Tag Archive: sean du toit

so there has been a lot of discussion since Don Miller posted his two blogs suggesting that the traditional sunday church vibe is not for him and i responded with my piece titled ‘Why you should stop going to church’ which was not actually at all about encouraging people to stop going to church, but more trying to enlarge our definition of what church is about… you are the church so you don’t go to church – you go to a meeting at a place at a specific time, but church is something you should be every day and everywhere.

and then my buddy Rob Lloyd shared the best and kindest response to Don Miller in this blog post by a guy called Carey Nieuwhof titled ’10 thoughts on exiting the local church – a response to Donald Miller’ and i agreed with a lot of what he said and his spirit and tone was just incredible [why do christians generally seem to struggle to respond well to people who think differently to them?]

but i still do have some thoughts on this topic of my own…


on sunday morning at the church i work part-time at [yes, that’s right, i am someone who is part of a local congregation and so maybe my thoughts on that not necessarily being the be all and end all carry the tiniest little bit of weight? i’m not someone who has left who is saying everyone should leave!] i played a game with my youth where i gave them two options and made them choose a favouite between the two.

started with easy ones like Dogs vs Cats, Coffee vs Tea, Television vs Music and then progressed to some slightly tricker ones like ‘Justin Bieber vs Miley Cyrus’ [Bieber won hands down!], ‘Death by Unicorn vs Death by T-Rex’ [guys chose T-Rex cos of logic – quick, painless death – girls all chose unicorn cos “ooh magical!”] and then finished off with some real stinkers like ‘Growing an extra finger out of your forehead vs Growing an extra ear on your elbow’ [ear, cos easier to hide!] and ‘You kiss a skunk but nobody knows vs You don’t kiss a skunk but everybody in the world thinks you did’ and ‘You get $1 000 000 but you lose both your thumbs vs You work ten hours a day every day for the rest of your life and only ever make enough money to just get by’ [amazingly everyone except me chose to say goodbye to their thumbs!]

so really became a kind of ‘Would you rather…’ game and while i was thinking about that and the pillow fight lesson that i had planned for them about whether you are in the middle of the action or on the side watching or recording it.

and it made me think of church and this whole discussion slash rant that has come up based on whether or not everyone needs to ‘go to church.’


it feels to me like some people [yes, not all of you], in fact many of the people in this conversation would choose [if they had to] people looking like church rather than being church [and yes, the clever ones among you are saying, ‘But Brett, surely it can be both?’]

so people have been loudly saying that people need to go to church on a Sunday. some of those people might concede that the Sunday part is actually not all that important and so allow you to do church on another day. others might concede that it doesn’t need to be in a church building but just needs to be the same group of people meeting together regularly. i imagine we might even be able to get as far as some people conceding that singing isn’t absolutely necessary [although this would be a tougher one because we all know singing = worship] and so might allow us to use bible reading, liturgy, silence, lyric reading and other forms of worship.

my good friend and tag team buddy Sean brought it down to these four things: worship, fellowship, edification, and encounter

none of which have to happen on a Sunday to take place.

none of which have to happen in a specific building to take place.

all of which could happen in a lounge or coffee shop or besides a park bench.

which is always the point i was trying to make [and to some extent Don Miller i think, although he might take it even further than me]


i know of a bunch of churches that meet on a sunday in a specific building at a specific time where a huge percentage of the people there can get caught up so much more in the way things look and happen from a religious or traditional point of view [you can’t worship with that kind of music, you can’t do communion this way, you have to dress like this to go to church etc] than on whether anyone is actually following Jesus or not [so people holding on to unforgiveness, people gossiping profusely, people judging those outside the church etc]

i also know of some people who don’t meet in traditional sunday church who still create space for worship, fellowship, edification, and encounter in their lives although not necessarily in ways that other people would be happy with… and who are living out the kingdom of God so brilliantly and obviously without question.

and i imagine – quite strongly – that if we played the pillow game and put one of those things on either side, that a lot of church leaders and those commenting would actually honestly choose people who pitch up on a Sunday over people living out the kingdom who are not part of a Sunday gathering.

