Beware prosperity gospel conmen, says Bishop
“Let us be clear – salvation is a free gift that no amount of money can buy.” So says Bishop Moses Deng Bol of Wau Diocese in South Sudan, who has hit out at pastors who sell prayers and blessings to church members. Bishop Deng Bol warned members of his diocese not to be fooled by ‘propserity gospel’ tactics by conmen in Yei – in the south of the country. "How stupid then to think that you can pay for faith or sell it like market goods," he wrote in the Diocesan newsletter – as reported by the Anglican Communion News Service. "It really makes me so mad that because they lust for money people that have been trusted to lead in faith are taking advantage of people that cannot understand the message of Jesus properly," he added.
NZCMS supports spreading gospel in Albania
More than 170 people, including 50 children, gathered in mid-October for the Albanian Encouragement Project (AEP) conference, which New ZealandCMS (NZCMS) mission partner Fey Cotter helped organise. AEP comprises, and represents, about 70 Evangelical mission organisations working to further the gospel in Albania. According to NZCMS, "People from a wide variety of backgrounds and affiliations gather at this event, signifying a significant aspect of what God is doing in Albania: increasing unity among believers committed to God’s kingdom. This is especially important when we remember that Albania was once the European nation most resistant to the gospel." On its website, AEP says: "There is religious freedom in Albania, with about 70 per cent of the population Muslim, 20 per cent Orthodox and 10 per cent Catholic; but materialism seems to have become the religion of choice for many. A great number of Albanians have fled to find work in other countries in order to provide for their families."
Churches pay tribute to Nelson Mandela
With the news of the death, at the age of 95, of former South African president, Nelson Mandela, church leaders around the world have been paying tribute to this "former freedom fighter, turned peace maker". Archbishop Desmond Tutu said tonight, "He was not only an amazing gift to humankind, he made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall. God be praised.". Rev. Moss Ntlha, General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA) said of Mandela's death that it "calls to mind the prophetic tradition of Micah that says: 'He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)'.” Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said, "The world is challenged to show the same degree of humanity as he had done in his life. South Africa has lost its greatest citizen and its father. Nelson Mandela, fighting to the end, is freed to be with his God. ... We are challenged to show the same degree of humanity, of courage and of generosity."
Mission Training Course Launched in Asia
Faith2Share member agency, AsiaCMS, are working with a number of other Asia-based mission agencies to launch Asia Gateway a brand new training programme in wholistic training for mission leadership. The intensive training programme offers both an 8 week residential programme and a modular non-residential programme each year at three levels. At the basic level students will look at topics such as 'Bible and Theology', 'Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam', 'Communication and Contextualisation', Development Studies' and 'Spiritual Formation'. The first residential programme will begin in Malaysia in March 2014 and student registration is already open.
Responding Biblically to poverty in Africa
The rule of the Lord, 'Love your neighbour as yourself', forms the backbone of CMS Africa's training, according to its international director, Rev Dennis Tongoi (pictured left). Writing in CMS Africa's recently published annual report for 2012/13, Dennis says; ‘In CMS Africa’s training this is the foundation that we seek to 'teach people to obey'.” Since 2010, Faith2Share member CMS Africa, working with its partners, has helped to train more than 4,300 leaders and seen 354 seed projects initiated, where churches reach out into local communities. The next step in loving our neighbour, says Dennis, is for dioceses to collaborate together and tackle poverty. “Broken relationships with others create social poverty, which often leads to material poverty; hence we must disciple people to love their neighbours.”
Give me a Bible, please
A co-mission partner with Faith2Share member agency AsiaCMS, called ‘R’, serves in China and works for an educational company which places international teachers into government schools to teach. She stays in the teachers’ dormitory with staff and others from her company. 'R’ has to be sensitive but she’s found the other teachers are very interested in Christianity and would like a Bible. Elle (not real name) is currently in Hong Kong and is now a believer. She was baptised there on 16 October 2013. As 'R' explains: "She told me that she was very grateful that I had given her the Bible. She said, ‘you planted the seed and God gave me a wonderful woman in Hong Kong to make it grow’. A lady helps her study the Bible and Elle also took one of her friends along to the Bible studies group.” Go here for more testimonies from AsiaCMS.
