From the Staff - A Story of Encouragement at God's marvellous Provision!

We decide these things can probably start in June or July while the situation may have changed by people getting food from their farms. But you know what happened, I forgot to correspond our big outreach beofre Easter! We had invited people from the Cathedral of Holy Spirit in Dodoma, people from Mpwapwa and people from Iringa and Manyoni. All the old DCT were invited to come and evangelize and see our worker! But you know what? We sent the invitation the end of December, but sadly while transferring the outreach from March 23-26 to August, we forgot end to inform them! So today without our knowledge we started receiving teams and choirs here in Kondoa as the plan was outreach for Kondoa Town! So many people from far away as Iringa came today! But you what we did not have was food to feed them or any money to hold the outreach! Both Pastor Kaka and I panicked! The Holy Spirit forced me to go to the bank to check if there was anything that remained into my account, but I thought to myself it will be a shame for me tell a banker to check my account and find nothing as I am not expecting money from anywhere! But you know the Holy Spirit kept forcing me to go to the bank, eventually I decided to obey the Holy Spirit's small voice! I went to the bank? You will understand what happened to me to the bank, to my surprise the banker told me there was USD 1551.56 plus USD 30 that was keeping the account alive! I asked the banker lady where the money was from and she told me from someone called David Pearce in New Zealand! What miracle one could expect, the money came yesterday! God has removed our shame! I just called my driver and went to buy food and other needs for the big outreach! As I write it is night and there are so many people at the church, the church is full and the gospel is preached - at the moment healing ministry is going on and many Muslims have come forward to be prayed for their diseases and some of them are falling down as they are posessed with evil spirits! God has come to visit His people in Kondoa! This is our God!

Thank you so much for sending your support at this critical moment! We praise God who spoke to you through the Power of the Holy Spirit that you decided to send the support at this particular time! I did not expect to receive support from you because just recently we received a big donation from you that helped us feed our Pastors! But this support has gone straight to support our big outreach in the town of Kondoa. It was God's eternal purposes that we forgot end to correspond our crusade because of hunger because God knew he will provide! Truly this is our God! One of the great miracles in my life!

May God fill you with joy and peace as you continue to listen to his small voice of the power of the Holy Spirit!

Blessings and peace,

Bishop Given."

We trust this testomony blesses you as it did us - it may interest you also to know that David Pearce has written a wonderful book called "Kondoa" and proceeds of this book are sent regularly to support ministry in Kondoa. It is wonderful to be encouraged by seeing a snippet of His master plan.

Blessings to you all,

The Staff at AFFIRM

AFFIRM Parish Feature: St Elizabeth's of Clendon

It is always exciting to be able to share in the journey of the 26 AFFIRM Parishes across the country...

This month the Team at AFFIRM are thrilled to extend our congratulations to Rev Glenn Paddison, Vicar of St Elizabeth's Anglican Parish of Clendon, in recently gaining a Master's in Theology!

Capping Photo to follow...


Congratulations also to three new AFFIRM Associate Members:


We are delighted to welcome Archdeacon Henry Bull of Fiji, Rev Florence Chambers of Waihi Beach and Rev Margaret Trousdale of Te Kawhata as new Associate Members of the AFFIRM Network.

Younger Practicing Christians and Same-Sex Marriage

It is often stated that younger practicing Christians are more in favour of same-sex marriage than older practicing Christians. While this is true, recent research carried out by Barna Research shows that, on this issue, younger practicing Christians are more closely aligned with older practicing Christians than they are with members of their own age group. In fact the gap between them and people of their own age on this issue is wider than the gap between older practicing Christians and those of this older age group. The following from Barna Research examines attitudes to the recent US Supreme Court ruling  legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

