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The Indaba Process

Building and deepening relationships in a healthy church

  • Indaba reflects the Biblical priority of relationship:

We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:3

  • Indaba enables conversation on matters of significance:

As in the first century, we can expect the Holy Spirit to press us to listen to each other, to state new insights frankly, and to accept implications of the Gospel new to us, whether painful or exhilarating.
ACC-3 1976

  • Indaba aims to energise mission both locally and globally

The indaba model also made possible a richer engagement in mutual mission, strengthening personal and cross-diocesan relationships, developing deeper understanding and the ability to remain in conversation, especially where differences were sensitive and significant.
Continuing Indaba Evaluation Report

Indaba is a journey

The Bible is full of journeys where those who chose to faithfully follow God’s call with little or no idea of the destination. It is on the journey that we try to discover the mind of Christ together.

Deciding to begin

The decision to begin an Indaba Journey is a commitment to faithfully follow Christ together in a particular context. Indaba can be within a diocese or a parish, between dioceses or theological colleges, internationally or locally.

Like all Journeys, an Indaba journey requires preparation. Coming to a point where communities are ready to embark on Indaba maybe a journey in itself.

Who does Indaba?

There are different roles in an Indaba, it is instinct to Indaba that all constituencies taking part are involved at every point.

Leaders – those who invite people into the conversation and identify significant themes.

Participants – those who live the Indaba; who form relationships and engage in the formal conversation. Participants need to have clarity on purpose, have ownership of the process

Organisers – those who support those participating by holding the practical arrangement and working with the Facilitator to run the Encounters and Formal Conversation.

Facilitators – those who come from outside the Indaba community and guide process, maintain safe space and help the participants achieve the aims they set for themselves. Facilitators are key to Indaba.

The Indaba journey

Step 1 – Sharing the Vision

Leaders, excited by the possibility of Indaba, will share the vision with all involved. All constituencies need to participate in the forming of a common understanding of the Indaba journey. Leaders will set the broad themes of the specific Indaba, in dialogue with their communities.

Step 2 – Gathering

Participants are invited into the Indaba journey. They prepare together so that they are clear on purpose, a sense of ownership of and commitment to the Indaba process.

Engaging those not directly involved is important from the beginning so that wider communities also own the process and hold it in prayer.

Step 3 – Encounter

The aim of encounter is to build relationship through a common journey where each takes a turn as host and guest. Both host and guest discover one another’s world view and discover more of their own in order to find a deeper relationship with Christ. Worship and Bible study are vital as the teams build relationships through discovering ordinary life in each context. Activities need mixing with planned time for relaxation together and the sharing of common meals.

There will be an eagerness to address problems and not to ‘waste time,’ but the aim is to establish relationships where each participant recognises Christ in the other.

When trust is shared and relationships are based upon a genuine understanding there is space for a genuine conversation.

Step 4 – Genuine Conversation

A facilitated conversation offers the space for participants to be open to speaking the truth in love and being prepared to hear truth spoken to them. It is a place to risk deep presuppositions being challenged in order for all to be transformed to the mind of Christ. The aim is for the conversation to result in a release of energy for mission.

Step 5 – Going out

The fruit of Indaba is in a deeper understanding of the unity of the church resulting in common participation in the Mission of God. Indaba needs to be communicated by all involved so their communities are enabled to walk together as partners in God’s Mission.

How can Continuing Indaba help?

  • Providing Theological and Process resources
  • Providing or training facilitators
  • Providing consultation on design
  • Providing a forum for exploring ideas and supporting each other
  1. gloria cruz
    Jun 22 2012

    As a single parent from the south bronx my indaba experince was the most enlighting and reaffrimed my faith in god the church. The sad part is that we may never get to follow up on how indaba has effected our lives and in our diocese. But the idea of our diocese starting indaba conversations within im so glad to be part of something big where we are all the same one church that worships in many lanuages.
    Gloria Cruz

    • Paula Nesbitt
      Jun 24 2012

      Gloria, thanks for your comment. As evaluators, we have often wondered what your and others’ thoughts might be now that a little time has passed since the experience. We really appreciate your post. I hope that you will continue to share what has come out of indaba and the possibilities for using indaba in the period ahead.
      Best wishes, Paula Nesbitt

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