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  • Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.

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Entries in Alpha (11)

Saturday
Jun282014

Pastoral care to Christians in the World of Work

This week I had the joy of speaking at a number of sessions at the Alpha Workplace Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - as always it was wonderful to be with my friends here and such a great blessing to see how the Church sensitively operates in this context.

At today's session I was asked to post the slides from my talk to the internet.  So, please find a copy of the slides (which are an 'un-formatted' copy, i.e., they do not have the Alpha branding and style sheet applied).

Then, for a description of the content here is part of a post from 2008 when I first developed this theology.  You can also download a 30 minute Audio recording for Radio Pulpit that discusses these ideas here: '5 paradigms that could change your work into worship' here (6MB MP3).  If you are interested here is a short preview of the book in which I wrote about the 5 paradigms - 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' (1MB PDF).  If you are interested in buying a copy of the book you can get it on Amazon here.  Finally, I have just recently been notified that an academic article that I wrote on research done among Christians in South Africa the world of work and Christian needs, is being published in the Journal 'Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship' - if you are interested to read that article please drop me an email and I'll let you know when it is published.

Here is the little video clip that I used (which was recorded a few years ago with Graham Power).

My ministry changed radically about 9 years ago when a wealthy business person came to faith in Christ. He is a gifted and capable person who had made an incredible success of his companies. My first inclination, when he asked how he could serve the Lord, was to suggest that he get involved in the leadership of our Church, or perhaps run our Church's finance commission (clearly he was a gifted leader and a person who knew how to work with money). If I had suggested that to him the result may have been two things.

1) I may have helped one Methodist Church in a single city of South Africa to develop.
2) I'm fairly certain that in the process this new Christian would have become bored and frustrated with the task I had assigned him to and he would have moved on.

Thankfully I was dumb enough NOT to get him into that position - rather I invited him to join a small group that I was running specifically for business people. Here I knew his peers could start to disciple him on things like Christian worship, loving service, stewardship and the use of his influence and resources for Christ's Kingdom... The long and short of it is that the person I am talking about is Graham Power, who went on to start the Global Day of Prayer(which this year had between 300 and 400 million persons participating).

Graham has become a significant figure in world Christianity. God has used him to bring new excitement, passion, and drive to many Churches and denominations worldwide. Equally significant has been his influence among his peers (all leaders in their own right, either in business or politics) who have made some significant choices that have bettered the lives of many millions of persons in countries such as Ghana, Argentina, Kenya, the USA and a host of other nations.

I have come to consider this one fact: Graham was created by God to do business... It's what he does well, and he God blesses his efforts.

So, when Graham works to God's glory and towards the aims of achieving God's will for his companies, the industry in which he works, and the nation that he influences, then his work becomes worship!

So, here's a little audio recording that I did for my 'radio pulpit' show (The Ministry and Me), it was broadcast in the week of the 20th of August 2008, and you can order an audio copy of the CD from Radio Pulpit if you wish.

Download the '5 paradigms that could change your work into worship' here (6MB in MP3 format).

The show was broadcast in the week of the 6th of August and I have had many emails and calls about it. 

Let me know what you think!

 

Tuesday
Jun242014

Have Brompton will travel! On my way to Malaysia, Holland and Germany

On the road again. Have Brompton bicycle will travel! Ha ha!

Dubai tonight, Kuala Lumpur for the #AWC2014 conference where I am delivering a plenary talk on business without corruption and a workshop on caring for Christians in the world of work. I can't wait to see my friends in Malaysia again - I am do close to them! It feels like a second home! I also have the joy of preaching at my friend Alvin Tan's Church in KL on Sunday.

Then it is off to Holland for further research on my second PhD at the end of the week. I hope to make a big dent in this project! Need to get it done!

Then on 22 July I head to Germany to speak at the ISTR conference on 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' as a 4th generation social movement (refer to Castells and David Korten). My colleague, Dr Nadine Bower-du Toit and I have worked on a paper together for that conference.

I head home on 29 July and start teaching a Master of Theology course on the ethics of care the next day.

I am missing my family already! This is the first big trip of 2014. Compared to last year my travel schedule has been light. But, it is never easy to leave home!

I am excited for the next few weeks! Blessed to have my Brompton with me! I am sure to get some good riding in while in Holland and Germany. Here is a picture of me with Doris the old Brompton in the Brompton B Bag (with all my clothes etc. in the bag as well). I use the Brompton T Bag as hand luggage, laptop bag etc. it all adds up to 30kg - the max allowable on Emirates.

I would appreciate your prayers for Megie, Courts and Liam. It is a long time to be away from home! Please also pray for the people I will serve, for my studies and for good health and safety! Thanks, Dion

Thursday
Sep192013

On our way to Malaysia!

What a blessing it was to board our flight to Malaysia (via Johannesburg and Doha) in a very wet Cape Town this evening!

