Friday, April 11, 2008

On the Road with George - Mike Knappier, Outreach minister, Northside Church of Christ

It was my privilege to spend three weeks on the road with George Funk and GCM encouraging, evangelizing, and dreaming. Although I have been working with George and GCM for many years I was overwhelmed with the scope of the work and I didn't even see all of it.

After I flew in from Little Rock to Johannesburg we drove to the African Lectureship in Witbank, South Africa. There must have been three or four thousands attending. It was a joy to watch men from all over South Africa come up to George and talk about the role GCM is playing in their work. They were so excited to have the Chariot coming to their area.

From there we went onto Windhoek, Namibia and worked with the Wanaheda Church of Christ. The Wanaheda congregation was planted through a GCM campaign and is doing great.

Then it was a quick trip to Rundu, Namibia to join Jonas and the chariot. George and I preached and eventually saw Jonas and the Chariot off into Zambia. Jonas was converted through the work in Wanaheda and has planted two congregations in Rundu. He is also now one of the Chariot drivers. We received good news while in Rundu. We learned that the lot where the Chariot was being set up could be purchased for a church building and it is a great location next to one of the outdoor markets and only a few minutes from where Jonas lives.

We then drove back to Windhoek and flew to Johannesburg where Quinton Funk joined us and drove us to Pretoria. While there we visited the GCM office. We had an early morning devotional with the short term school and I was really impressed with the teachers and students. The men are given fourteen weeks of intensive doctrinal and practical studies. It appeared to me that the the church in Pretoria is doing great. Not only is there a vibrant congregation that meets at the GCM office but there are also several other congregations in the area that trace their existence to George and the GCM work that are rapidly growing.
Our next stop was Venda to visit the GCM office and the Venda Church of Christ where a facility for a short term school is being built. The church there is very mature and has elders. Hundreds assemble there each Sunday. They use the chariot to great affect in their area and literally hundreds of new Christians and leaders will go through this school over the next few years. One of the things I love about GCM and the Funks is that they are continually pioneering in some areas and networking in others. As George says, "Dream work is teamwork!"
Quinton then drove us to Durban and we visited the GCM office in downtown Durban. It is at a great location and thousands of people walk by every day. Not only that, Bible studies, short terms schools, Bible Course grading, and Saturday seminars are constantly going on there. It is also a place where unity is being built among the area churches as brothers from throughout the area come to the office for study, planning, and fellowship. For example, while I was there, I met a brother who uses the office as headquarters for a prison ministry.

How did George's Granddaughter show up here?

It was time to be "on the road again" and we drove to Port St John and visited with Alfred and talked, prayed, and dreamed about establishing new congregations throughout the Eastern Cape.

Finally we drove many hours back to Plattenburg Bay, where the Funks handle thousands of Bible Courses (not counting the ones that are graded at the other GCM offices) and also administer GCM. It really is as George says, "Not just about a country but a continent."

On Sunday I was honored to preach at the congregation that George and Ria established in Plattenburg. It is a thriving congregation and Harrison and the church are reaching out to the whole area. A side note, their singing is spectacular.

On Thursday we made the long drive to Cape Town to check with the printers who are printing our 25,0000 GCM New Testaments. They honored me with the first copy. Thousands of souls will come to know Jesus and His church as a result of this printing. It is a wonderful New Testament with great helps at the back.

Then it was back to Plattenburg where we are working on a blog for GCM and other administration items and visiting congregations. George and GCM have had success in reaching out to independent churches who love the word of God and teaching them to be Christians only.

This Sunday we will be preacing in Plattenburg Bay and the Grags where a new congregation is being planted. From his office in Platt George, GCM, and the Hillview Church of Christ are working on planting dozens of congregations over the next few years. On Monday I fly back to Benton Arkansas more impressed than ever with GCM. As the song says, "Roll the Gospel Chariot along."
To all of you who support Gospel Chariot Mission I commend you. Without seeing it firsthand I am not sure you can fully realize the extent of the work that God has been doing through your support of the Funks and GCM in Africa. How thrilling it is to see first hand the Great Commission in action. Through the travels of the chariots, the BCC, short term schools, the gate way city offices, and the networking with existing congregations the Great Commission is at work in Africa.

The Word of God is powerful and His Grace is amazing. To God be the Glory.

Mike Knappier