A Course in Christian Discipleship for Africa

Province of SA


Umzimvubu 2022

Lesotho 2022




ByO Cape Town

St Mark

ST Mark's



regional youth conferece


mike cotterell


Bishop Dino of Zululand







Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth








ByO Cape Town

Kirstenhof RinJ group



Trevor Pearce

Free State team

Joburg 2019




South Africa and Lesotho


In South Africa Rooted in Jesus was first introduced in 2009 to the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist. Since 2011, it has been endorsed and supported for use across the province by the Growing the Church Initiative, chaired by Bishop Bishop Tsietsi Seleoane of the Diocese of Natal, and directed by Revd Bruce Woolley, who oversees Rooted in Jesus within the Province. GtC is also providing training and support for parishes wishing to use The God Who is There, RinJ's counterpart course designed for more urban and typically 'western' contexts. For more information see the Growing the Church website. Rooted in Jesus is currently in use in over half the 25 dioceses in the Anglican Province of Southern Africa. It has been translated into a number of local languages for use within South Africa.

Blog post Growing disciples in South Africa, February 2017.

"I have no doubt that God has commissioned and anointed this course for Africa in much the same way as he is using Alpha in more urban and 'western' settings. We are already starting to see remarkable things in this Diocese as people and congregations are set on fire with the love of Jesus"- Bishop Martin Breytenbach, Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, South AfricaI

In 2016 a major report on discipleship was published by the Anglican Communion - Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making. This report inaugurates an international Decade of Discipleship, and this will be Growing the Church's major focus from now on. The report endorses Rooted in Jesus, Rooted in Jesus Junior and The God Who is There for use in discipleship and disciple-making, and Estelle Adams reports that the formation of small groups in parishes will be a key element in discipleship training across the Province; "Rooted in Jesus and The God Who is There will be the tools used for training Small Group leaders who will then run small groups in their dioceses."

Board of GtC with the archbishop

"We are very grateful for what God is doing through Rooted in Jesus. 'Growing the Church' has adopted RinJ as one of the core elements in growing God’s church in our Province of 28 Dioceses. +Martin and our Board see RinJ as Alpha and 2 yrs of discipleship rolled into one. We are desperate not to cultivate a faith that is 100 miles wide and an inch deep!"- Trevor Pearce, former Director, Growing the Church, South Africa.


Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist (from 2009)

Following the successful introduction of Rooted in Jesus to the Diocese of Niassa, Mozambique, Bishop Martin Breytenbach invited a team to work in the northern rural diocese of St Mark the Evangelist in September 2009. Following a further series of diocesan Rooted in Jesus training days, a second residential conference was held in February 2011.

The vision of the diocese of St Mark's is as follows: 'To make disciples in vibrant, self-sufficient congregations established and linked to each other by sharing in resources; ministry and service; outreach and evangelism.' In October 2010 Bishop Martin wrote: "God calls us to make disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). As more of our people become true disciples we will become more effective in mission and ministry. People will discover their gifts and receive God’s power and love to use them. This will lead to better ministry in the church, evangelism in the community, community development and other ministries of compassion. It is very encouraging to see how Rooted in Jesus is spreading in many of our parishes – and I can see the difference! This is our primary Diocesan tool for making disciples."

The Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist is linked with the Diocese of Mara in Tanzania, and in March 2011 and April 2012 a team travelled to the Diocese of Mara to introduce Rooted in Jesus and support its ongoing development there.

A further training conference was held within the Diocese of St Mark in March 2013. Bishop Martin reported that RinJ is now a fully established part of the life of the diocese, where it is used for confirmation preparation and for foundational training for Lay Ministers and Self Supporting Clergy.

In July 2013 a diocesan team led a further training conference for Youth Leaders and for leaders from the Diocese of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The first Rooted in Jesus Junior training in South Africa took place in Polokwane in May 2014. Afterwards, Bishop Martin wrote to every parish as follows: "As you know, the vision of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist is to make disciples… (Matthew 28:18-20). That is why I am so passionate about using Rooted in Jesus as one of our foundational tools for ministry and mission. Now we have become the first Diocese in ACSA to run a full Rooted in Jesus Junior training seminar. When I visited the course to hand out certificates I was thrilled to see all those who were present, including a number of committed, enthusiastic young people."

