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How has COVID-19 and Lockdown Affected the Implementation of Congregationalism in our Churches

At this time, in the year 2021, we as Baptists have faced a huge challenge to the principle and practice of congregational church government, in that the lock-down has made it very difficult to hold members meetings, particularly for bigger churches. Here are a few of the difficulties: Congregations That Can’t Congregate South Africa went…
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The Role of the Leader in the Context of Congregationalism

Introduction One of the questions that always surfaces in the Baptist Principles class (at BTC) is the one relating to the role of the Pastor in a Church where the Principle of Congregational Church Government is upheld. They recognize that this principle can stifle good leaders and cause much frustration in their ministry. This same…
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What’s missing from our Baptist Principles

Recently, I had opportunity to discuss some finer points of the application of one of the Baptist Principles with a pastor friend. He happened to comment offhandedly, “I really think that our BU Statement of Principles could do with a freshen up and reworking.” I agree. In addition, I see two things missing from our…
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Relief for bigger churches for a weekend

On 30 March, the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, announced an Easter ‘weekend of relief’ for larger churches from the strict controls on indoor and outdoor gatherings. Until now, smaller churches, have been relatively favoured compared to larger churches in that the capped number of gatherers (100 indoors and 250 outdoors) has not…
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The Necessity of Re-establishing Community

With the ease of lockdown and many churches re-initiating corporate gatherings, the primary task that lies before the church, and particularly her leadership, is the necessity of re-establishing community. What do I mean by the phrase ‘re-establishing community?’ I think churches have largely taken ‘together being-together’ for granted. Oh, yes, we congregants knew it was…
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Pastoring a Non-Online Church During Lockdown

Lockdown has affected every one of us, including churches and the way we pastor them. All religious gatherings, including churches, have been prohibited under the present lockdown regulations at the time of writing. We can either fight this regulation or ask God what he wants us to do within the parameters of it. Many churches…
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Churches are closed but restaurants and casinos aren’t: Are churches being unduly targeted?

This week on Monday night (28 December 2020) the State President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, declared new “adjusted alert level 3” restrictions which included, amongst many other restrictions that, “All indoor and outdoor gatherings will be prohibited for 14 days from the date hereof, except for funerals and other limited exceptions as detailed in the regulations,…
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Another Translation of the 2017 Statement of Belief

It has always been a concern to have the 2017 Statement of Belief translated into as many languages as we have languages represented in our churches. One of the original mandates of the Theological Forum back in 2016 was that the final statement should have no ‘heavy’ theological terms in order that it should be…
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AGM 2020 results are in…

Firstly, we tried a few things we’d never done before. It’s always risky trying something new, but to make things COVID-19 compliant we thunk up the following “what about…” ideas; “What about in the room and on Zoom?” Incarnational is awesome, right? There’s just something special about face to face.  And travelling is shleppy, so we decided to do…
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The Biblical Leadership Structure of the Local Church

It seems that the practice of a church Executive model as the leadership structure of a Baptist church has been ‘The Baptist Way” since Baptists arrived in South Africa in 1820. But is this what the Bible teaches as to how Jesus governs his church? Is an Executive (which typically includes all elders and deacons)…
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