Momentous ministry tour impacts the Church in South Africa!
CMI at the cutting edge of the battle for the Christian faith
Gary Bates’ (CMI-US) 2013 speaking tour was one of the most successful in our (CMI–South Africa’s) ministry’s history. Following on from that, the 2015 tour surpassed all others. It was again a thrill to see many ‘switched on’ to the foundational importance of Genesis to the Gospel.
As in the past, travelling from church to church, the CMI team was warmly welcomed by all. For many, the ‘penny dropped’ as they realized we live in a time where biblical creationists are now armed with even more cutting-edge scientific evidence that affirms the accuracy of the Bible, while at the same time exposing the unscientific ‘just-so-stories’ of microbes-to-man evolution.
Young and old alike packed out most of the meetings, including midweek evening events. Churches were pleased with the many visitors who showed up—either brought along by a friend, or in response to an ad in the local community newspaper. For example, in the Cape, a church which normally has an attendance of about 40 people for a Sunday evening service, was delighted when almost 170 people filled the building!
Having been a regular visitor to South Africa, Gary often tells how the country and its people have a special place in his heart. According to him, “During the entire tour the hunger for the message was unmistakeable. Christians are mostly tired of being told that the Bible cannot be trusted in an ‘age of science’. In their heart of hearts they want to believe that God’s Word is reliable from the very first verse—and that it connects to the real world.”
What’s more, believers on the whole long for the Gospel to be central, and to be a demonstration of ‘the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16). To that Gary adds, “A culture, indeed a country, can only be changed by changing individual lives. The testimonies we received on this remarkable tour demonstrate, that with God’s enabling, this is precisely what CMI ministry helps to do. I was able to share with folks that in my 25 years of ministry this is the most exciting time ever to be a biblical creationist Christian.”
Great interest in CMI’s creation resources was also evident throughout the tour. Often presentations were followed by lively discussions around book tables. CMI supporters eagerly engaged newcomers, sharing how the ministry has impacted the lives of their families. Some told of personal challenges attempting to answer sceptical friends, and the positive role CMI’s materials played over time in strengthening their faith in God’s Word. While introducing Gary at a Sunday morning meeting, a young pastor told of how CMI’s information had changed his life by preserving him in the faith while he was growing up.
A first for the SA ministry was certainly five presentations spread over a weekend at a large church in Johannesburg, heard by around 5,000 people. CMI’s distinctive message was a first also for the host church, with people crowding book tables before and after talks, eagerly searching for a suitable resource item to reinforce the message—but also to share with others.
An evening event well publicized by a local church in a Cape coastal town, attracted considerable interest with a surprisingly large number of people braving the wintry weather. A Q&A session followed the talk where people could get answers to some doubts that had plagued them over the years.
A men’s breakfast hosted by a large Afrikaans church generated so much prior interest that ladies were also invited to the early morning event. With the men usually having to leave for work at a certain time, it was great to see a fair number remaining behind for the scheduled Q&A.
Helping out at her first creation event, Lydia C. summed up her perceptions, probably typical of the tour in general, “I enjoyed the fellowship. What blessed me most is that the truth taught by CMI is enhanced by the unity of the team and the relaxed and organized way things are being done. May the Lord continue to bless and provide for the ministry”.
Indeed, after the negative impact the recent protracted strike in South Africa had on postal deliveries, the tour also provided a much needed boost for the local ministry. Clearly, CMI is at the cutting edge of the battle for the Christian faith. More and more people are ‘connecting the dots’, and becoming aware of the importance of the Genesis-Gospel message that CMI regularly proclaims.
Opportunities for creation outreach are also increasing. For many years, one of Gary’s roles in the international ministry has been on-going training in local CMI offices to help improve effectiveness in a number of areas. During his recent visit, additional speaker training resulted in two more potential speakers being critiqued. In addition, further ministry coordination training with one of our existing speakers should provide a boost to our events coordination as well.
Since the launch of the ministry in 2002, CMI is now at a crucial time in South Africa. More events booked for more speakers will help spread this marvellous message faster and further. We are grateful for a growing number of church leaders who have come to understand the importance of the Genesis-Gospel message, and who are more than willing to host CMI events.
If you’ve never had this kind of ministry at your church, ask your minister to consider hosting an event. There are no set fees for speakers. By contacting the CMI ministry nearest you, the ministry coordination team will take care of all the necessary details.
Once again we thank you for standing with us in this battle for the hearts and minds of people. With creation ministry a caring passion, we appreciate your prayer and practical support. This enables us to do what we do best—hosting outreaches with local and international CMI speakers, in the process assisting the Church in the Great Commission.
We pray God’s blessing and care on you and your families.