In part one I addressed Paul’s words in Ephesians 4 with some textual consideration: “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11,12.

In Part 2, I would like to draw our attention to a number of obstacles that may present themselves to living out our Gospel purpose as God intended. Paul’s central argument in this section is an important one to follow and reflect upon. Truth be told, Pastors are not God’s gift to the church but are gifted FOR the church. Similarly, we need to ensure that we maintain a healthy view of our own role in the ministry of Christ’s church in order to not become the stumbling block to what God’s seeking to achieve. There’s a clear, yet subtle difference between being God’s gift to the Church and God’s gift for the church. Are you embracing a multiplication and empowering mindset or a ministry diminishing one? Paul is clear in this text that there are important obstacles to overcome in order that the church grows and be strengthened. What qualities do you display that diminish this potential in the church? What qualities can you catalyze to correct this?


  • Obstacle One: An inflated view of self over others. Our selfworth is never diminished as we continue kingdom worth, but our sense of self-importance needs to be checked. Far too much damage has resulted from an inflated view of self and a sense of pride, or importance. Don’t discredit your good work with a corrupt motive or intent. How are you doing in this area? Would you say this applies to you, and how?


  • Obstacle Two: Abuse of individuals who display a versatility of gifting to the detriment of the others who see themselves as bystanders. This applies perhaps more to those directly involved in leadership roles within the church. It’s all too easy to utilize gifted individuals, however, it should never be to the detriment of their family life and walk with the Lord. Church programs always come at the tail end of these important considerations. Being a gift for the church will require longevity and an ability to say ‘no’. Remember that ‘no not now’ may be because of the season you’re in. But, it does not mean no forever.  What do you need to persevere in and push through, and what do you need to stop doing to foster a healthy relationship with God?


  • Obstacle Three: Isolating yourself from those who are gifted differently to you in a vocational sense. There is an evident inter-connectedness that needs to be acknowledged at this level. This is a tough one as God’s gifting and individual personality and temperament become complex fields to navigate within church life. The truth is, none of us are islands, and no one gift or compliment of gifts represent the full kaleidoscope of God’s intent. We need to foster a raw and authentic sense of inter-dependance that nurtures others and encourages God’s work. Have you ever found yourself isolating your ministry and gifting as a result? In what ways can you practically affirm the roles of others and gain insight into what they bring to the table?


  • Obstacle Four: Pastoral co-dependency, where fulltime ministers see their role as instrumental in the outworking of the ministry of the church that breeds a culture of congregational dependency on the paid professional. This is perhaps a bugbear of mine, however, it’s driven by a deep conviction biblically and theologically that it is the task of the WHOLE church to take the WHOLE Gospel to the WHOLE world (thanks, Lausanne Movement for the terminology here). An over-reliance on any one person or one group is unhealthy in any church and we need to become ministry catalysts that enable and equip Believers for works of service. In what ways do you need to step up to the plate?

Living out your purpose in life is deeply interwoven with your identity in Christ and your vocational gifting in His service. In what ways will you allow God to move you to fuller service and participation in 2017? What do you need to STOP and what do you need to START or JUMP START now to be more Biblically faithful and Spirit-led?


With love,





“And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11,12.


I just LOVE the book of Ephesians! From the onset of this incredible book, Paul celebrates his identity and infuses his understanding of how identity and ministry function into the flow of the book of Ephesians. In Christ, God brings about newness with a defined purpose. God’s concern relates primarily to our identity, in Christ, and how that plays itself out in our relationships, at home and within the church. Paul’s central argument in this pericope relates to the unity of the church and the specific implications that has for Believers who seek to walk in a worthy manner (4:1), recognizing the oneness of the body, under the lordship of Christ (4: 4,5), while recognizing the grace that our ascended Lord gives to us through gifts (4:7-10). In the light of this, we should all be challenged to live out our Christian identity in mission, taking seriously Christ’s gifts in people for the growth and maturity of the local church.The good news is that 2017 presents us with another opportunity to see this lived out. Do you recognize God’s gifting in your own life? How does your ministry vocation build the ministry fo the local church? Are you walking in your God-given purpose?



