Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

It’s Time

Written by: on October 9, 2014

“The attraction of Christianity is not simply the promise of a passport to heaven, where they (the middle class) can escape the travails of this world; rather, they are reexamining the life of Jesus and seeing that his teaching was often manifested in his healing ministry and compassion for the poor, prostitutes, and children.” (Loc. 1523-1526)

Some may call it irony, I prefer providence. I read the words quoted above on the loooonnnngggg thirty-six hour commute to South Africa just 17 days ago (which is a lot of time). The words may be written in Dennis E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori’s, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, but they may as well have been plastered on billboards across South Africa as much as the posters in our home church. The sentiment they convey speaks to the journey that many in our little fold found themselves on over the last few years. More particularly, the four people who accompanied me to Seed of Hope Community Development in Amanzimtoti, South Africa, are the most recent people to embody the reality of this research.

A growing number of people are asking good questions about the way our entertainment-driven-minimal-commitment-nicely-polished, “Christianity” is packaged for us in our western world. Questions that are stirring them to reconsider God’s call to Kingdom living and the intentional, personal call to extending the Kingdom to all the nations of the earth. In an age where our capacity to travel is only exceeded by our capacity to share information, there is an opportunity that exists like never before for those who are willing to follow Jesus’ commission. Our greatest obstacle is likely that despite our relative richness in technology and economics, we are “time” poor.

Throughout this book there seems to be a consistent idea that presents itself and challenges us to re-examine the way in which use our time: that of being personally involved in coming alongside someone else, either near or far, for the purpose of seeing them transformed by the grace of God. The authors state this in differing ways, all conveying the same message:

  • “People need an internal transformation that realigns their moral compass. When this occurs, there is a lifestyle change that, over time, provides the basis for potential upward social mobility.” (Loc. 745-748)
  • “And addicts have a lot to confess; they have inevitably alienated nearly everyone in their path, especially family members. They also tend to have very low self-esteem: they have stolen from friends and society, women have often turned to prostitution to support their habit, they know that many people think they might be better off dead. And so the Christian message has a considerable amount to recommend to them because herein they find a message of forgiveness, transformation, and hope.” (Loc. 1296-1300)
  • “A much better strategy, he said, is to confront the problem without judgment, minister to those who are sick, and educate people…” (Loc. 1432-1433)
  • “First, one thing that keeps poor people stuck in their circumstances is their lack of a sense of self-worth.” (Loc. 2023-2024)
  • “The truly successful visits are those that result in a genuine partnership between congregations, where there is mutuality in the exchange rather than a one-way transfer.”(Loc. 2392-2393)

We need to be those who go and extend the gracious invitation of God. It’s a message that helps to restore the lingering and deeply embedded effects of sin, which destroys peoples self-image, their relationships with others, their relationship to creation and their relationship to God. It’s a message that requires time, not short time, not quick time, but long-consistent time.

That’s what our team went to learn about from Seed of Hope. They have been actively engaged in serving and empowering the locals of their densely populated HIV positive community. They have a growing number of local people serving in key roles. They have all experienced suffering and yet they all have a great love of God and a deep compassion to serve their neighbours. They are time rich and they use their time to serve the desperate needs of others.


Our team had the privilege of accompanying them as they engaged their daily tasks; our goal was simply to learn and serve according to their needs not our agenda (big shout out to Patrick Murunga for his presentation on Short Term Missions that reinforced this posture). In so doing our team members were themselves transformed (and are being transformed – which takes time).

How? Because they found themselves living out the Spirit-Breathed Transformational words of Jesus, as recorded by Dr. Luke (ch. 23:15-24). Instead of waiting to see if people would respond to the invitation to the Kingdom, they became the attendants who went out into the streets and alley ways and personally guiding the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame to recognize their value as ones whom God loves and with whom he desires to share Himself.


While in Capetown, some of us, from the LGP Advance, attended the JL Zwane Church Centre in Guguletu. We had the privilege of hearing from Reverend Dr Spiwo Xapile. At some point, he addressed the idea of discipleship. While I can’t remember his exact wording, he communicated that the greatest way they have found to help people grow in their faith, was by encouraging them to give themselves in service to those in need. It is in serving, beyond our convenience or natural capacity, that we then need to look to God’s wisdom and lean on His Spirit; and that’s when growth takes place – in the classroom of real life with real people in real time who need to know that Our God really loves them.

If you read these two blog posts by one of our team at Seed of Hope, one during our trip and one following our trip, I think you will find that there is an ironic, no, a providential consistency in the concepts of Global Pentecostalism, the heart-wrenching learnings of our team, the words of Rev. Xapile and the message of Jesus’ parable.

