Guest post by the Rev. Simon Jooste, church planting pastor in Cape Town, South Africa.
Reformed Church Southern Suburbs (RCSS) began as a Bible study of Reformed Church Bellville (RCB) in April 2012 with Rev. Jooste and his family in Rondebosch, Cape Town. In accordance with the Great Commission the mission of the church plant is to give the Gospel and Reformed witness exposure in Cape Town in the common English-language medium. Historically, faith and worship in the Reformed family of churches in SA has been predominantly in Afrikaans (a Dutch dialect). What is more, in recent decades indigenous English-medium Anglican and Presbyterian traditions have generally either made a liberal or broadly evangelical/ charismatic turn. Hence, the perceived need for a new church planting work. Our hope and prayer is that in due time RCSS will become a independent and self-sustaining congregation within the Reformed Churches in South Africa (RCSA; founded in 1859). The RCSA enjoys ecumenical unity and ties with Presbyterian and Reformed churches around the world, including the URCC, OPC, PCA, GKv, FCS, URCNA, RCNZ, PCAus and IPC.
RCSS is situated in Cape Town, which is home to almost four million people from all kinds of backgrounds: ranging from native African to Portuguese, Indian, Arab and British. With the advent of South Africa’s liberal constitution in 1995 – signalling the official fall of apartheid – CT has become an increasingly progressive city, not unlike New York and Amsterdam. Christianity is no longer a given. Many folk are questioning the status quo, from religion to morality. What makes Cape Town even more attractive as a mission-field for the un- and under-churched is that, alongside Johannesburg, she is arguably the cultural and intellectual hub of SA and Africa at large. For example, she boasts Africa’s most prestigious university, the University of Cape Town (UCT). In addition to and alongside Cape Town’s wealth is her infamous poverty. Both the rich and the poor on the southern tip of Africa are sinners in need of the life-giving message of Christ and him crucified.
Our worship and members
As we gather corporately twice each Lord’s Day, we enter into divine worship according to the Word. (We believe and practice the historic Reformed Regulative Principle of Worship). And we do so with a posture of reverence and awe. It is through public worship that we believe sinners are converted and saints are built up in holiness and comfort. Our ordained minister preaches exegetical sermons that are sensitive to law and gospel distinctions, that locate the text in the unfolding of salvation history and aim at drawing sinners into the life of Christ crucified. In turn, and having received God’s gifts, our members endeavour to glorify our Lord by giving of themselves: through lives of righteousness and witness in their vocations and callings throughout the rest of the week.
By the end of March 2018, Lord willing, RCSS will have 58 members, which comprise 32 family units across generations. The majority are young single and married working adults. We have students and faculty members from the UCT and Stellenbosch University. Furthermore, the Lord has blessed us with 6 regular attendees. (Since inception in 2012, RCSS has seen over 20 communicant members move elsewhere, the majority into churches of Reformed persuasion.) In addition to being multi-generational, our worshippers come from diverse ethnic backgrounds ranging from Native African Xhosa and Sotho to Congolese, English and Afrikaans. We are blessed with three elders and two deacons.
Another of the fruits and joys of RCSS has been to see her become a home for those interested in church planting. For example, in 2016, former founding attendee, medical Dr. Nikolas Haus, graduated with an MA from Westminster Seminary California (WSC). Nikolas is currently involved as an aspiring elder in Reformed church planting in Leeds, UK. In January of this year, RCSS member, Mokhatla Mokhatla, originally from Lesotho (a country within SA) and a graduate of UCT, commenced his MDiv at WSC. His burden is to plant a church in the RSCA upon his return. Furthermore, we have a recent member transfer and seminary student, Louis Aucamp, Jr., who is keen on becoming our first church planting intern. Finally, we are blessed with an ordained Brazilian Presbyterian minister, Vinicius Bantim, and his family, who will serve at RCSS while they fine-tune their English before heading into the mission-field in Mozambique (an initiative of an Afrikaans sister church in our Classis.)
Rev. Simon Jooste was called and ordained to the position of Pastor serving RCB as planter of RCSS in January 2014. Simon is a native Capetonian married to Deana, a Nevadan, and they have two boys, Andrew (11 yrs) and Adam (7yrs). Simon had the privilege of living in the USA for 15 years after being awarded a full tennis scholarship. During that time he married and had two children, switched careers from accounting, completed his MDib from Westminster Seminary California and was licensed to preach in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Simon has served the church in South Africa since 2010 and earned a PhD in historical theology from Stellenbosch University in 2013.
Our needs and your help
We believe and confess that God builds his church by his Word and Spirit. And he calls us his people to pray for the fruit that he has ordained from all eternity. While we serve “on the ground” in Cape Town, would you consider joining us in prayer for RCSS?
Fortunately, RCSS has historically been blessed with generous giving from her mother church and overseas donors. At present, we have no formal commitments for 2018 from the latter. Thus, RCSS anticipates a budget shortfall of around $36K for the current calendar year. Might you be able and willing to donate toward this shortfall? If so, please use the banking details below. (A more detailed financial history of RCSS and her projected future needs is available upon request.)
USA: Please make your tax-deductible donation out to “Escondido OPC” (reg. non-profit)
In the “For:” section, please write: “RCSS church plant”
EOPC mailing address: 1725 Bear Valley Parkway Escondido, CA 92027-4128