Access Ministries and Church Planting

Have you ever heard of an "access ministry"? One of the keys to discipling new believers is finding the right "access ministry" to connect to their hearts. An access ministry is what we do to serve people that opens them to hear the good news of the gospel. Not every church planter/disciple maker is good at creating an access ministry, and not every person who can start an access ministry is a natural evangelist and disciple maker. But these two types of ministries desperately need to be integrated. Doing one type of ministry without the other is to be guilty of the worst extremes of missions: hit and run evangelism on the one hand, and social justice without mentioning Jesus or sharing the gospel on the other hand. Planting churches among unengaged and unreached people groups really means engaging in holistic discipleship. To start simple churches without caring deeply about people's whole lives is pretty superficial, and to be engaged in transformation of their social and economic circumstances without leading them to faith in Christ and gathering them in new communities of faith, is to not care about their eternal salvation.

We are committed to holistic church planting and disciple making in here in Cape Town. It is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, fierce focus, and great intentionality. It means making sure there are passionate evangelists on every team we send out, and linking these evangelists with those who can start practical ministries of of social development.

Let me give you an example of how we are attempting to integrate the these two dimensions in All Nations Cape Town. In fact, I could give you lots of examples: Baby Safe - rescuing abandoned babies, Vulnerable Children - caring for AIDS impacted child-headed households, Steps Job Training, etc. In fact, every ministry we do is aimed at integrating practical care, personal salvation, and establishing communities of faith for the new believers. But one recent example stands out.

Photo: The First Graduating Class from Play Prof

Play Prof

Two days ago I attended the first graduation ceremony of pre-school principals being trained in the use education toys for disadvantaged pre-schoolers. We do this under the banner of PlayProf. This program is led by Anna Chan. Anna is from Hone Kong and works with All Nations to train and mentor pre-school teachers and principals in Masiphumelele, a township in Cape Town. Each lady who completed the course was given a large plastic box, filled with educational toys and a teachers manual. Anna will follow up with monthly one-on-one mentoring times with the pre-school leaders.

The training course is the result of a partnership between All Nations and Pray-Prof, a South Africa pre-school training and equipping company. A child born in poverty often lacks basic motor and learning skills, which sets them on a life-time pathway of educational and learning disadvantages. Most never recover from this early childhood disadvantage. Pray-Prof exists to address this need. And All Nations is deeply committed to meet that need as well.

Anna is excited about discipling the teachers of pre-schools, the parents of children in the pre-schools, the children themselves, and their siblings. Anna sees what she is doing as a huge door opener, an access ministry, into the lives of teachers, parents, older bothers and sisters, and care givers. What she is doing is an example of holistic discipleship: she is adding huge value to people's lives, and creating an important "access ministry" for starting simple churches. She and others she works with are discipling people they meet one-to-one, starting Bible Studies in their homes, and growing up leaders to lead simple home churches. No one is more excited than Anna when one of those she has discipled to faith is baptized in one of our church celebrations.

So, while we have our personal health struggles, at the same time Sally and I are deeply encouraged. Thanks for your love and prayers.

God bless,