Sunday, 13 September 2015

Leaving an imprint - Dr. Neil Oosthuizen

I have just returned from sharing in the Sessions on the Youth Pastors Gathering in the Eastern Free State. It was a wonderful time of connecting with young leaders from around South Africa, who are passionate about sharing Jesus in their communities.

What was significant for me was that it marked 20 years since I went along on my first Youth Pastors gathering. That year we were lead by the inspiring Rev. Dr. Neil Oosthuizen, who tragically died 3 weeks ago. In fact, Neil was asked to lead the sessions at this years gathering, but he died before he was able to share with us.

I remember that gathering in 1995 as if it were yesterday. I was a young man entering into the world of ministry. I was overwhelmed by many changes in my life, wrestling with God's calling and trying to find my feet in other areas of life. Neil provided solid teaching and incredible GRACE in pouring out his heart to us. He gave us hope for the Church and for sharing Jesus with the next generation. It was through his love and care that many of us continued in our ministries.

As I tried to emulate Neil's heart this last week, I was taken aback at the huge responsibility we all have. We are like runners in a relay race - we are given the baton and asked to run our leg of the race, but we also need to pass on the baton to someone else soon. I count it a privilege to have shared the baton with Neil (and now with my colleague Rev. Andrew Evans), as we seek to inspire the next generation of leaders.

Neil, we want you to know, that your labour was not in vain and we will do all we can to hold the torch for the next wave of pastors and leaders. May we be as faithful as you were. May we serve Christ as passionately as you served him.

Psalm 127:1 - "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."

1 Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain."

Living in Grace

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