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An explanation of some of the more formal ministries of the church.

Brackenhurst Baptist Church has long held that every member should be a minister. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). We have all—every believer in Jesus Christ—partaken of God’s saving grace and should all therefore be involved in the ministry of working out this grace towards other believers and towards the lost world. That is the definition of ministry: “the outworking of the grace of God in salvation through Jesus Christ for good works.”

Ministers are not only those who labour “fulltime” in service for Christ; we all are to labour “fulltime” for him. Ministers are not only those who receive remuneration for their ministry since our work of ministry is to be as service to Christ. We are all participants in the salvific grace of Christ and also recipients of daily grace through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Romans 12 tells us that our “reasonable service” (v. 1) is to “serve the Lord” (v. 11) with all our ability.

A minister is more than a simple “volunteer.” There are many service organisations in South Africa today that are run on a volunteer basis. The church of Jesus Christ is more than that. We do not simply serve our fellow man; ministry is not a humanistic endeavour. We serve Christ (Ephesians 6:7), willingly, obediently, and fastidiously. We serve him with conviction and duty, with a sense that we can never do enough, that we owe him everything, and that to serve him is both a privilege and a solemn duty. We can never repay what he has given us. We are bound to him and must serve until we die (Philippians 2:17).

Ministry should not be equated with being placed on a roster or serving in some “formal” capacity. There are rostered ministries in our church: security duty, crèche  duty, audiovisual technicians, etc. There are “formal” church ministries: Sunday school, youth group, Bible studies, etc. But a healthy church requires members who are eager to and active in serving each other outside of these rostered and “formal” ministries. Members serve one another by praying for one another, by visiting each other in hospital, by sacrificing financially to assist others in need, and in a thousand other ways that cannot be tracked on a roster. Because of this, it is impossible to capture every “ministry” of the church on a website, but below you will find some information about some of the more “formal” and regular ministries of the church.

Lord’s Day Ministry

Our Lord’s Day ministry is the primary means by which we seek to impart biblical truth for the purpose of making disciples. On the Lord’s Day, God’s people gather to sit under the reading and teaching of God’s word; to pray together; to sing to one another and to God; to observe the Lord’s sacraments; and to build bonds of Christian fellowship. Lord’s Day ministry at BBC consists broadly of three elements.

At 8:30 AM, the church has opportunity to break into various classroom settings for Family Bible Hour. Family Bible Hour is an opportunity to study the Bible, or to talk through various cultural issues, in a small group setting. Children attend age-graded Sunday school classes during Family Bible Hour, while adults attend their various classes.

Following Family Bible Hour, the church comes together at 9:30 AM for corporate worship. As a sort of prelude to worship, the service leader makes important announcements and the church has opportunity to recognise birthdays and anniversaries of fellow church members. The church is then formally called to worship, Scripture is read, and the church is led in a prayer of adoration, invocation, and confession. The congregation joins together in singing praises to God and opportunity is given to give back to God in the form of tithes and offerings, before the word is preached. As often as God allows, opportunity is given on Sunday mornings to baptise new believers into the membership of the church.

The church comes together again at 5:30 PM for our evening prayer service. After an opening Scripture reading and prayer, opportunity is given to introduce any new member applicants to the church before corporate singing. This is followed by a short, devotional sermon, after which the church prays together for various items that have been preassigned by the elders. The prayer aspect of the service is not done in small groups; instead, members pre-selected by the elders publicly pray for items that the elders have assigned them. On every alternate Lord’s Day, the public prayer time is followed by the Lord’s Supper, where any new members, who have already been baptised elsewhere, are formally welcomed into church membership.

Shepherd’s School

Shepherd’s School is a time of intensive Bible study, held on Monday nights on a schedule determined by the Shepherd’s School teacher. At Shepherd’s School, members have opportunity to study the Bible and various doctrines in a deep way.

The twofold purpose of Shepherd’s School is to equip believers for effective ministry and to produce spiritual leaders who will reproduce.

The biblical principle behind Shepherd’s School is the New Testament call to discipleship (Matthew 28:18–20; 2 Timothy 2:2).

The desired product of Shepherd’s School is mature believers, grounded in the truth of God’s word (Titus 1:9–10).