A further conference was held in May 2015, and some of the groups have visited Junior groups in Cape Town. Bishop Martin attributes an increase in the number of people being confirmed in the diocese to RinJ.

"This material is foundational for Confirmation and Lay Minister Training. This year we are introducing RinJ Junior for children and Sunday Schools. I would also like to see every member of the Diocese trained in discipleship using this or similar material!" Bishop Martin Breytenbach

Diocese of Zululand (from 2010)

In October 2010 the Diocese of Zululand hosted its firs Rooted in Jesus conference, facilitated by a team from the UK and South Africa.

The team ran two 4 day conferences, the first for the clergy and lay leaders of the diocese of Zululand, and the second for the clergy of the diocese of Grahamstown, with 32 delegates from the Diocese of Umzimvubu also attending. These three dioceses represent a cross section of the diverse society that is South Africa. Umzimvubu is a young diocese serving a relatively undeveloped and predominantly rural area; 84% speak Xhosa as their primary language, and 20% of the population have received no schooling. Grahamstown and Zululand are historic dioceses with both rural and highly urbanised populations, Grahamstown in particular including many professional people who use English as their primary language. Archdeacon Mark Spyker believes that the spiritual challenge of RinJ is equally need by both groups.

In early 2012 the diocese held a series of Rooted in Jesus mini conferences, each over a single weekend, in five different locations across the diocese. The conferences were attended by 267 people. By October 2012 a total of 500 people had been trained to lead groups.

"I am convinced more than ever before that spiritual renewal and growth in our parishes is directly proportional to the intentional development of small faith-sharing groups. I have a dream. I dream of the Diocese of Zululand of the future as a dynamic network of cell groups where brothers and sisters are nurtured in their spiritual and human growth and equipped for mission. During the last twelve months or so, the Lord has put an urgency in my heart for a Christian Discipleship course called 'Rooted in Jesus'" - Bishop Dino Gabriel, speaking at the Diocesan Synod, October 2009.

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Diocese of Grahamstown (from 2010)

Grahamstown, like Zululand, is a historic diocese with both rural and highly urbanised populations, Grahamstown in particular including many professional people who use English as their primary language. Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the diocese of Grahamstown in November 2010, at the invitation of Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali. 50 leaders attended a single 4 day conference.

Diocese of Umzimvubu (from 2010)

Umzimvubu is a young diocese serving a relatively undeveloped and predominantly rural area; 84% speak Xhosa as their primary language, and 20% of the population have received no formal education. Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Diocese in November 2010, when 32 delegates were able to attend the training conference hosted by the Diocese of Grahamstown. Further training was held by Growing the Church in July 2022, with 65 people attending.

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Anglican Youth Conference, January 2011

Rooted in Jesus has been approved and accredited by the Provincial Youth Council as a strategic tool for the spiritual development of young people, and in January 2011 Trevor Pearce, Director of the Growing the Church initiative across the Province, and Tony Lawrence, Provincial Youth Coordinator, convened a conference for 35 invited delegates from 6 dioceses located within reach of Johannesburg. The team was drawn from both the UK and the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, and the aim was that those attending should not only launch Rooted in Jesus groups in their parishes, but that they should become spokesmen and women for Rooted in Jesus within their dioceses. 15 of them are now being given further training to equip them as Rooted in Jesus ambassadors and trainers for the future.

Diocese of Christ the King (from 2011)

Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Diocese of Christ the King in September 2011, by a team from Growing the Church. The Diocese is small but highly populated, with a diverse population, and is linked with that of St Mark the Evangelist (see above).