Looking like church vs Being Church.

and that for me seems rather sad.

because if i take a moment to try and imagine which of the two scenarios Jesus would be more happy with, i don’t feel like there is a question at all. 

i also am reminded of His response to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were the ones who looked like church [but hardly acted like it] of His day [He had some really harsh words for some of them!]


# i am saying that for a lot of people regular Sunday church works and that is great and they should continue and always be examining their hearts and the way the church does things to make sure that they are aligned with Jesus way.

# i am saying that i think there is a bigger definition of what church is which comes out of the idea and understanding and description of church as either the bride or the body of Christ, both of which are more unified sounding than most of what we see today – that the people of God collectively are ‘The Church’ and that we must always seek for ways to bring us closer together rather than trying to find things that bring us apart.

# i am saying that i think Sean’s four pillars of church are very helpful to keep in mind and pursue – worship, fellowship, edification, and encounter – but that they will not always look exactly the same depending on who is involved and the context of the meeting.

# i am saying that any decision made about how effective church is or isn’t based on how it feels like it is being effective or working FOR ME is unhelpful and unhealthy and likely to be fraught with danger and brokenness – there always needs to be a measure of serving others, or connecting with people that don’t only look like, sound like or think like you so that your faith can be grown and challenged. 

# i am suggesting that for many people the idea of a certain place on a certain day at a certain time short-circuits their brains and has them thinking that church doesn’t need to be happening any other time, place or day when we have been called to be salt and light and the fragrance of Christ among those who are perishing, all of which require us to be a little bit closer to darkness and stench and badness of taste.

# i am suggesting that being church far outweighs looking like church and if i ever had to choose between the two [and maybe i don’t] then i will choose being church every day of the week. 

[For another post on church and the ridiculous notion of ‘Going to church’, click here]


so about a week ago, Blue Like Jazz author ‘Donald Miller’ blogged about why ‘I don’t worship God by Singing, I connect with Him elsewhere’ and the internet went wild – Burn the Witch! Okay not quite, although Don did tweet a little later, ‘Blogged about not going to church today. More shame and guilt @replies than I’ve ever received on twitter. I feel immense forgiveness.’

He followed this one up with one titled, ‘Why I don’t go to church very often, a follow up blog.’ and once again people went nuts.

i feel like i have some idea of what Don was trying to say and i definitely agreed with him on some stuff and so responded with this of my own:

I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t die so you could meet in a building

and the internet went absolutely… well ‘as you were’ [i’m not a very big internet rippler]…

but then anyone who is anyone [and many who are not] had an opinion and most of them were writing blog posts on it and the topic gained a lot of airplay which is not the worst of things – hopefully people have been listening to each other and at least trying to hear what everyone else is saying and hopefully God will be moving our hearts towards a better and more effective understanding of what church is and what it is meant to be…


well, firstly you shouldn’t! [stop going to church i mean] that’s not what i am saying. i don’t think that’s what Don was saying. and while some people took a moment to listen and then responded to what they heard, i think the majority of people got an idea in their head and then responded to that. which was largely unhelpful.

if you know me to any level of depth you will know that i am a champion of the church. in fact if you ask me what my passion is in life, i will describe it this way: i am passionate about seeing the church live out who we say we are and who we are supposed to be.

i am thoroughly convinced that the church is God’s idea and plan and method of transforming this world, BUT i am not convinced that that needs to take place on a sunday at a particular building.

and i don’t want to spend this whole post trying to speak on behalf of Donald Miller, because i can’t, but my impression was that he was saying the same thing on this point – i am not trying to get people to stop meeting and ‘doing church’ on sundays… what i am trying to suggest is that maybe church or the church is a little bit bigger than that.


my tag team buddy, Sean Du Toit, who studies Greek and reads commentaries for fun, had this to say:

I think you’ve missed something significant by making the word “church” a synonym for “people of God”. The word ἐκκλησία means ‘assembly’, or ‘gathering’. In the Greek Lexicon, Louw-Nida describe the term this way: “The term ἐκκλησία was in common usage for several hundred years before the Christian era and was used to refer to an assembly of persons constituted by well- defined membership… For the NT it is important to understand the meaning of ἐκκλησία as ‘an assembly of God’s people.’ In the rendering of ἐκκλησία a translator must beware of using a term which refers primarily to a building rather than to a congregation of believers. In many contexts ἐκκλησία may be readily rendered as ‘gathering of believers’ or ‘group of those who trust in Christ.’”

