A Course in Christian Discipleship for Africa








Chilema 2017




Diocese of Southern Malawi (from 2007)

Bishop James Tengatenga. Initial team led by Alison Morgan, with John Watson, John McGinley and Isaiah Chambala. John McGinley took a follow-up team in August 2008, with Cornelius Chalwe, Martin Castle and Else Tarbitt. Rooted in Jesus is used in Chichewa and Chiyao.

Rooted in Jesus is in use throughout the diocese for evangelism and discipleship, in groups led by clergy and lay leaders. The diocese has only 17 clergy, and many churches depend on dedicated lay leadership. Rooted in Jesus is seen as a key new strategy in a diocese which has hitherto relied on crusades for its evangelism, and is now looking to develop an effective strategy for lay discipleship. The programme is overseen by Martin Mlaka, Evangelism Coordinator, and his deputy Revd Richard Maidah.

The groups got off to a good start in 2007 with a pilot project in one parish and other groups meeting elsewhere. For 2008 a new training programme has been put together for the catechists, who will use Rooted in Jesus to disciple new Christians.

'For over three decades, the Anglican diocese of southern Malawi has involved itself in crusades but without a proper tool for follow-up. It is in this regard that we find the Rooted in Jesus material and methods helpful to nurture the converts right immediately after each crusade. Soon after their training, we are going to deploy the catechists one by one at each place we have a church planting crusade and where the congregations are at establishment stage' - Martin Mlaka

The 2008 visit offered training and support to a wider group of lay leaders. John McGinley reports:

People have been filled with the Spirit, given new gifts, delivered from evil spirits and healed. 45 lay people received certificates, were anointed with oil and commissioned in the power of the Holy Spirit to go and form Rooted in Jesus groups and disciple others. They are from 120 parishes and presented very positive plans on how they want to do this. Martin Mlaka wept with joy at all God is doing.

'I want to thank you for the wonderful team that you sent to this year's conference. It was great and marvellous and charismatic, you should have seen how exciting it was. It was good also to me because this year we only invited those parishes that are in Blantyre and part of Chiradzulu district. Already, this year's group has started forming groups for Rooted in Jesus. Monitoring will be easy on my side because I will not have to travel very long distances to observe how they are faring. Pray for me as I face a challenge to seeing the groups up this year. I am meeting the Bishop tomorrow to brief him on the conference. We are doing well, more than half the parishes of those who attended the conference have started their small groups'. - Martin Mlaka

Diocese of Upper Shire (from 2015)

In November 2015 John Lee took a joint team from the UK and Zambia to the Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi, in response to a longstanding invitation from Bishop Brighton Malasa. Bishop Brighton gave a warm and authoritative welcome to RinJ. The conference was opened by the two Zambian team members Fr Kapomba Sekeleti and Canon Susan Chulu, who were joined the next day by the 3 UK team members. 31 clergy and 49 lay leaders were trained to lead groups, and a couple of weeks later we received the following surprised and moving email from Fr Edward Kawinga:

Rooted in Jesus is a real eye opener! There is a lot l didn't know about my parishioners! Group introductions alone reveal that our parishioners are dying in silence and I am very convinced that RinJ is the real Cure,”
Fr Edward Kawinga, Diocese of Upper Shire, Malawi, November 2015

A followup conference was held in February 2017, and Fr Elliot Litereko reported that RinJ is bringing great changes to the lives of those involved, with people committing their lives to Christ for the first time, and groups becoming self sustaining and offering love and support to others in the community. Bishop Brighton writes:

We are happy and glad that the laity of this Diocese can be given such a chance to undertake theological studies in their local parishes which was perceived as for the ordained ministers. When I visit the parishes I have seen people gathering and undergoing these training on Saturdays and Sundays after Mass. I am delighted to see such progress. I am convinced that if people (the laity) are rooted in Jesus having undergone these trainings, we shall have both the laity and clergy rich spiritually which will lessen the tasks of our priests as we shall have knowledgeable faithfuls.


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