What makes it such a blessing is that Megan is traveling with me to beautiful Malaysia. I am so thankful! I will be speaking at the Alpha Workplace conference in Penang and have some meetings for Unashamedly Ethical and EXPOSED in Kuala Lumpur.

I love this beautiful nation a great deal! It is a very special place and such wonderful people. I look forward to introducing Megan to Durien fruit and the warm hospitality and weather!

I will also have the joy of preaching at my friend Alvin Tan's Church this Sunday.

So keep an eye on this blog and my tumblr feed (on the left of this page or at http://digitaldion.tumblr.com for the site). I will post updates in both places.

We would appreciate your prayers for our service here! Please pray that Christ's love encounters us and our friends, that we are humble and receptive to God's leading and that our work here brings wholeness and transformation for the sake of God's Kingdom.

Tuesday
May142013

Meeting Archbishop Justin Welby - the Archbishop of Canterbury

This week I have been in London for the amazing Alpha Leadership Week.  As my previous post said I was privileged to be able to speak at the conference! What an amazing joy that was.  I am so thankful for that rare and undeserved privilege!

If you are interested in receiving a copy of the slides of my talk then please download them using this link.

We have over 200 African delegates among the 6000 registered guests that attended the conference this week.  Among them are about 70 African Church leaders, overseers of denominations, Bishops and Cardinals.  

I was overjoyed when I heard that Archbishop Justin Welby, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, was willing to host a reception for these Church leaders at Lambeth Palace.  The Archbishop and Nicky Gumbel are firm friends for many years and he was pleased to spend some time with our guests speaking about the renewal of the Church, our collective mission in the world, and his own experience of the Alpha Course in his life and ministry.

It was a most inspiring time as we spent almost 2 hours in Lambeth Palace, of which about half of it was spent in the ancient Chapel.

I had a chance to meet Archbishop Welby personally and speak with him for a few minutes about the ministry of Unashamedly Ethical and EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption.  We also spoke about my family, my ministry, and the teaching that I do at the University of Stellenbosch.  He is such a wonderfully warm and affirming man.

In his address to the Bishops he encouraged us to seek a deepened faith life through prayer and spiritual discipline, and to encourage that same life for our sisters and brothers in the clergy and among all disciples of Christ.  He also spoke of the important role of the Church to be an instrument of justice and peace in the world - not only is this an act of obedience to God's will in the world, it is also a strong witness of God's love at work in the world.  Then, he spoke about the importance of evangelization.  It is the task of Christians and the Church to be good news in the world, as well as proclaim good news to the world.  We are to do this with love, courage and creativity - he spoke particularly strongly of the Alpha Course as a tool that achieves this task through fellowship, hospitality, and creating the space for questions around faith (rather than giving concrete answers).

It was a most memorable event! 

Archbishop Justin Welby and Dion Forster

There have been many equally significant encounters with equally important people - the ordinary people like me who come from all over the world - that I would like to write about.  I'll do that as soon as I find a few minutes to write. The worship, fellowship, teaching and learning have been just wonderful.  I have not experienced anything like it in some years!

Tomorrow I have the joy of sharing in an event for EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption at the Houses of Commons with Dr Tony Campolo.  That is set to be another highlight for Christian justice this week!

 

Monday
May062013

A glorious Spring day in London

I arrived in London from Cape Town (via Dubai) at 7am or so this morning. The transit in Dubai was super tight - less than an hour after our landing was delayed! So I was not sure if my luggage would arrive with me at Heathrow. It did! So I caught the tube from Heathrow Terminal 3 to South Kensington. As I was coming up the escalator I heard two Afrikaans voices behind me. When I looked around I saw Rassie Erasmus (ex Springbok Rugby player and Stormers / Western Province Rugby coach). He may not remember it but we were in the army together in Bloemfontein - for a while at least. We were both looking for directions and so I asked if I could have a picture with him.

After that I headed to the flat of some friends where I am staying - just beautiful! I had a quick shower, grabbed my note pad and computer and headed to my first meeting.

That meeting ended just after lunch so I rented a Boris Bike and cycled through Hyde Park on my way back to my accommodation! It was awesome! Spring is out in full force. The weather was perfect and since it is a bank holiday every Londoner (or just about) was out in the sun!

I've been awake since 2 AM when I transferred flights in Dubai, so I'll admit that I am feeling pretty zonked. I'll answer some emails and then unpack and get some sleep this afternoon!

Tomorrow the meetings with the Alpha Africa leaders and team begin! We'll be staying somewhere in Surrey (I think). And then back for Alpha Leadership Week! I am both excited and extremely nervous about speaking at the Leadership Week!

I would appreciate your prayers Megie, Liam and Courtney back home, and for me as I meet with wonderful people and seek to establish relationships and partnerships to benefit the work of God's Kingdom!