And more, which you can read in the comments section in my first blog on this.

however, this and many other comments addressed to Don or myself seems to insinuate/assume or imply that i was suggesting that Christ followers don’t need to gather. and that is completely not true – there is no community without communing and i believe strongly in community. what i keep saying is that maybe the gathering doesn’t have to necessarily be on a Sunday in a church building. it can be [and good for those who do that and are part of that – like i am, i am part of a church congregation that meets on a Sunday – this whole discourse is not me trying to get out of doing that] but it can also be other types of gathering which will need to be intentional but which perhaps can take place at a meal table, breaking actual bread and drinking wine and being closer perhaps to what Jesus meant when He said, ‘Do this in remembrance of Me?’ 

the other side of this whole conversation for me is the mission of the church, which includes things like:

[1] Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, mind and your neighbour as yourself. Also love your enemy and bless them.

[2] Forgiving everyone who has wronged you and even interrupting worship if necessary to go and make right with a brother who has sinned against you.

[3] Making disciples and baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything Jesus taught us

[4] Reaching out to the least of these, in particular widows and orphans

oh, and [5] Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me and [6] be known by the Love we have for each other and be one in Christ.

Now i know Sunday congregations that are barely living out the mission of the church – in fact there are many where people come and are entertained and pretty much watch or maybe participate in a performance and then return home largely unchanged and expect that other people will do the above things which is after all why they put their money in the collection plate anyways.

I also know groups of people in different guises who do not attend a Sunday congregation necessarily but who love God and are completely living out the mission of the church in community and who are growing and being led and wrestling with scripture and serving those around them and worshipping God through art and spoken word and music and dance.

According to the majority of the internet buzz, we are saying that the first group is more “Church” than the second group.

What i am wondering is, when both groups stand before Jesus one day, which one will He identify as His bride? 

The Parable of the Two Sons [Matthew 21]

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 ” ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

being church

Those who said they were the thing vs. Those who were the thing? Would love to hear your thoughts…

I’ve heard from my buddy Sean so far… what things do YOU think define church as this thing we are needing to be part of?

[in case it wasn’t clear enough, i want to state that i am NOT telling you to leave church – just to understand a wider definition for it that may be larger than the idea you have in mind – there needs to be a combination of people gathering together – in some way, place, form – but also people living out the Jesus-followingness of being a Christian – has to be both!]

[Looking at the question, ‘Did you go to church today?’]

[If you had to choose between looking like church or acting like church]

it feels like sometimes in life there is a choice between being a lover or a fighter.

my good mate Sean Du Toit shared this quote with me on my birthday:

quote having recently written a post where i gave some focus to internet trolls and then reading this quote, i imagine we are talking about two different groups of people here.

it feels to me like the people described by St. Augustine are not the ones picking fights in Facebook comment threads, being pulled into Twitter battles or writing mean and nasty things in comment threads [or pointing out enthusiastically who gets to go to heaven and who is destined for hell]

and so maybe this comment right here holds the power or solution to end those things

the cure for being an online douche so to speak…

# find someone to help

# move towards someone in need

# look around for the suffering in the world

# listen to someone’s story

and so, if you ever find yourself feeling a little douchy [it’s a word!] why not take a step back and pick one of those things and go and do it.

go and be it.

blessed are you who choose love over fightery!

i am participating in NaBloPoMo which is known as National Blog Posting Month in which the invitation or challenge is to post a blog every day [except on day 2 of the month when you are camping in a place with no internet signal even for your cute little hotspot device!] and for this one i decided to take up one of the prompts they provided:

Do you have a mentor? Tell us about him or her. Are you a mentor to someone else? Tell us what that relationship has added to your life.

mentori wouldn’t say i have a mentor. in fact the only story i tell of having a mentor is one i had for literally five minutes. a great pastory guy by the name of Craig Duvel who i have grown to respect in leaps and bounds over the years but who always lived in a province far away from mine [and since he moved to my province, i moved country so that didn’t help a lot]. i remember sitting with him at a camp and i think it was related to my struggles with pornography/masturbation at the time but his advice was, ‘Keep a Short Account with God’ and i have used that and shared that many times since then. He told a story of how one morning at 3am he was woken up and remembered some unconfessed sin in his life and how he went to the lounge and fell facedown before God and made it right with God… the idea being that you start a new day with a fresh slate not being burdened or judged by your brokenness or any recent mess you may have been the cause of. And it works. When we allow sin to build up, it is like building a tab at a bar – it gets to the point where it is more natural to say, “Stick it on my tab” than it is to really be grieved by it or want to deal with it. So any time you become aware of sin in your life, or anything breaking intimate relationship with Him then right there and then, or as soon as possible, deal with it, make right and if you need to make right with people too, then do it as soon as you can.

so only 5 minutes of mentoring, but it was completely helpful.


for me it has usually been a story of either not recognising any older men in the contexts i am in who i respect in the sense that i would want them mentoring me, or that those people who i have seen with those things  just seeming so incredibly busy with so much other stuff that they would not be suitable candidates. i definitely had a mentor in my earliest youth leading role in terms of helping me lead and grow in confidence and maturity in a lot of leadership related areas, but i think to some extent we had a difference of vision and ethos and so it didn’t feel like the kind of mentoring i imagine, but i am completely grateful for his presence in my life back then and owe a lot to him.

but in the absence physical mentors in terms of men who are older than me pouring into my life it has become a combination of literary mentors [so the influence of passionate men of God like Keith Green and John Wimber and others who spoke into my life through the pages of books], peer mentors [so being co-mentored by good friends of a more similar age or even younger like Sean Du Toit, Bruce Collins, Rob Lloyd, Andy Pitt and i could go on] and also through men like Paul and Peter, David and Moses, and of course Jesus Christ. none of these were formal mentoring relationships, but through watching and listening and late night conversations and hearing stories of and from, these people spoke [and continue to speak] loudly into my life.

‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’ [Proverbs 27.6]

i have absolutely loved this verse and i stand by it. if you do not have people in your life who have the invitation to speak honestly [and cause something that feels like a wound cos who likes rebuke ever?] then you are doing yourself an absolute disservice. Rob Lloyd has been one of those voices in my life [his description of me as reminding him of Paul – “passionate yet tactless” – is one that stands strong in my memory] and i have so much love and appreciation towards him for that and taking a quick look over myself, all of those bruises have healed in such a way that i can’t even remember where they were [but the lessons have stuck!]

so be mentored! it is so important – any fool who thinks they can walk this life well by themselves is one. and a good way to start is by asking – is there a man/woman you deeply respect or feel you can learn something from? Ask them if they will have coffee with you once a week, once a month. [hint: pay for it! This is completely something worth investing in – for the price of a regular cup of coffee or breakfast you can have your life revolutionised? seems about right] The worst they can do is say no. [Well, i guess the worst they can do is whip out a swordfish and carve their initials in your face but if that happens it is an indication that they were possibly not the right person to be mentoring you?]

and if you can’t find someone to ask then do what i did in terms of finding mentors and role models elsewhere. be careful not to pedestalise them – the closer you get to those ‘perfect’ people who are so close to God and so good at life, the more flawed you will see them to be, so stay grounded in admiring the Jesus in them and learning from that.

try and be mentored by a diverse crowd. if you are a white male [as i am] and only invite white males to mentor you [through the books you read, music you listen to, preaches you hear] then you are missing out on a whole lot of good life lessoning. invite someone from a different race or culture than your own. from a different gender. from a very different generation. and start with stories – listen to their life, hear lessons they have learned, obstacles they have overcome, failures they have endured and successes they have witnessed and been a part of.