The non-negotiable prerequisites for Shepherd’s School are accountability (students must be members of BBC); an attitude of submission to Christ and his undershepherds (Hebrews 13:17); faithful church activity, as displayed in regular attendance to Lord’s Day ministry and meaningful engagement in a Grace Group; and the ongoing approval of the elders.

The personnel of Shepherd’s School are the elders of BBC, who are called to shepherd the flock over which the Lord has made them overseers (Acts 20:28).

Grace Groups

Grace Groups is the name given to the small group / home group ministry of the church. The model adopted for the church’s Grace Groups is a “lecture lab” model, whereby groups gather during the week for fellowship and discussion centred on the sermon preached the preceding Sunday morning. The pulpit is the backbone of the church, and Grace Groups help facilitate healthy church growth.

Grace Groups exist to promote the development of significant Christian relationships centred around the study of God’s word (see Hebrews 10:24–25; Romans 8:29).

The facilitate the health of a Grace Group, Group members must focus on spiritual growth as a top priority (Romans 8:29); accept one another in love just as Christ has accepted us (Romans 15:7); take care of one another in love without crossing over the line into parenting or taking inappropriate responsibility for solving the problems of others (John 13:34); treat one another with respect in both speech and action (Ephesians 4:35–5:2); and keep commitments to the group—including attending regularly, working through the discussion guide before the meeting, and keeping confidences whenever requested (Psalm 15:1–2, 4b).

Children’s Ministry

At BBC, we treasure children because “children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3). Jesus himself cherished children and blessed them, saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). It is a joy to serve and pray for the next generation.

Parents are primarily responsible before God to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). The church’s role in children’s ministry is to support and encourage parents by faithfully teaching God’s word and modelling genuine Christianity for the children in our care. We pray that, by God’s grace, over the years, all the children in our trust will “be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).

We minister to children in several ways: Sunday school on Sundays; childcare ministries during morning and evening services; BASIC (an acronym for Becoming A Soldier In Christ) children’s ministry on alternate Friday nights from 5:45 PM to 7:30 PM (Grades 1–7 only); and an annual holiday Bible club during the winter holidays.

Youth Ministry

God has blessed BBC with a thriving group of teenagers, passionate about righteousness. It is the intentional aim of the BBC youth to glorify God in all things. Regular youth meetings take place on alternate Friday nights at the church from 7L00 PM to 9:30 PM.

A highlight of the annual calendar for teenagers in the church is the annual POWER Camp. At this interchurch camp, teens from various churches gather at the YFC-CYARA campsite near Hekpoort.

The name POWER is an acronym for the five-point goal of POWER camp, which is to promote in Christian teens: Purity, Obedience, Worship, Endurance, and Righteousness. The main focus of POWER camp—apart from all the fun and games—is an intense, focused time around the word of God. Each year, a special speaker is invited to exhort the teens in attendance to greater heights of purity, obedience, worship, endurance and righteousness.

Young Adult Ministry

Young adults is a biweekly Friday night Bible study and fellowship group for young adults post-high school to about thirty years of age. These gatherings, which take place in various homes, are an opportunity for strengthening fellowship and for meaningful, Christ-centred discussion on challenging topics facing Christians in our culture.

Newly Married Ministry

The newly married fellowship is an opportunity for newly married members of the church to come together, usually once a month on a Friday night, for food, fellowship, mutual encouragement, and opportunity to build Christlike relationships.

Women’s Ministry

Women’s ministries happen at various times throughout the year. Two or three times a year, a large-scale women’s fellowship takes place, either on Friday night or Saturday morning, where all the women in the church are invited to gather for fellowship and teaching. Outside of this, regular Bible studies and book discussion groups meet at the church or at homes of members to invest more deeply in truth.

Men’s Ministry

Men’s fellowship opportunities are hosted at various times throughout the year to give men opportunity for meaningful fellowship and encouragement. These meetings are opportunities for men to influence one another, sharpen one another, and invest in each others’ lives. Men’s meetings are intentionally low-key events, in which men in the church are invited to attend and be vulnerable among fellow sinners who are seeking, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, to grow in Christlikeness.

Seniors’ Ministry

The name given to the seniors’ ministry in the church is VIPs. There are three or four VIP meetings a year, usually on Saturday mornings, as well as a Wednesday morning Grace Group, largely attended by VIPs at the church. There are also various opportunities for seniors to get together for book discussions as arranged by members of the Group.