How much can you learn in 32 days?
A lot! In January 2013 I had the most amazing privilege of visiting Atlanta, Georgia and spending a month at Perimeter Church for “Intensive Training” in “Life on Life Missional Discipleship” (LOLMD). I was part of a delegation representing almost 10 countries. It was my first time in the USA and so everything was a new experience for me. There were a number of key highlight areas of learning:
Personal growth: the time refreshed and restored me in an incredibly deep way. The time of extended input was deeply impactful. I learnt so many things about myself and my ministry. The input gave me fresh hope for the local church; it renewed my zeal for discipleship and connecting with people; it gave me fresh perspective on myself, my marriage and family, RUC, Johannesburg and South Africa. I came back with a renewed sense of vision and purpose.
Perimeter Church is a church that is making a deep impact on Atlanta and indeed the world. Atlanta has some unique challenges. Perimeter Church through the outworking of developing mature and equipped followers of Christ, is making a significant difference. We were exposed to the lives of many members of the congregation making a difference in education, business, media, child-sex trafficking, poverty, and local government.
Ministry growth: I was exposed to many learning areas in a holistic way as regards ministry. Things like: discipleship, worship, leadership skills, exercising faith, preaching, witnessing, pastoring, time management and prioritising, city wide partnerships, living holistically as a pastor, intentionality in ministry, etc. In fact I have a black notebook where I jotted down over 100 pages of insights and impactful statements that I am seeking to distill and apply.
Perimeter has planted over 40 churches in their 30 years history and has formed a partnership with over 200 churches to impact Atlanta in a movement called Unite! They have intentionally chosen to be a church of intentional influence that seeks to model themselves on the discipleship principles that arise from the life of Christ.
It was also great to spend time with ordinary people on the ground who are seeking to give their lives away and live missionally where they live, work and play. I was impacted by the caliber of depth and outward focus that LOLMD has produced in members of the church.
We also had the opportunity to spend some time with Laura Story, one of Perimeter’s worship leaders and Grammy Award Winner. Her humility and philosophy of worship ministry was very special to see.
What else did I do?
- Attended different church services, including Northpoint with Andy Stanley
- Was part of a LOLMD group for 4 weeks
- Taught a Grade 7 class at the local school on: South Africa
- Attended a seminar by Dr Michael Goheen around thinking through a biblical worldview
- Visited the World of Coke and Coca-Cola headquarters
- Visited other churches that Perimeter partners with
- Visited the Duluth City Hall to engage with the mayor
- Spent a whole day in prayer and meeting with the Lord
- Visited various university campuses in Atlanta, as well as the Alma Mater of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Visited Clarkston, an area where refugees are given housing and exposed to the ministry there
- Lots of fun stuff: ten pin bowling, Atlanta Hawks Basketball Game, the Superbowl final, the Tennessee aquarium, Ruby Falls, Rock City, CNN Center, and lots of shopping at Walmart and Target!
Spending such an extended time receiving input instead of giving out was a blessing worth more than gold to me. Also the impact of spending time with fellow believers from other countries (especially those more closed to the Gospel) for such an extended period of time was a beautifully deep privilege.
Thanks to RUC for making this investment in my personal life and ministry. Words cannot fully express the life changing encounter it has been!