it may not look like you want it to look. but if you are not being mentored it is largely your own fault. do something about it.

and perhaps a great way to start is to find someone who you can mentor, meet with regularly, intentionally pour into… but more of that in my next post…

[And if you have a moment to comment, I would LOVE to hear some stories of people who have mentored you in a way you found helpful]

[To continue to the next part on being a MENTOR, click here]

so, in the divine way that coincidences seem to work at times, this last week i heard from my new friend matt about a guy called peter rollins and then a day or so later my tag team buddy sean posts a comment to me in the facebook ‘worshipping community’ group about peter rollins…

i really liked the provocativenessity of it so thort i’d share it…

Peter Rollins retells the parable of Jesus and the feeding of the 5000 like this:

“Jesus withdrew privately by boat to a solitary place, but the crowds continued to follow Him. Evening was now approaching and the crowds, many of whom had travelled a great distance, were growing hungry.

14 Seeing this Jesus sent his disciples out to gather food, but all they could find were five loaves of bread and two fishes. 15 Then Jesus asked that they go out again and gather up the provisions which the crowds had brought to sustain them in their travels. Once this was accomplished there stood before Jesus a mountain of fish and bread. 16 He then directed the people to sit down on the grass.

17 Standing before the food and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks to God and broke the bread. 18 Then he passed the food around his disciples and they ate like kings in full view of the starving people. 19 But what was truly amazing, what was miraculous about this event, was that when they had finished the massive banquet there was not even enough crumbs to fill a starving hand.”

which is quite controversial and touching on blasphemous i guess if that is all it is – but when you read the explanation it lights up the dynamite and sets the challenge…

‘Rollins’ ending is not intended to raise questions of Jesus—but questions of us. If we consider it scandalous that Jesus and His disciples would hoard food from the hungry crowd, do we consider it just as scandalous if we do the same?

While Jesus provided generous food for everyone, I’m often consumed with making sure there is just enough for me. I can’t say I follow Jesus if I hoard God’s generosity for myself.’

[got this from an article – on ourdailyjournal.org which you can find here – http://www.ourdailyjourney.org/2010/04/08/enough-for-me%5D

yes, like you, i am over it.

and yes, i still have not read the book, altho mostly because i have not had the opportunity to yet.

however, because my friend sean du toit posted the link i had to at least check it out [i trust sean] and this really does seem to be the most balanced view of the new rob bell book that i have read as it highlights stuff rob gets right and then critiques [with a lot of explanation and referece] the bits he is not in agreement with quite strongly. probably what i like most of all is that he doesn’t judge rob bell, he judges the book.

so for anyone reading or who has read the book, mark has some great wisdom and caution for you which i really think you should check out [which you can do by clicking here]

here is the last paragraph from the article so you can get an idea of the kind of tone and emphasis the article takes, but i encourage you to read the whole thing – it has some good stuff to say:

“Now, having said all that, I want to be clear. I am not saying Rob Bell is not a Christian and standing in judgment over him. My own writings and theology are open to the same critique. None of us is a perfect teacher, leader and free from false ideas. To be fair to him too, he does not quite in the book emphatically state that he is a universalist, but poses a lot of questions. However, as he does so, he clearly sides with the idea arguing it is a better story. I disagree, the gospel as we have it in the narrative and text is the only story and we need to ensure we handle it carefully and accurately. I am contending with his ideas, I think he is reading the gospel wrongly. I would still encourage people to read the book, but do so with a Bible in hand, and don’t just read the texts he refers to. If you do, you might find yourself agreeing too easily. Read the whole NT again and again, pen in hand, notebook at the ready, note what it says about life, death, hope and eternity. Consider the whole story and don’t write off the bits you don’t like. See if there are ways that you can make sense of the story, but hold all its elements in balance. I think as you do, you will find that you will hear a similar but different story to the one painted by RB, but don’t worry, God wins.”


i am privileged to be friends with a lot of really talented people, especially in the area of music, and was recently inspired to write a series of blogs that showcase some of these people and their talent so that more people can hear what they are producing – this will take the form of a number of interviews with links provided so that you can go and check them out and first up is a guy i like to call nick groves (being his name and all) – i met nick thru my good buddy and tag team partner sean du toit and he has led the worship sessions on a number of camps i have spoken on…

Q:So Nick, i know you used to be in the water industry in somerset west, south africa (i know there’s a water industry in somerset west?) running your own company, but it’s been a little while so tell us where are you these days and what are you involved with?

