October 28, 2020

Report on ministry trip to Mauritius

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P130614-1_mBy Michael Bowerman

The Bishop of Mauritius invited me – he is also Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean – the Most Rev. Ian Ernest to conduct training in witness and evangelism for the Anglican Diocese of Mauritius.  The invitation   came through Bishop PJ Lawrence who had been recently appointed Director of Training for the diocese and whom I had first met when he was Director of ITLD here in Cayman. During the two weeks, I conducted training   in witness and evangelism over four days, both the Fridays and Saturdays I was there, for about 70 people.  I also led workshops over two days for the clergy, preached three times at the weekends in two different churches and was interviewed for the public radio station. During the sessions for the clergy, I sought to challenge and encourage them in both their ministries and personal lives. We dealt with subjects such as how to accomplish church growth, the need for personal holiness, the centrality of preaching and the things to which church leaders need to give special attention.

Mauritius is an island with a population of 1.2 million people and is largely Hindu. The church, as a result, is particularly challenged to share the Good News. It was therefore encouraging to see the small Anglican Church recognizing the importance of being ‘missional’ as well as ‘pastoral’.

Mauritius_Island_south_west_The time was well filled. The response at the end of the training led me to believe that what I came to do was helpful, and the interest and enthusiasm were clearly apparent. This, together with the warmth and hospitality we received, made the trip both enjoyable and worthwhile.

I want to thank the many for their prayers and other support during this trip. The fact that many were praying was clearly evident. My thanks go especially to Elmslie Church for their prayerful support.

It was particularly good that Mary was able to be with me for this ministry trip and able to attend the training sessions.  We were invited to many homes during our time and were able to therefore share more widely and informally our faith and experiences. On the two days I wasn’t working, we were taken to see some of the sights of the island, one with many similarities to Cayman.

We are grateful to God for the privilege and responsibility he has given me of “serving his church by proclaiming his message in all its fullness” (Colossians 1:25

NLT).

Training in Evangelism, Church Growth, and Church Planting October 2013 – Report

From P J Patterson

The Diocesan Department of Evangelism and Mission under the leadership of Rev. Eric Ma Fat, Director, and the Diocesan Training Centre organized the training in Evangelism and Church Growth in the month of October 2013. The training was in two parts, Part 1: Four full day training for lay people from different churches who were interested in and committed to Evangelism and Church Growth and Part 2 was a two day session with the clergy of the Diocese. Mr. Mike Bowerman from the Cayman Island was invited to be the leader for this training program. Mike Bowerman is a retired Principal of a Secondary I High School. He received Theological Education in London Bible School, United Kingdom (U.K). Coming from a Missionary family, Mike from a very young age was a committed Christian with a passion for Evangelism, Christian Witness and Training of people in Christian Discipleship & Bible teaching. Mike has also been intensively involved in a local church, Elmslie United Church in preaching, teaching and organizing missions. He has organized, as well as been a part of mission trips to Haiti, Cuba and other Latin American countries.

Mike has also been involved in teaching and developing training for lay leadership through the Institute for Theological and Leadership Development in Cayman  Islands (ITLD). Through ILTD Mike was also involved in Ministerial and Theological Formation of the training of the clergy in the United Church in Jamaica and Cayman Islands (Presbyterian, Congregational and Disciples of Christ).The reason for inviting Mike Bowerman for this training program was the initiative of Dr. P.J. Lawrence, Director of the Diocesan Training Centre, who knew him personally, and his skills in training of Evangelists. As Bishop in the Church of South India, Bp Lawrence invited Mike to Nandyal Diocese in South India. He successfully conducted training of Evangelists on 2 occasions. He trained 50 full time evangelists for the Nandyal Diocese out of which 12 evangelists have entered full time ministry in the diocese by going to Theological College. Mike Bowerman and his wife Mary, on the invitation of the Archbishop Most Reverend Ian Ernest, arrived in Mauritius on the 08th of October 2013 and stayed till the 21st of October 2013. During his stay he not only conducted the training program for lay people and clergy he also preached at local churches, visited different homes, discussed with a variety of persons. This visit to Mauritius was fruitful and fulfilling for both for the Anglican Church in Mauritius, as well as for Mary and Mike.

Sessions with the Clergy

Mike Bowerman spent two days with the clergy, at the Training Centre. Some of the following matters were reflected upon for the deepening of Mission engagements of the clergy. The focus of our ministry should be teaching children the faith from the very beginning with equal importance of grounding young people in Spiritual Discipline.  We were reminded that Holiness is not an optional extra but it is an Imperative. Holiness must affect our hearts, our minds and our will if we are to please God. We can achieve holiness by taking a serious view of everything that is unholy and we need to remember that potential for holiness is within us – the Holy Spirit. We also need to be aware that the work of sanctification of becoming “Holy” is a work in progress. There is no such thing as instant sanctification or holiness and we need to make every effort to be holy (2 Peter 3:14, Hebrews 12:14)

The clergy was also encouraged to focus on Church Growth. We were reminded of the five marks of:

•  A living and growing church (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35)

•          A learning church

•          A caring church

•          A worshipping church

•          An evangelizing Church. Church Growth is numerical, spiritual and functional.