Bishop Peter Lee writes:

"Imagine the people – in the traditionally unfashionable south of Johannesburg, commercial and residential; in the Vaal Triangle around Sharpeville and Sebokeng, Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark, residential and industrial; with a little rural piece in the middle, increasingly encroached upon by low-cost government housing and informal tin-shack communities. Imagine the crowding; imagine the poverty and unemployment; imagine the ravages of HIV and AIDS, linked in to TB and malnutrition; imagine the stress upon clinics and schools, land and housing, roads and graveyards. Historically home to some of the most conservative of South Africa’s white people, and the most radical of her blacks; home to an Indian town and four major “coloured” communities, cheeck by jowl. Here is the South African story in microcosm, the tension and violence along with the humanity, humour and compassion. Here it is our privilege to serve the Anglican Church, and through it, our multilingual and many-hued community. Above all, Christ is king here and we rejoice above all in the fact of it."

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Diocese of Port Elizabeth (from 2012)

The Diocese of Port Elizabeth hosted their first Rooted in Jesus Conference in March 2012, with 85 graduating as small group leaders. The conference was facilitated by a team from Growing the Church.

Further training was provided for both Rooted in Jesus adult programme and Rooted in Jesus Junior in an online conference led by Revd Bruce Woolley of Growing the Church in April 2022.

Diocese of Mpumalanga (from 2012)

A team from the UK and the Diocese of St Mark took Rooted in Jesus to the Diocese of Mpumalanga following the international Anglicans Ablaze Conference hosted by Growing the Church and attended by representatives from 25 dioceses across the Province of Southern Africa. The team spent time with clergy and lay leaders in White River, and ran a training conference in Middleburg.

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Anglicans Ablaze Conferences (from 2012)

In October 2012 Growing the Church mounted an international conference for the 28 dioceses of the Anglican Province of Southern Africa. Held in Johannesburg and attended by up to 1400 people from 27 dioceses, it was the largest gathering of Anglicans ever held in the region. The conference was introduced by Bishop Martin Breytenbach; and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Revd Dr Alison Morgan and Bishop Graham Cray spoke to the three elements of the provincial mission statement. Helen Van Koevering reported on the growth in the Diocese of Niassa, also using Rooted in Jesus, and other speakers gave inspiring talks on different areas of mission and ministry. Representatives of many dioceses already using Rooted in Jesus were present.

Since the first conference Anglicans Ablaze has become a biennial fixture in the South African church calender. Alison Morgan returned in 2014 to speak on 'The Tools of Discipleship' and to co-host wokshops on Rooted in Jesus with Bishop Martin Breytenbach, Estelle Adams and Nicole Curtis.

Following the Anglican Communion report Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making published in 2016, GtC is now working to promote discipleship in all 28 dioceses of the Province of Southern Africa, with Rooted in Jesus and The God Who is There as key resources.

Diocese of George (from 2013)

A team led by Bishop Martin Breytenbach introduced Rooted in Jesus to the Diocese of George in February 2013, in a conference for clergy, church leaders and laity.

In August 2013 Revd Titus Daniels reported that four parishes using the course are finding that it is bringing greater meaning and depth to the personal prayer life of group members, new insight into the Bible, a new spiritual awakening and an increasing desire to reach out into the community in love and service. A follow-up conference was held in 2014, and further training was provided by a team from Growing the Church in June 2022.

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Diocese of Pretoria (from 2013)

A number of leaders from the Diocese of Pretoria attended a training conference hosted by the Diocese of St Mark's in July 2013. Further training was provided in 2016, when RinJ Junior was also introduced through a conference held in the archdeaconry of Hennops River.

"In January 2016, we had a training in Pretoria in which the archdeaconry of Hennops River was trained in Rooted in Jesus and Rooted in Jesus Junior. Sixty people attended the training. Archdeacon Garfield Jacobs and Stephen Cyster, the youth leader for the archdeaconry, organized the training. They have started using the adult version in the archdeaconry and are currently looking at the best way to implement Junior in their Sunday Schools." Stephen Cyster, Hennop's Archdeaconry Youth Coordinator.

In September 2021 a team led by Bishop Martin Breytenbach ran a Zoom training conference for new leaders. The conference took place over four Saturdays, and 42 participants were trained to lead RinJ groups. See recent news.