"Age has been—and continues to be—a defining fault line on this issue. Younger practicing Christians, however, have more in common with their older counterparts than they do with the general population. One-third of practicing Christians under 40 favor the ruling (35%), compared to six in 10 among all adults in their age cohort (61%)—a gap of 26 percentage points. By comparison, there is only a nine-point gap between younger practicing Christians and those 40 and older (26%). Many Christians have felt divisions in their own tribe over this issue, and nowhere are those divisions more clear than between practicing Christians under 40 and non-practicing Christians in the same age group. On nearly every question, deep divides emerge between these two groups of younger Christians. While only one-third of practicing Christians under age 40 (35%) are in favor of the Supreme Court’s decision, three-quarters of non-practicing Christians of the same age support the decision (73%). The only real agreement comes in the shared belief that Christians can support legal marriage for same-sex couples while also affirming the church’s traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman (55% of practicing Christians under 40 vs. 58% of non-practicing Christians under 40)."

The full article can be viewed at

Outliers and Iconoclasts

May 8, 2015 by  

I have been writing about mainstream and fringe scholarship, and defending the sometimes unpopular idea of mainstream orthodoxy, or the scholarly consensus.

Blogging on any religious topic invites wacky comments and responses. As one example of many, I had a commenter not long ago who asserted that most of what Christians believed about their origins was utterly wrong. Way back in the third century BC, he said, the cult of the Egyptian god Serapis prefigured most features of Christianity, including the name: even at that very early date, his followers were allegedly called “Christians.” Christianity, in fact, was a myth built on that older Egyptian religion. That whole Serapis/Christ nonsense is widespread around the Internet, with quite a few Youtube contributions. Just Google “Christos Ptolemy Serapis” and see how many rabbit holes you vanish into. In some manifestations, not all, it gets into weird Afrocentric and anti-Jewish mythologies.

I challenged the original poster by asking how many real books or sources he could cite to support this idea, not counting self-published stuff, and answer came there none. These days, you can find that information quite easily from Amazon, besides library catalogues and journal databases. My argument was simple. An idea or theory does not deserve to be taken seriously unless and until it acquires at least some coverage by accredited experts in the field. That might take the form of published books with major presses, whether trade or academic, or in reputable academic journals.

Scholarship is what scholars do, and if they don’t do it, it’s not scholarship.

For the complete article go to

What Millennials Want When They Visit Church

ChurchBarna Reasearch, March 3, 2015—Like it or not—and there are plenty of reasons not to—consumer culture shapes what people expect of church and how some churches approach ministry.

It’s tempting to think of church as one part of the “religious services industry”—the sector of the economy that provides spiritual goods and experiences to consumers. When leaders conceive of their faith community this way, even unconsciously, they see their difficulty appealing to Millennials as a failure to create brand loyalty—a failure whose solution is a better product and/or better marketing. To be successful in the industry, churches have to compete in a marketplace undergoing massive disruption as a generation of young consumers becomes ever more knowledgeable and selective about what they do and don’t want.

If the church were just another business seeking market share, this frame of mind would be harmless or even beneficial. But the church is not. And many of the very people churches are trying to reach—Millennials—are hyperaware and deeply suspicious of the intersection of church and consumer culture. This doesn’t mean they’re not avid consumers, for most certainly are. But many also have a sense that church should be different somehow, above or beyond the dirty business of sell, sell, sell.

So what do Millennials think of church? What pushes them away and what draws them in? And when they do visit a church, how are they hoping to be approached?

See the complete article at

What a Difference a Leader Makes

[From Barna Update, February 18, 2015]

You've probably heard it said that people don't quit jobs, they quit bosses. It's a common leadership maxim—often issued as a word of warning to those stepping into leadership: a bad boss can ruin even the best of jobs. But is the opposite also true? Can a good boss lead to less turnover? And what are the qualities that employees think make for a good leader—or a bad one? 

In a study among Americans in the workplace, Barna Group found that employees are twice as likely to say they have a bad boss as a good one. The research shows the differential impact of good and bad leadership, including morale, productivity and longevity. 

Read more from this study here >

(You may wish to reflect on the impact of good and bad leadership in the church.)

The Top 12 Downloads for 2015 from Building Church Leaders