council of Churches, The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, Kairos Southern Africa and African Enterprise must continue with the process.
4.1.2. The joint leadership from this coalition shall meet on the 21st February to develop a way forward.
4.2. The Church Leaders that act as patrons of this movement offered their blessings and pledged to provide the necessary support and covering.