  • Verse 11a starts with words of great encouragement to me: “…He personally gave”.  Jesus, as Lord of the church, is personally involved in the ministry of the church to ensure that all that is done glorifies the Father. Christ has a unique role for each one of us and desires that we walk in this. What a wonderful way to start the new year- knowing Christ’s intent for my life and ministry. You truly are God’s gift FOR the church!
  • Verse 11b’s use of the term ‘some’ correlates to the diversity within the ONE body of Christ and that not one person has every role. Christ’s church is meant to thrive on plurality and not singularity, or even individuality. Our respective gifts and abilities enrich the ministry of the church and add incredible value. Remember, no ONE person is God’s SOLE gift, we each have a role to play.
  • Verse 11b provides for 5 specific roles that Christ assigns to the Church. These are given as:
    • Apostles
    • Prophets
    • Evangelists
    • Shepherds
    • Teachers
  • Verse 12 is clear that the context of Christ’s gift relates to the direct benefit of the local church. Paul is clear that this ONE body, under ONE Lord, given ONE Spirit is meant to utilize the fullness of God’s gifting through people in vocational ministry settings in order that:
    • Believers may be trained for ministry;
    • Believers (by implication) should minister;
    • That the church, as Christ’s body should be built up in all things.

In my next blog, from this base, I will examine a few ‘obstacles to overcome’ in our leadership with Paul’s thoughts in mind. 

I hope this has been an encouragement to you at the start of this year.




I always tell people that I have the best job in the world, and I truly believe that! I have served at Baptist Theological College now for almost 5 years and continue to enjoy serving the Lord in my hybrid role as Missiologist and Registrar. While I agree that these role balance my life out with a sense of tension, I love being able to lead in certain aspects, while still serving the mission of God and inspiring students to live out the Missio Dei (the Mission of God) instead of the Missio ME! I find it amazing how God uses my consistently to my calling, and to the passage in Romans 15:20 that He left with me as a deep impression when I first sensed His call into ministry.It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation”. God keeps me true to the following ways:

  1. God is using me the way I am wired– sure, there are new elements of gifting and empowerment that I see constantly, but God is using my personality, history, skills and complete makeup in a unique way to add value to His work.
  2.  The more I have served God’s purposes selflessly, the more passionate I become about His Kingdom and not my own. It is easy to serve others when we expect something in return, however, the greatest reward is not serving with this in mind, but serving God from within and with all that is within and trusting Him with our very lives.
  3. God uses me more as an initiator, visionary and strategist- knowing HOW God uses me will allow me to make decisions that impact on the details of my ministry. I am not pretending to be someone that I am not, and I do not desire to serve in ways that will detract from Christ’s glory- rather, all that I do, is in order that God’s name and fame take pre-eminence.

Having served at BTC in this role and celebrating 65 years of equipping Believers for ministry, I would like to share with you two of my personal highlights (more to follow later):

Highlight one: Launching our Frontier Gap year ministry in 2013 is one of my favorite memories of time spend with the group, seeing them grow and be stretched. We have also adopted a least reached people group and a missional ethos as part of the Seminary DNA and regular mission trips, prayer walks, street evangelism campaigns and the like are held.

Highlight two: Being a part of a turnaround project with administration and the Department of education has been a wonderful challenge and a much needed opportunity for God’s abundant grace. We have managed to turn a corner and are fact becoming a world-class African Seminary.


If you are able, join us on Wednesday 30th November at Rosebank Union Church from 19h00 for our 65th Graduation Ceremony as we celebrate God’s continued faithfulness.


It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year! This is a full-length clip from Ridgecrest Family Church’s Christmas Carols service this year. I find great joy in the fun-filled activities of Christmas, but what I enjoy more is seeing each part of our congregation being involved and playing an important role in the functioning of the church. Our church may not be perfect- we’re far from it, but what we are seeking desperately and with great intentionality, is to impact our community with the Gospel and see our community being transformed by the power of Christ. This last weekend is evidence of the heart of our people in the Christmas market we hosted as well as the carols service- each one played a role and the results were phenomenal! By God’s enabling, we desire to be a city on a hill- a church with an impact that goes DEEP and WIDE!




I just LOVE the American Holiday of Thanksgiving- what a wonderful opportunity to focus one’s attention on thankfulness to God and to others for what they mean to us. I have noticed more and more that Christians are tending to err on cultivating the art of grumbling with a taste of complaining that is often times driven by our consumeristic, self-centered society, where MY wants and needs are the MOST important. The truth is, Christianity is the most joyful ‘religion’ in the world- our joy and gratitude stem from the fact that OUR GOD REIGNS! There are a multitude of reasons to embrace gratitude and and a number of verses that you can consult. Why not take a moment to read one of these:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Psalm 136:1 ESV Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Colossians 3:15 ESV And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Ephesians 5:20 ESV Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Psalm 118:28-29 ESV You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

God’s sovereignty, greatness and goodness should give us sufficient reason for gratitude; as humans, we’re not the the final or ultimate source of authority, God is. Resultant from His sovereignty, we have a few choices to make today; I’m curious, what will yours be?