The priests were encouraged to re-visit the centrality of preaching, in the church growth strategy. “Preaching is the communication of God’s truth, by God’s servant, under God’s Spirit to meet the needs of God’s people” (John Stott). We were also reminded to constantly refer to a checklist which includes:

•          Attend to your own souls before you try to address those of others

•          Take sin seriously

•          Cultivate an accountability partner

•          Ensure to take a Sabbath

•          Make sure that your ministry’s priority is to disciple   people, motivate and delegate. Especially train those coming behind so they can also pass on the faith

In ministry to the next generation.

•          Make sure to finish strong

The Clergy were also given some handouts and materials about the importance of cell groups (home groups), with some tips for cell group leaders. Some useful materials, for cell group Bible study, were given out. The Style Questionnaire for leaders guide was given out to assess our own personality as a leader.

Training in Evangelism for the Laity

There  was  an  average  attendance  of  70  on  all  the  four  days  of  training  in  Evangelism representing most of the churches, including representatives from Rodrigues. Each day started with Devotion at 9am and closed at 3pm. The training was delivered into 13 sessions (Modules) starting with the definition- “Evangelism is a work of God by his Holy Spirit whereby he brings Spiritual life”. To Evangelize is “To make known by word and deed the law of crucified and risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that people will repent, believe and receive Christ as their Saviour and obediently serve him as their Lord in the fellowship of the Church” (Lambeth Conference 1998).

Evangelism is sharing the Good News which is a process not a program. Restoring the Honor of God’s name in a sinful world. We do Evangelism in our immediate neighborhood where ever we are located (Jerusalem and move on to other areas like Judea, Samaria and ends of the earth). Teaching, Preaching and Healing

As the preparation of the evangelist, we were reminded of:

•          Work of the Holy Spirit

•          Centrality of Prayer

•          Knowledge of the word of God

•          Learning from Jesus and other faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ

•          Knowledge of people of other faiths and the world in which we live

Some of the evangelists’ beliefs should be about the awareness of sinfulness of man, the holiness and wrath of God, the person of Christ, the cross and resurrection of Jesus, the love of God, Salvation for all through repentance and faith, uniqueness of Christ for salvation, the power of the gospel of salvation and the importance of preaching of the gospel.

In terms of the evangelists’ motivation, the following were reinforced. Mission and evangelism is at the very heart of God. “God is a missionary God” (John Stott), people have an innate desire for God. We believe Jesus is the only way to God. In gratitude for God’s love for us and what he has done for us, we evangelize. The destination of people outside of Christ is terrible. God commands that we share the Good news.

An evangelist’s characteristics are listed below:

•          He must be a Christian- a believer in Jesus Christ

•          It requires only “mustard seed” people (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

•          God requires humility (Philippians 2″3-5)

•          God needs willingness (Isaiah 6:8)

•          We must be serious about our faith

•          We have to be prepared to “count the cost” (Luke 9:23-26)

•          We must have a compassion for the “lost” (see Matthew 9:36)

•          We have to know with whom we best communicate effectively

As evangelist’s strategy some suggestions were:

•          Direct Style

•          Intellectual Style

•          Interpersonal Style

•          Testimonial Style

•          Invitational Style

•          Serving Style

Other inputs of training included the evangelist’s target, evangelist’s tools, and evangelist’s obstacles as well as how to share the good news of Christ and how to help someone accept Christ. Trainees were also given the Style Questionnaire for Leaders guide in order to assess their personality type in giving leadership for evangelism and church growth which include numerical, functional and spiritual growth. The training sessions included a lot of time for discussions, role play and sharing where the participants were actively involved and engaged.

Evaluation

On the whole the participants responded to the program in a very positive way. They felt empowered with the teaching received. They have also committed to form themselves as teams, to do evangelism and Christian witness.

Follow-up  team

A small group was set-up under the leadership of Rev. Eric Ma Fat, Director of the Evangelism and Mission Department, to monitor the follow-up and also conduct follow-up meetings for assessing and sharing the results.

Thanksgiving service

The Training Program was concluded with a Thanksgiving service at St. Thomas Church where Archbishop Most Reverend Ian Ernest preached the message and challenged the participants for commitment and engagement in evangelism and mission which is the mandate of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and our Synod of the Anglican Church of Mauritius. Participants were given certificates of participation, and were encouraged to continually be involved in evangelism and witness in their given context.

Appreciation

The Archbishop, Most Reverend Ian Ernest appreciated and thanked Mr. Mike Bowerman for the leadership he has given for the Diocesan Training Program in Evangelism and Mission.

Rev Eric Ma Fat, the Director of Diocesan Evangelism and Mission Department was congratulated for organizing the program, along with the Training Centre.

The Archbishop also thanked the Training Centre staff especially Stella  Congo and Bronwyn David were thanked for the work of preparation, and implementation  of the program. Rev. Liva and his church support team of the parish was appreciated and thanked for all the practical preparations made. Rev Eric Luximon was appreciated and thanked for designing the posters. Mr. Johnson and Rev Norman  were thanked or preparing, banners,  posters and flyers on Evangelism which were released in connection with the Evangelism Training Program. Rev. Eric Ma Fat thanked the Archbishop, Most Reverend Ian Ernest for his vision and encouragement for Evangelism in the Diocese.

 

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