Senior Pastor Reflection

During my basic military training, our squad’s corporal would frequently bellow, “Kom in pas!” (“Change step” or “In step!”). The objective was to quickly adjust our steps and harmonise with our comrades and commanding officer, allowing us to function as a single unit and get the job done effectively.

The COVID pandemic and recent upheavals in our nation and the world at large has left us slightly out of sync. We resemble a group of soldiers, each aiming to survive on our own and, as a result, working against one another, fighting different enemies and achieving unrelated goals.

For this reason, our PEN theme for 2023 is “Synchronise!” This acknowledges that we may have fallen out of step with our Commander in Chief, the world, and each other during the past challenging years. But it is also an urgent declaration of intent. It’s time to ensure that we are hearing what God is calling us to do and synchronise with our fellow man.

At our Startup, Marinda used a beautiful analogy of the coxswain in a rowing boat to explain the synchronisation process. The entire crew faces the rear and can see where they come from, but only the coxswain can see where they are going and tell when someone is out of sync with the rest of the team. The same applies to us. Last year, we commemorated our 30-year journey in the inner-city of Pretoria. We don’t know where we’re going. However, one thing is crystal clear during this period, and that is that our Coxswain knows where He is taking us and will keep us in sync. This gives us the courage to face this tumultuous time.

Three movements in this synchronisation process will be critical:

1. We must synchronise with the situation at hand. Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand and whimper in the dark. We must speak candidly about the battle at hand.

2. We must synchronise ourselves. Our external lives should reflect our inner worlds. We must simplify and get our priorities in order.

3. We must synchronise with our Coxswain. Only He knows where we are headed and how we all fit into His battle plan.

In Isaiah 42:16, God declares, “I will lead my blind people by roads they have never travelled. I will turn their darkness into light and make the rough country smooth before them. These are my promises, and I will keep them without fail.”

If you feel alone and vulnerable during this time, we invite you to march alongside us into the future.

To God be the glory!

– Rev Francois Smit