  1. Choosing contentment over dissatisfaction
  2. Choosing joy over happiness
  3. Choosing peace over anxiety
  4. Choosing trust over ambition
  5. Choosing patience over instant gratification
  6. Choosing gratitude over grumbling
  7. Choosing life over death

TODAY is the day the LORD has made- REJOICE and be glad in it (Ps. 118:24)!


In this interview, Desmond Henry talks to Michael du Toit, a final year student at BTC Southern Africa about the Lausanne Movement and particularly some of the helpful resources available online. Michael is seen as a young leader within this movement and participated in YLG2016 earlier this year. This post is a reminder of an African saying that goes like this: ‘If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.’ This was very much the heartbeat of the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering 2016 (YLG2016). We can do more together than we can do apart- the mission of God necessitates unity in the body and love displayed in a spirit of togetherness (on mission)!

From what I can see, God is raising up a new generation, the mercy generation, that will be used of God in great ways across the globe in mission initiatives for His glory. Michael has grown tremendously in the last few years and shares in the Vlog a little of his journey as a means of encouragement to you. Michael’s first exposure to Lausanne was in my first-year lecture on the Lausanne Covenant, why not start broadening your horizons and reading what God is doing globally by subscribing to the Lausanne Global analysis. After all, we need the WHOLE Church taking the WHOLE Gospel to the WHOLE world in order to not become a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission Highway of Mt 28. DH

Justine Ubsdell is a final year student at the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and will be graduating with her Bachelor of Theology at the 2016 congregation of the Seminary. This research was submitted as part of one of her subjects and I thought this would be useful for you to consider seeing the topics of evangelism and social engagement are at the forefront of discussion on many fronts.


You can download her research project here:



Serving in Pastoral ministry is never an easy role, and the road can often be fraught with many hazards and obstacles that can easily derail you from serving God’s purposes. According to a recent pastor and student survey conducted by the Department of Missiology at BTC, these are five struggles of South African Pastors that emerged you might find informative.

  1. Pastoral Co-dependency- many pastors struggle to find a balance between how they ‘see’ themselves (equippers of Believers) and how they exercise their leadership through influence. Around 12% of pastors struggle to delegate to lay leaders and about 1 out of every 4 pastors serve tirelessly and find the need to multitask because of the lack of time or commitment from lay leadership. Around 16% of pastors need all their decisions ratified by a Church council or Board creating frustration and laxity among congregants, prohibiting the effective management of Church ministry and structures.
  2. Personal growth and connection- Around 73% of respondents indicated that they did not attend a regular Pastor’s Fraternal and that those who attend usually stick within their denomination. Many pastors have unfounded perceptions of their peers because of this insular focus. Interestingly, the bulk of South African Pastors receives input from peers through one-on-one contact and ‘coffee’, indicative of a broad-based breakdown of confidence in denominational structures, which will most likely increase the need for networks without direct authority structures, and without the baggage of history.
  3. Community impact and transformation– Many pastors struggle in the area of evangelism and transformation of individuals and families and feel ill-equipped and resourced to care for people effectively. Evangelism is heavily reliant on events and Sunday sermons at a local level, and most money is channelled to the periphery toward evangelism in outlying areas that would not have a direct impact on the local church growth. Around 42% of respondents indicated that the bulk of new church members were from other churches in the area, which indicates an increasing need for effective evangelism and integration of new Believers.
  4. Effective Christian discipleship – Most Evangelical pastors would admit to a dire need for their ministry to focus on discipleship, however, most churches are geared more to reach the unsaved, but lack clarity regarding a process of discipleship that works for their congregation; moving Believers toward greater spiritual maturity. There is a direct correlation between transfer growth in South African churches to the growth of Christians in our Churches.   
  5. A dynamic relationship with God– many pastors indicated that they struggled on a daily basis with maintaining devotional integrity. 1 out of 3 South African pastors do not have a consistent quiet time and about 1 out of 6 indicate that ministry consumes all their time and they find it hard to meet recreational needs. I would imagine that there is a direct correlation between the lack of dynamic relationship with God to pastors leaving the ministry for secular employment.


What are some challenges you face, or you know others face that have not been included above?