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I never thought desiring to plant a church in the city of Pretoria would get so many questions. Some have been encouraging questions met with excitement, but most of them have ended with a resounding:
"Why would you ever want to plant a church in Pretoria?!"
It’s no secret, Pretoria has a dark history that has spilt into the new South Africa. As the birthplace of Apartheid, our city comes with many challenges for daily life between Blacks, Whites, Indian and Mixed race people, let alone planting a church for all to attend side by side. And for a black pastor (that’s me) to lead it all? Unheard of!
On a tough day, I sometimes feel that intensity and can be overwhelmed by it. Fortunately I have a group of people around me that remind me that the Gospel is more powerful than any challenge that can (and will) come our way.
This group of people is called Rooted Fellowship, a church plant that is seeking to be gospel centered, disciple making and transcultural in the city of Pretoria to the glory of God.
We define transcultural (or “third culture”) as not just multicultural – different people living side by side, merely tolerant of one another. We seek to be a community that not only reflects, but embraces and enjoys the diversity of the context, and by the power of the Gospel transcends the diversity, creating one new community, unified in diversity. It’s a long definition, but a beautiful one, one we see in Revelation 7:9-10:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
This is what the new heaven and new earth will look like, but we believe it can look like that today, as we eagerly await the return of our Savior.
People will say, “Why can’t we just wait until Jesus returns?” or “That will never happen this side of heaven. Pretoria is too broken!”
Jesus says otherwise. He taught his disciples to pray in such a way that “…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10)
We have a unique opportunity to plant a church that would reflect, embrace and celebrate the new South Africa as advocates of this vision of unity in diversity. Lord willing, we will go on to plant other churches that do the same. What better way to represent the Gospel in a nation that is coming out of pain and hurt and seeking to find its place in history!