Commissioned to plant churches and ordain clergy, Robert Gray in 1847 became the first Bishop of Cape Town. When he died 25 years later, the 10 churches with which he began had grown to 63! Talk about growing the church!

More than 150 years later, in 2003, Archbishop Ndungane introduced to the Synod of Bishops the concept of “Growing the Church”. He recognised the need for those involved in primary evangelism, church planting and other church growth initiatives in ACSA to work synergistically towards fulfilling our Lord’s great command to love one another and to fulfilling his great commission to go into the whole world to makeRevd. Trevor Pearce disciples—beginning in our own “Jerusalem”.

Bishop MartinTo this end the Archbishop appointed †Martin Breytenbach to spearhead an initiative to focus on “Growing the Church”. In June 2005 a report of the same title was presented to Provincial Synod. It was warmly received and its primary objective—to develop a “Growing the Church Network”—was enthusiastically adopted. In May 2006 the Synod of Bishops unanimously resolved that †Martin should gather a committee and move towards launching the “Growing the Church” initiative at the beginning of 2007. Thus Growing the Church (GtC) was born, and the Revd Trevor Pearce was appointed as the first director.

There are nine “tools” of mission and ministry at Growing the Church:

  • IT and Media Ministry
  • Youth Development
  • Mission and Evangelism
  • Preaching
  • Discipleship
  • Fresh Expressions of Church
  • Leadership Development
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Social and Environmental Development



VISIONWoman with Binoculars
Because we are stronger and more effective as the body of Christ when we work together, GtC actively partners with other ministries in the church. By facilitating the development of a network of diversely gifted people and organisations in and beyond ACSA who are dedicated to “growing the church,” our vision is to see a vibrant church clearly growing spiritually, numerically and holistically. 




Our Key Objectives at Growing the Church

  1. Developing a strong, diverse network of suitably gifted people who will work synergistically towards growing the church.
  2. Developing a database of contacts among suitably gifted people involved in church growth and related ministries.
  3. Developing resources and training programmes in partnership with others that will result in clear outcomes and committed implementation. Where possible, training in the field will be encouraged.
  4. Providing consultancy on church growth matters, identifying and addressing obstacles to growth, and sharing methodologies and resources that are clearly working. Doing research and exploring new models for the life of the church.
  5. Experimentation will be encouraged and fruitful outcomes will be shared.


Our Key Strategies at Growing the Church

Leadership Development
Leadership development is a key component for any significant work of God to take root and flourish. Everything stands or falls on leadership. Therefore, the development of leaders is the backbone to this ministry.

Teaching and Training
Sharing knowledge and developing practical skills to foster church growth turns ways and means of growing the church into reality.

Conferences and Seminars
The primary purpose of the conferences and seminars we offer and support is to create opportunities for worship, fellowship, networking, and sharing of knowledge and resources around common themes related to church growth.

Strategically Inclusive of Young Adults, Youth and Children
It is absolutely imperative to be intentional about including our young people as full partners in the life and growth of the church. Because our young people are not the church of tomorrow but of today, we are passionate about including our young people as partners of the ministry of Growing the Church.

Develop Church Growth Implementation Teams
We equip dioceses to promote the health and growth of their churches. We are available to assist each diocese to develop its own sustainable church growth programme, according to its particular context and ethos and with the approval of the bishop.

Spiritual Formation
Bible teaching and prayer must be the foundation to grow the church, in addition to a healthy reliance on the Spirit’s power as he reveals and enables the work of the Father and the Son. Wherever possible, the classical spiritual disciplines should be integrated into church growth strategies.

If church growth is to be effective, contextual and culturally relevant, it must begin with listening, enquiring and gathering suitable information before any action is taken. Such listening must include listening to God and the people of one’s context.

Resource Development and Stewardship
To grow the local church requires money, people, materials and equipment. Being faithful stewards of money, time and talents forms an integral part of our teaching and training. We aspire to release the financial, human and material resources that will sustain church growth and the work of Growing the Church.

The challenge to grow the church is so great that no one person or group can achieve all that could be achieved without actively encouraging and engaging in effective collaboration—with a kingdom perspective. Together we can do more than we can do on our own. Some of our main partners are the Mother’s Union, the Anglican Women’s Fellowship (AWF), Anglican Youth Southern Africa (AYSA), Anglicans Ablaze, Alpha, Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA), New Wine, Iviyo and Fresh Expressions of Church. 



*Woman with binocular image: courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net