In my devotions this morning I read the following quote:

@digitaldion: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel prayed, “I did not ask for success; I asked for wonder. And You gave it to me.”

May this week be filled with God's wonder-full blessing in your life!

Friday
May032013

Leaving for London to speak at the Alpha Leadership Conference

On Sunday I will be flying from Cape Town the London (via Dubai) to speak at the Alpha Leadership Week and have a number of meetings.  In particular I shall be focussing on spending time with the Alpha Africa team, our EXPOSED team in London and signatories and friends of Unashamedly Ethical while I am there.

Of course I will also get to spend some time with friends and family and quite a number of friends from Cape Town and Somerset West and Cape Town who will also be at the Leadership Week at the Royal Albert Hall.

I am so excited! It is a magnificent opportunity and I am praying for some deep and significant friendships and partnerships to form for the transformation of our precious continent!

The talk I was asked to give was on leadership.  When I considered the topic I realised that a lot of Leadership talks focus on leadership as if it is something that one does from the 'top' or the 'front' of an organisation.  The reality is, however, that most us don't have the responsibility of privilege of leading from that position.  Most of us are called to lead from the 'middle' of groups or organisations.  That can be quite a challenging task that requires a special measure of courage and grace.

So, I will be talking around the topic of 'From a lone nut to a leader' (based in part on an idea from Derek Sivers' great talk at TED a few years ago).  Here is the little video they recorded as a promo at the Alpha offices in Kensington when I was there in December last year.

If you're in the area, or plan to be at the Leadership week please do hook up with me.  The easiest is probably to send me a tweet on @digitaldion

Please can I ask for your prayers for Megan, Courtney and Liam while I am away?  Liam is a little sick just at the moment.  However, we trust the Lord that he will be restored to full health very quickly! I arrive back in South Africa on the 18th of May (the day before my darling wife Megan's birthday, and of course the Saturday before Pentecost and the Global Day of Prayer).

Saturday
Sep222012

Blessed at the Alpha Workplace conference in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

I arrived in Malaysia just before midnight on Wednesday evening. This is the second wonderful opportunity that I have had to speak at the Alpha Workplace conference in Malaysia. Last year we met at the amazing Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu. This year we are meeting at the DUMC Methodist Church with Dr Daniel Ho in Kuala Lumpur.

The purpose of this conference is to encourage integrate faith and work, and find ways to honour and serve God in every aspect and moment of life, not just in the local Church or on a Sunday.

Yesterday I had the joy of doing a plenary session on our book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' see http://bit.ly/transformwork for details on this book.

Earlier in the day I had an opportunity to lead a workshop on the Unashamedly Ethical movement (see http://www.unashamedlyethical.com on that), and our campaign on Corruption and Poverty 'Exposed - Shining a light on corruption' (see http://www.exposed2013.com on this worthy campaign). We had a great response to all three topics. I am constantly blessed and encouraged to see how the Church here in Malaysia is serving society with love and courage. There is such remarkable creativity, works of mercy and justice, and a deep challenge to ethical and sacrificial living. It challenges me to find ways to be more faithful in my own life and ministry.

In this picture you see a great panel of Christian business and Church leaders L-R, Alvin Ung, Ken Costa, Datin Kathleen Chew Yeoh, Dr Philip Lyn, Dr Daniel Ho (Taken with Instagram at Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC)).

Please pray for the Church in Malaysia and the work of Alpha across the world!

Tuesday
Feb282012

In London for EXPOSED 2013 meetings

I arrived in the beautiful city of London yesterday morning.  I am here to meet with various good people about the EXPOSED 2013 campaign that we are starting up.

This is such wonderful work! There is an increasing awareness of the need to grow our Christian witness on issues of corruption and poverty.  Over US$1 Trillion goes missing each year across the globe due to corrupt practises, maladministration and poor governance across the world.  Can you imagine what this money could be used for - primary health care, nutrition, clean water, education, economic empowerment and development!

So, what we are doing this week is meeting with a number of ministries that are already involved in global poverty or ethics development efforts.  Our aim is not to ask them to do anything new, but simply to say, let's do what we are doing together for a short period of time.  

Forming a coalition of persons who act with one heart and speak with one voice about these issues can be a significant public witness for the Kingdom of God!

Please do pray for us - if you're interested in finding out more about the EXPOSED campaign please follow us on twitter or like our facebook page, or read this press release on the Micah Challenge website.

Here are a few pictures that I took as I was heading to my meeting with Tricia Neil and Ken Kosta at the Alpha International office - the picture on the right is Tricia Neill and I in the Alpha international office.  These are such great people doing such wonderful work across the world! I am constantly amazed at how a small team accomplishes so much.  Joel Edwards and I also had the joy of meeting David Ryal from the Catholic Bishops Conference.

