Since the day he came to Christ at a tent crusade in Mooiplaas village near East London as a primary school pupil Loyiso Matu has never stopped enthusiastically telling people about what Jesus has done for him.
From that day his life followed a Jesus course, serving at tent crusades, attending Bible college, becoming a church planter and pastor.
In 2014 he hosted a 4-week tent crusade in Motherwell, Nelson Mandela Bay where he planned to plant a church. At the end of the crusade he told the crowd that everyone who was from another church should go back to their congregations. Only those people who came to Jesus during the crusade should stay. Six people remained and today they are core leaders in the thriving and unique congregation he leads.
The pastor of Good News Outreach Church — the same church family in which he first accepted Jesus as a Grade 7 pupil — said the course of his ministry changed dramatically in 2018 when he was introduced to the Discovery Bible Study, a discipleship tool that aims to create a safe space where people discover answers to their questions directly from the Bible.
Loyiso said he immediately shared the vision of the tool with his congregation. Then members of his church began visiting homes, asking people if they could read the Bible together in their homes, helping them to discover answers to their problems from the Bible, and agreeing on practical steps to address those problems.
Since then many small home-based discipleship groups have been birthed and those groups have birthed more groups. The expanding movement of home discipleship groups now includes fourth and fifth generation groups with no sign of stopping the journey of multiplication.
“I strongly believe this is the way to go: it’s the desire of God and the heartbeat of Jesus Christ to make disciples, not to make converts and members,” said Loyiso who is a husband to Phumeza and a father to three young children.
Discipling people this way is a slow but deep process but it produces authentic disciples who make disciples, he said contrasting it with many people who respond to Jesus at emotional altar calls only to fall away soon afterwards.
“The problem of much of the Church today is that we are discipling those who are in the church but we need to go out – even being prepared to spend time discipling somebody who is still smoking and going out to sell her body. If you can stay there, when she discovers God for herself she will become a wholehearted follower of Jesus and will go and tell others,” said Loyiso.
His church’s weekly rhythm includes discipling group meetings in homes, training and mentoring meetings with his leaders and corporate gatherings at their church venue where clusters of home groups gather together.
He said that during the Covid lockdown, while many other churches were closing, his congregation grew substantially because they distributed food parcels and ran a soup kitchen combined with starting new home-based discipleship groups. He is still combining soup kitchen ministry and discipling — but now they are feeding orphans and people in a local clinic queue where people start lining up at 4am in their desperation to be among those who receive medical attention.
In addition to leading his church in Motherwell, Loyiso serves in several influential Kingdom organisations such as Africa For Christ, Adopt a Village and 248. Through these partnerships he is involved in church planting, serving orphans and vulnerable children, community development and winning cities for Jesus. And a common thread in his involvement in all of these areas is to bring in discipleship training following the Discovery Bible Study method. In addition to training and mentoring his own church leaders on how to run with this discipleship strategy, he trains other pastors and congregants in Nelson Mandela Bay and pastors across the country.
“In Africa, we are deep in praying to God but we are shallow in reading the Bible. If we can balance those two things we will see great exploits in South Africa,” he said.
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