Discipleship for the Workplace - a priority
Continuing their meeting in Jos, Nigeria, the 51 participants in the Faith2Share Depth Discipleship consultation today expressed a concern that churches fail to disciple their members for the workplace. Although most Christians spend a major part of their time in work little is taught in our churches about how to be a Christian manager, how to handle business finances (and corruption), how to discipline employees and many other challenges that are faced daily. A panel of mission leaders who also work as an architect, teacher, marine engineer and production manager and accountant addressed challenging questions from the floor as the lively debate coontinued. Tonight (Sunday) we heard from a missionary working in prisons in Niger of all that God is doing there. The consultation will conclude on Monday night.
Missions Collaborate in response to disaster
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and New Tribes Mission (NTM) are working hand-in-hand to deliver food, clean water, and other critical aid to remote island communities of the Philippines in desperate need following Typhoon Haiyan. NTM has four aviation personnel stationed in the Philippines on an ongoing basis, operating two small airplanes and one helicopter. When the disaster struck, they were uniquely positioned to help. MAF's experienced disaster response personnel have traveled to the Philippines to assist the NTM crew with logistics. The team is focusing its efforts on small, isolated islands that no one else is assisting. "We are partnering with the local church and local municipal leaders to find the best way to meet the needs and serve those most vulnerable," said a NTM spokesman. Building collaboration between mission agencies and churches is at the heart of what Faith2Share stands for.
West Africa Depth Discipleship consultation under way
Faith2Share's Depth Discipleship consultation for West Africa is now under way in the city of Jos in Nigeria. Faith2Share international director, Mark Oxbrow, is in attendance, alongside about 50 other delegates. One of the first people to arrive was an Anglican missionary from Togo, Rev. Oliver Ofoegbu, who is from the Diocese on the Niger, Nigeria. Rev Oliver has been working in Togo for several years planting churches there. During the past month he took his bishop to Togo to visit about 30 of these churches, all of which have the support of village chiefs who in many cases have donated land for church building. Many neighbouring villages are now asking for their own churches. There are also delegates from different parts of Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana. On the first evening, Archbishop Ben Kwashi (above), the local Anglican bishop in Jos, will lead a session on "Character formation for Christian Family Life", a theme which he recently addressed in his diocesan charge.
Africans and Asians invited to New Zealand
New Zealand Church Missionary Society (NZCMS), a Faith2Share member, and the New Zealand Christian Network say they are turning traditional mission upside down to celebrate 200 years of the gospel in New Zealand in 2014. The organisations say that traditionally mission has meant 'going over there’, but during 2014 African and Asian missionaries are being asked to make their way over to New Zealand to support local NZ communities, parishes, churches, schools and iwi (Māori people groups) in their evangelistic, social and spiritual development. They are now on the hunt for evangelists from Asia and have asked AsiaCMS, also a F2S member, to help. Read more on this project here, from NZCMS National Director Steve Maina (pictured left).
Nigerian Missions continue to flourish
Representing over one hundred Nigerian mission agencies the Nigerian Evangelical Mission Association (NEMA) has been meeting this week in Jos, northern Nigeria. During the three day executive congress "Mission Together Today: The Leadership Challenge" delegates have focused on the challenges facing growing mission movements as they mobilise and resource church members in cross-cultural mission. An important contribution to the congress was made by Pramila Rajendran from India who led sessions on pastoral care addressing issues such as burnout, leadership stress, and team building. Effective church planting was also on the agenda as many of the missions involved are actively planting new churches across West Africa and elsewhere. Faith2Share has participated in the NEMA meetings and will open its own consultation in Jos tomorrow.
Join Faith2Share's Prayer Campaign 2013 - today!
Today (Wednesday) is the first day of Faith2Share's Prayer Campaign 2013 - in which we are asking all our members, partners and supporters to join us in 10 days of prayer from 20 to 30 November. We've compiled a prayer diary, with a different prayer focus for each of the 10 days, which you can download here or request a copy by emailing email@example.com. Each day, the daily prayer topics will be posted online on our website - please bookmark the page. You will also find the daily prayer requests on our Facebook page (Faith2Share) and Twitter @F2SMissionNews. Please like, share and retweet these prayers among all your friends and followers and spread our prayer points far and wide. The campaign culminates on St Andrew's Day. Prayer works!