Jesus commands pastors to care for their congregation, as a shepherd does a sheep. His own life being the greatest example:
”I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:11, 18 – ESV)
During the final week of August, Rev. Malis Basha ran a further training conference for pastors in Juba, South Sudan in just how to do this. Some of the challenges particular to caring for congregations in South Sudan include their vast size (the average congregation in Juba is around 200), the lack of theological training for pastors and the pressures & tensions placed upon people as a result of conflict, with thousands displaced, many bereaved and a famine looming.
“to see the passion of care in pastors, for the congregations, to move into another dimension, and to see pastors, not serving just out of duty, but out of an inside willingness.”
During the first day of training, 40 pastors met in Manuki Parish, Juba and were refreshed in aspects of Anglicanism. The following day they were challenged to reassess their pastoral care of their congregations. They were reminded from 1 Peter 1:22 that the most important part of caring for their congregations is their personal holiness and walk with God.
Please continue to pray for the pastors and the Church in South Sudan, that they would have love, godliness and wisdom as they lead large congregations and that their teaching would be faithful & love genuine. Pray also that as pastors love their flock, and Christians love each other like Christ in stark contrast to the violence and greed that is rife throughout most of the country, more would be drawn to the Church to follow Jesus themselves.