We heard recently that our dear friend Pete Smyth (known to most as PJ) had been diagnosed with a cancer known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Pete is now undergoing a six month course of chemotherapy as the Dr.'s seek to destroy the cancer.
Cancer really is the word no-one ever wants to hear and is a word that can truly crush even the bravest soul, so as I was reading Pete's Personal Blog I was really encouraged by his positive outlook on the diagnosis and prognosis.
What really struck me about Pete's blog was his tackling of the issue of leadership in GodFirst church in Jo'burg. Over the years we've experienced many styles of leadership, some good, some average and many just downright poor but to all the church leaders I have ever known I would commend the following from Pete:
"I will need a full 6 months of chemo, and thus be completely out of action for 6 months. I will be meeting with the Godfirst Congregation Leaders over the next couple of weeks to seek God for an action plan for the coming months in Godfirst, and we will update you in due course. However, we can all be deeply excited about the coming season because Jesus is building his church, and fortunately we not only already have a decentralized structure of congregations of which I am only directly involved in the leading of Bryanston, but we have layer upon layer of committed and gifted preachers, leaders and soldiers throughout our ranks, and I anticipate a season of great blessing, health and release of many into ministry maturity."
Wow! There is so much in here to soak up and even to marvel at. It would be all too easy for the leader of a big thriving church community to keep a tight rein on things and seek to make himself look good, and believe me, I've seen it happen! But in Pete we see the total opposite. Knowing that he's going to be out of the leadership for 6 months Pete's not concerned as he knows that those he's been raising up, training and equipping for God's service will do exactly what they've been equipped to do. Praise God!
Whatever happens, our thoughts and prayers are with Pete, Ash and the boys, they're a great family who we've had the pleasure of knowing. We've laughed together, cried together and prayed together and will always be grateful to God for letting our paths cross for a few years in Zimbabwe.