Diocese of Johannesburg (from 2013)

A number of leaders from the Diocese of Johannesburg attended a training conference hosted by the Diocese of St Mark's in July 2013. Further training was provided in June 2019 for lay ministers in Soweto by Growing the Church and a team from the Diocese of Free State, with more planned in the future.

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Diocese of Natal (from 2013)

The first RinJ training conference for the Diocese of Natal was held in Winterton in September 2013, and attended by 56 participants from the Archdeaconry of Uthukela and representatives from World Vision and Philakahle.

Further training was provided in May 2018, when a conference was held for lay leaders as part of the Decade of Discipleship. The training introduced participants both to Rooted in Jesus and to its companion course The God Who is There, generally used in more urban and professional contexts. In April 2019 Bruce Woolley reported that new groups are forming, and further training will be provided as part of the diocese's 15 month rotating programme.

Training is now being provided at parish level, most recently in April 2022 at Prince of Peace parish where 12 people were trained to use Rooted in Jesus Junior with their Sunday School children.


Dioceses of Table Bay, Saldanha Bay and False Bay, Cape Town (from 2013)

Rooted in Jesus, The God Who Is There (the UK version of RinJ) and Rooted in Jesus Junior are all in use in the dioceses of Cape Town, where training has been provided in a number of parishes.

Additional Rooted in Jesus training for Lay Preachers was provided in April 2022.

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Diocese of Mthatha (from 2014)

The diocese of Mthatha hosted a Rooted in Jesus Junior training conference in 2014, facilitated by Growing the Church. 38 people were trained as group leaders, and 7 as trainers.

The conference leaders write: 'We had a lovely time with the delegates, and the conference, by all accounts that we can tell, was a success. Thirty-eight people were trained in all. On the first day, we held a “train the trainers,” in which seven delegates were present. These seven trainee trainers played a leadership role in the training conference, and many of them will help to oversee the Junior programme in their diocese. We thank Bishop Sitembele Tobela Mzamane for inviting us to his diocese and Rev. Bulelwa Sihlali for her excellent organisation of the conference.'

A young mother said, “I used to be bitter towards my child because his father left me because of him. I used to beat my child. Now I have learned that God loves my child and that I need to love him too. God has put love in my heart for my child.” Another participant said, “I used to think that the Holy Spirit was for adults only. Now I understand that it is for children too."

A followup conference was held in 2016.


Diocese of Free State (from 2018)

In May 2018 a training conference was offered by Growing the Church to enable 45 clergy and lay leaders from the Diocese of Free State to lead discipleship groups using Rooted in Jesus, Rooted in Jesus Junior and The God Who is There. Bishop Dinto Letloenyane challenged all those present to establish groups, and set an example by convening a group of his own within the Diocesan Office. Other groups were soon formed, and further training is planned for school chaplains.

The training was also attended by representatives from the Diocese of Lesotho.

Diocese of Lesotho (from 2019)

Lesotho is of course a small country, encircled by South Africa, and it recently invited a team from Growing the Church to lead a training conference for both Rooted in Jesus and The God Who is There. Attended by 55 people who committed to starting 24 small groups with ten members in each, part of the conference was shown on Lesotho TV!

Additional training was provided in April and June 2022, attended by about 50 people.

Diocese of Kimberley & Kuruman (from 2019)

A Rooted in Jesus Training Conference was held in the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman at St Cyprian’s Cathedral Hall from Wednesday, 25 September to Friday, 27 September 2019. It was led by four facilitators from Growing the Church.


Looking ahead

Since 2014 Growing the Church has committed itself to providing further training across South Africa, working within the varied contexts of rural settlements and urban residential areas. Training is provided both locally and regionally, in a range of different formats according to local need. If you would like to explore the possibility of introducing Rooted in Jesus to your diocese in the Anglican Province of Southern Africa please contact Growing the Church via their website.

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"The discipleship course Rooted in Jesus continues to spread like wild fire in various parts of the Province" - Growing the Church newsletter, March 2012