A:In 2006 me and Beks were just married a few months, and we were invited to join our mutual friend Sean Du Toit in his youthwork “Primal” that was still in its infancy. I’d been working as a sales representative for H2o- marketing water purifiers and coolers since Dec 1999, and so the move from Muizenberg to Somerset West meant a change in work, as the travel would have been too much. Some doors opened and used the profits of the sale of my house to start up my own H2o branch- servicing Paarl and Somerset West. So since then we have been growing this baby business of ours – I suppose now it’s become a naughty teenager- full of challenges and growing pains, its a lot of fun and hard work, but what I love most is seeing it touch and enrich peoples lives.

The flip side to this coin is that I get the time to do my “real job”- writing songs, arranging music, learning more of how the recording programs work etc.

We are currently part of The Bay Community Church in Muizenberg- involved in music, and leading a small home group in Somerset West. This year my wife and I decided to pursue what we love (Beks loves photography) and so we try give our time after work to develop our skills in these areas.

Every now and then I get a chance to contribute to whats happening in New Gens youth work “Urban Liberty”- its always great to see what God is doing in other streams. They are an exciting bunch of people on a mission to make an impact.

Q: I’ve known you for a decent amount of time and generally in the context of music – where do you think your interest of music comes from and how did you get started in playing and singing?

A: I had private classical guitar lessons at primary school level- it only lasted a little over a year, as we could afford it. I then discovered in grade 7 that it was actually cool to play guitar! [even more so around the girls;) ]. But it was only when I was nearing the end of high school that I took it up again, started singing and playing at home groups and youth meetings. That was the start of becoming a worship leader for me.

Q:when you’re not peddling water or music’ing, what other interests does mister groves have? hobbies? pastimes? sport? cooking?

A: Lately i’ve taken up running- I have successfully found the flattest route in heldervue- a 5km that always kills me. Ive also got into gym-ing a bit but my favourite is always either a game of tennis or at best a surf trip – either JBay or Elands Bay. I also enjoy cooking, but I’m not a fanatic about that.

Q:what bands or artists do you enjoy listening to?

A:Like most, I would say there is a variety depending on what Im doing, but i’d prob rank my current favourites 1-5 as follows:

1. Future of Forestry
2. DubFx
3. Vusi Mahlasela
4. Mumford & Sons
5. Radiohead

Q:In recent times you’ve been writing songs and offering them to people to listen to, what is your plan at the moment in terms of the music scene, or i guess what is your dream scenario?

A:Musicians these days live in a privileged time where you can upload a song and in an instant you can touch numbers of people. I remember when I did my first 3 track album- I sold 100 copies and I was over the moon. But nowdays people don’t have to pay to listen to you, and it doesn’t cost much to run your own home studio – so its an ideal win-win situation: Artists get to create and release their work at little cost, and can reach many people for free. Thanks facebook 🙂

I suppose the dream of any creative person is for their craft to be seen or heard- the purpose of creating for me is about sharing. My dream is to share a moment or an experience. My greatest goal in terms of writing songs is to be able to get people to feel the message of a song, instead of hearing it.

At the moment my only plan is to keep creating music that people can have for free, and see the group of people it reaches grow. Life at the moment limits me in this area – but we are looking to soon be selling our business, and who knows what life would look like after that? The dream for me is not just music though, I want to be a part of a group of creative group who’s craft affects people in a positive way – it’s amazing how a song or any other work of art has an ability to lift people. I just love seeing the creative do that.

to read the rest of this interview simply click here

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