old-new-old school preaching Saturday 22 August 2015
I guess it depends on which millennium or century you were born in, or whether you were born in the 40’s, the 50’s, the 70’s the 80’s or even the 90’s as to whether doing a seminar style preaching effort is considered old school or not. Certainly in recent times it is old school, but for my age bracket, I’m a 50’s child, seminars are new …. Sort off.
Anyway, I digress. Three weeks ago on a Saturday morning commencing shortly after the sun rose at 9.30am, Barry and I started a bible seminar series commencing with a Prophecy Day followed by a four part series based on “Do You Know the Real Jesus”.
We were not really sure what to expect from over 200 sms invitations. Experience in South Africa has taught us to expect some immediate acceptances, but then not to expect more than 50% of registrants to turn up.
Barry and I have been involved in a lot of Bible Classes and talks in all sorts of places and townships around Durban. We have spoken and made presentations in everything from halls and meeting places with seating for over 150 people to sitting inside a “Shanty House Room” with 2-3 people listening. The Zulu people are genuinely enthusiastic about hearing about the bible, but they are less enthusiastic about following up and turning up to events they have committed too. This lethargic is also not helped by all our events being free. Not turning up to a free event is not costly, and besides, the sudden burst of sun, wind or rain can change even the best laid plans. Then there are the deaths of a distant neighbour in a far flung suburban area on the other side of Durban that requires respect being shown. And finally there is African time ….. which means turning up for a three hour seminar that starts at 9.30 am and arriving at 1.30pm in time to see the last few people leaving !!!
But this first seminar day was different … well sort off. We had received nearly 50 registrations. Barry and I had also taken the approach of making this seminar different to most talks Zulu’s had seen. We had set the hall up with tables, water jugs, glasses and bowls of mints on every table. Note paper, pens and seminar note summaries of all the talks and presentations was also provided to every seat. Our motto was … if we set it up well, they will come !!! The final piece of the day was an enjoyable morning tea of cakes and slices over a cuppa tea or coffee.
Well, come they did. Over thirty visitors arrived between 9.30 and 10.30am, Yes, African time stilled applied, but the surprised and happy looks on their faces at the tables, the water jugs, the bowls of mints on each table said it all. The prophecy seminar which I gave on this occasion seemed to go over very well. Numerous complimentary notes, comments and written responses were collected at the end of the three seminars as many of the visitors lingered long after the talks had ended. It was a similar response the following week with Barry speaking and introducing the series on “Do You Know the Real Jesus”. Today it was Matt Blewett and the responses to these series has been very encouraging, with many asking for another series while others have asked us to come to their churches and teach their members the same message.
As a result of these seminars, Barry and I have agreed to re-present the “Knowing Jesus” presentation at a function being arranged by another Church’s Paster, where over 50 people have booked in to listen to us. We never know where these things take us or will lead us too, all we know is we go where the spirit leads us and where people are interested in listening to the word of God.
Next week Barry and I are going to prison, the Westville Prison. Not as inmates, but to preach and make a number of Certificate Presentations to a number of prisoners who are trying to turn their lives around by learning more about the bible, more about God and his son Jesus.
Old school, new school or otherwise, these seminars and our other preaching efforts are opening doors to us that we did not envisage in our wildest dreams at the start of this year. From Zulu people stopping us in the streets and the shops of Durban, to elderly people in hospitals and nursing homes, young people, teenagers, mothers carrying babies on their back …. all of them wanting a piece of our time to listen to the words of God or to invite us to their churches. Faith and belief in God is alive and well in South Africa.