May those lessons learned not be easily forgotten and may they be eagerly shared. There’s plenty of room at the table and the time for the dinner bell to sound is getting closer. This is no longer the time of waiting by the door to see who may come in, this is surely the time of going out with the Transforming Message of Kingdom Hope, to guide “the forgotten” of our world to the feast we will share together.



About the Author

Deve Persad

9 responses to “It’s Time”

  1. Thanks for your rich post, Deve. As I read, I was most struck by your thought on time. You say, “Our greatest obstacle is likely that despite our relative richness in technology and economics, we are ‘time’ poor.” That is right on the money.

    After returning from South Africa, which was a very “busy” time, I was met with overwhelming responsibilities that seemed to slap me in the face as soon as I stepped off the plane. The very next day I was back at full throttle busy doing my work and tackling the tyranny of the urgent. I had a couple of very bad days, feeling completely overwhelmed and jet-lagged. This went on until Thursday morning when I suddenly realized that I needed to slow down. I went to a Mexican restaurant for breakfast and sat down to think, to pray, and to journal — to listen to Mexican music. And I left with a peace in my heart and soul.

    Why don’t we use our time more wisely? Why do we not slow down more often? Is it that we are caught up in out own self-importance? Perhaps we are so busy on the King’s business that we don’t have time for the King (I know that was true of me in my 16 years of ministry). Whatever the reasons we hold, you are right, we need to slow down — to take the time to listen. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Deve Persad says:

      Thanks for your comments Professor. I must say that one thing that I have been challenged by over the last few years, is the idea of being “time poor”. There is a tendency toward over-scheduling and almost a sense of achievement in being able to “multi-task” and over produce. Contrast those ideals with the people-centred approach in many other places in the world and there’s a startling discrepancy. So in answer to your question, I would say that one of the biggest challenges is to prioritize “relating to people” over our need to “produce and achieve”. I’ll think further on that, but hopefully that’s a good start.

  2. Ashley says:

    Deve! (I’ve tried this three times now, and hopefully the signal will last before it disappears again!) Your eloquent words are speaking the thoughts of my heart! This week, I am with a team in Haiti, and while three of them have installed a solar power system, the other three are tasked with simply “being.” They have no tangible project to complete other than being amongst the community and learning who and what Haiti is. It’s been no easy matter for them, and thus they’ve been “assigned” a question of the day to begin conversation with our partners. “What is your story?” “Did you grow up in a Christian home?” “When did you hear your calling?” “What is the future of your community?” “How is our partnership changing you?” And so on and so forth. It’s opened the door to incredible conversation amongst our team members (both Haitian and American).

    I wonder, how did your team do? Did they adjust immediately? Did they question “why” they were there, what their purpose was? How well did they listen and learn?

    You’re an incredible teacher, Deve.

    • Julie Dodge says:

      Ashley –
      I have a new question of the day for your team: “What brings you joy?” I’m testing that as a relationship building question. Please share and tell me what you learn!!!!!

    • Deve Persad says:

      Thanks for persevering with your comments and questions Ashley. No doubt for the people on your team the aspect of being armed only with questions would be a challenge, but it is worthwhile. One nuance we have incorporated with our teams is that people need to be prepared to share their own answers to similar questions and take initiative in sharing those stories. In effect it models the authenticity we desire in relationship and takes the spotlight off of the people we are visiting. As for our team in South Africa, this trip was all about “learning and serving” and it was a huge challenge. However, the Lord granted us favour and rewarded the time spent (almost a year and a half) in preparation for this trip. While that time might seem long, it was all necessary to unlearn some preconceptions about “doing” and understanding the need to focus on “learning, listening and serving”.

  3. Liz Linssen says:

    Hi Deve
    An excellently-written blog. Yes, it was very interesting timing to read this book immediately after our experiences in Cape Town. What I found interesting though was how the one pastor really dismissed pentecostalism as such a bad thing. Also, how Pastor Xapile confessed his struggle with discipleship in his church.
    Deve, do you think it’s possible to be so focussed on meeting people’s physical needs in a church and outside of it, that we neglect people’s spiritual health? What about in your church? How do you find the balance between the physical and spiritual? It’s not an easy question, I know.

    • Deve Persad says:

      Those are excellent questions Liz. So pertinent for our ministries. Firstly, I didn’t get the impression that Pastor Xapile was struggling with discipleship – it seemed that their approach was different than our classroom/curriculum based approaches. I would gravitate toward that approach provided you have some way to provide feedback, debriefing and equipping. In terms of balancing spiritual and physical – you’re right, not an easy question. My personal approach is, when dealing with people, both as part of our church family or part of the greater community, to try and be consistent in reminding them that our efforts in serving/helping are because of the Kingdom and the Love of God which compels us. Hmmm, I’ll think more on that as well – thanks Liz.

  4. Julie Dodge says:

    I loved this Deve. That’s all. It was just spot on. Thanks.

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