A Panel Discussion with a Difference!

Another memorable event for Brunstad Christian Church fellowships in Africa…

On the afternoon of Saturday, 16th May 2020, a panel discussion was streamed from Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) South Africa to BCC fellowships in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda.  In total 211 members of BCC followed along with the discussion and in terms of technology, it was another breakthrough, as members were able to view the event via streaming, as well as participate through an online platform.  However, as significant as the technological breakthrough was, if not more so, was the purpose of the panel discussion.

Prior to the discussion, couples and parents were invited to submit questions for the panel to answer; however, the invitation was not limited to this group, all members from the various fellowships were welcome to participate. Guests invited onto the panel were Kåre Smith, leader of BCC; Tielman Slabbert, leader of BCCSA; William and Lindiswa Goxo from BCCSA; and Solveig Cousins from BCCSA as the facilitator. The questions received shaped the content of the discussion and as one would imagine, they were very pertinent to present times… life under the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many households being together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week would be challenging, and more so with most daily activities severely curtailed by lockdown regulations for lengthy periods of time. Under these conditions it is inevitable that marriage partners and parents see their tendencies to irritation, anger and impatience as never before. For God-fearing Christians this can be very troubling and cause them to doubt whether they are truly disciples of Jesus Christ and following in His footsteps. Furthermore, parenting also comes under the spotlight in these circumstances, amplifying differing views parents may have on raising their children. The lockdown and its economic consequences, coupled with the uncertainty of the future, is a breeding ground for a myriad emotions and anxieties. Concerns about unemployment and loss of income are very real and in many instances have become reality, which has resulted in untold need and suffering.

These were some of the issues that were highlighted through the questions received. The need for help and guidance from God’s Word and how to put it into practice, not only under lockdown, but in all the daily circumstances of life, became apparent.

Recognizing that especially in these times it is easy for faith to sink down, Kåre Smith brought tremendous encouragement and help from the New Testament Book of Romans. Faith strengthening verses that are easy to identify with and can be used in a practical way, were an integral part of the panel discussion.  Urging members to believe in God and have faith in Him, the panelists gave assurances from God’s Word that He follows along with the righteous and God-fearing; affirming that without doubt, they will come out of this time better than before.

The discussion was interspersed with spiritual songs sung by members from several of the fellowships.  After the panel discussion, members were invited to testify online or post their testimonies on the Telegram group which was specially set up for this event. Judging by the number and content of the testimonies posted, the response to the event was very positive and greatly appreciated.  Participating members were also requested to post photographs of themselves on the group and these were shown at the beginning and end of the panel discussion. This certainly created a sense of church community and fellowship in this time of separation, giving members the opportunity to see familiar faces and get to know others.

The event concluded with a stirring online rendition of the song “Amazing Grace” sung by the BCC Africa Choir.