I shall also be sitting in on the Micah Challenge staff meeting.  It was wonderful to meet Joel and Vikki in person!  I had met Amanda in Cape Town last year.  Today I will meet the other link in this chain - Felicity.  What a wonderful group of people!!

Sunday
Oct022011

Alpha Malaysia work place ministry conference - please pray with me

On Tuesday (4 October 2011) I will be leaving Cape Town for Malaysia for the Alpha Malaysia work place ministry conference.

I am so excited about this event! The Lord has given me such a deep love for the people of Malaysia - I have had the immeasurable privilege of visiting there many times in the last few years. I have a number of very close friends there. Cynthia Wong, the head of Alpha in Malaysia, contacted me some time last year after getting a copy of my book 'Transform your work life' and asked if would come and speak at the their conference.

Among the speakers at this event will be Graham Power, Doug Spada, Tan Shri Dato' Francis Yeoh, Dato' Sri Idris Jala, and Ps. Dr. Philip Lyn.

The conference takes place in a remarkable venue - the resort of Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu. This resort was developed by the Christian Businessman Edward Ong. He is a man who truly understands what it means to engage in responsible, ethical and sustainable business that brings blessing to the community in which business is done.

Once the conference is done and we have also spoken at the Skyline Church I shall be heading to Hong Kong for some meetings and work before returning home by the 13th of October.

I would truly appreciate your prayers for this special trip, please pray with me that God works in a special way to encourage, inspire and renew the participants. Please also pray that as I share and minister that the Lord will use my me in spite of my weaknesses to achieve His will for transformation in business. Please could you also pray for Cynthia and her wonderful team. Lastly, could I please ask you to keep my wife Megan and our children, Courtney and Liam, in your prayers? Megie is still recovering from surgery to her wrist and so that places an extra little bit of pressure on her with me away.

I will be posting updates on my twitter feed, on tumblr, and also here - so please do check in on all of those platforms for updates. Thanks for your partnership in ministry!

Wednesday
Oct202010

Nicky Gumbel from the Alpha movement shares his thoughts in the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town

This morning I had the chance of meeting with Nicky Gumbel, the vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in London, his wife Pippa, Graham Power from the Global Day of Prayer and some other friends.  He is a super nice guy and is truly down to earth.  He has a passion for the Gospel and a real passion to introduce people to the person of Christ in a way that is built around relationship and community - hence the Alpha Course.

In this photo you'll see (from left to right).  Etienne Piek (international coordinator of the Global Day of Prayer), Graham Power the founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical Movements, Nicky Gumbel and Pippa Gumbel, Tricia Neill (the international coordinator of Alpha) and myself (@digitaldion).

I recoreded this short video with Nicky (forgive me for not having a chance to edit the start!) - in it he shares his expectations and experience of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town.

We're working really hard to get the videos from all of the sessions at Lausanne onto the Global Conversation website.  So please visit that as frequently as possible - of course those are official videos (properly edited etc.).

Wednesday
Apr142010

The mission shaped Church and the Alpha course.

Over the last two days I had the joy of attending the Alpha South Africa seminar at Camps Bay United Church

Today I spoke on the topic 'Forming a Mission shaped Church' at the conference.  A number of the people asked me for the powerpoint slides and the video that I used.

The basic line or reasoning that I took was the following.

1.  Christianity is shifting from traditional Western Churches (and even in some senses from traditional Western theology) to the South and the East.

2. This shift is both geographical (because of population growth and basic needs such as poverty, health, justice and need), and also theological (from propositions of faith to experiences of faith).  Please see the maps and reasoning in my slides.  For an explanation of this shift, some projections going forward, and some reasons for this shift, please read Philip Jenkins' great book 'The next Christendom' (you'll see an image of the cover in my slides).

3.  The Alpha course is quite well suited to changes in engaging persons with the message of the Gospel since it allows for interaction around the truths (as people engage with the topics, without having to be confronted constantly by 'clear and closed' truths).  It also facilitates community and relationships.  It is a truly wonderful instrument for the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.  I explain how the Church can become more 'missional' by referring to 5 mindset and worldview changes that we shall need to go through in order to engage the world where it is, rather than inviting the world to come to where the Church is.

So, here are my slides (Powerpoint 7MB)

Here's the video that I used (it highlights how the world is changing, and how we need to find new means with which to communicate and create engagement around the message and person of the Gospel). If you're interested in previous posts that I've made on new media and ministry please see my post here, or please see this post and the video on new media here.

Finally, I would encourage you to consider this great promotional video for the Alpha course (done by Bear Grylls - the ultimate 'survival' expert!)

Have you ever run Alpha in your Church, business, or been part of Alpha in a prison setting? I'd love to hear your feedback!  Thanks to all those who prepared the Alpha Conference.  You can find out about the Alpha Course here.

And, you can find out about Alpha in South Africa here.