Please find below the latest update from Grace Baptist Church in Daveyton, South Africa.
Encouragements in Church Plants
Last year I ended my report by highlighting the challenges I’ve faced as a church planter. This year, I want to open up on the encouragements I’ve experienced over the years in church planting.
When I came to Daveyton as a third-year seminary student, I never thought I would be part of the work that God is doing here. I came as a young man who was zealous about preaching the truth in the township. My motto was to preach Christ where he is not known. Daveyton is populated by Charismatics, Pentecostals, Zionists, and Jehovah Witnesses. There are two Baptist Churches by name. The first one was led by a Charismatic Baptist pastor and the second one is led by a woman.
Although there are many churches within the more developed area of Daveyton, there are few churches in the outskirts. This is the place I visited when I arrived in Daveyton. As I walked around, I was expecting to see a tent or a building that said “Church.” To my surprised I didn’t see any.
I thought that this was the place that needed the light. I started going door to door, reasoning with people that Jesus is the only one who can save them from their sins. Most of the people I spoke with had an idea of God, but they didn’t have much knowledge of Jesus Christ.
I had few ladies who were interested in learning more about Jesus Christ. One of them asked us to use her house for meetings. This woman used to wake up early on the Sunday morning to prepare the meeting place. They would borrow some chairs from their neighbours. They would also invite their friends for the church service. I was so encouraged by this woman’s faithfulness with her children, until she had to relocate because of the death of her husband.
The Lord kept adding people to our group. Many came for wrong reasons and left. We remained faithful in preaching and teaching the word. Many people questioned our style of preaching. We were tempted to change it. But the word of God encouraged us that, in the last days, people will seek preachers who will preach according to their itching ears.
I am so encouraged by the few that the Lord has drawn to himself. I will mention their names so that you may keep praying for them. When they first came to the church, I thought they would not stay. Some of them came in days that we had a poor attendance. We had a bad day so to speak. But I was surprised to see them coming back again the next Sunday.
There is a day that I will never forget. It was one of those dusty days when we were in a tent. The attendance was very poor. I saw a lady coming in. I was not praying for visitors on that day. It was cold and dusty. We had all turned red because of the dust. Being a person who is committed to expositional preaching, I was determined to finish my sermon. I was convinced that this lady would not come back, but the Lord reminded me that he is the one adding people to his church. This lady came back the following week. She has been faithful since then. She is now involved in the music team and she is one of the reliable people in church.
The second man is Brother Johannes. I have shared in one of my letters about Brother Johannes. But now I want to focus on the ministry that he does when he goes home. Johannes is in Daveyton for work. He goes home once a month. He has been reporting that he has been sharing the gospel with his friends and family back home. During December holidays, he invited the neighbours to come for prayer and thanksgiving service by his house and he preached. He said thirty-plus people came. Brother Johannes is passionate about preaching the gospel since he’s been saved.
Johannes’s desire is to go back home and plant a church. We are a very small church. We never thought we were ready to plant another church. But we are training Johannes and are planning to take a mission trip to his village. We are hoping to see a church being planted there. I never thought that I would see such men who are zealous for the Lord. Even though our church is not big in number, but we have giants who will continue to take the Gospel back to their villages.
There are also three faithful young men who have joined us. The first one is Febri. He came from a likeminded church. He came to Johannesburg for studies. He is doing his bachelors of business administration. He is involved in music at church.
He has join our preaching class that I teach every Sunday after church. He prepares the music on time. Since this year is his final year in college, he is expected to go on campus only one day in a week. He will be looking for an internship for the other days. While waiting for the college to open, he’s been involved in the ministry that we are doing in school. He is leading one of the SCO (Students Christian Organisation) and has preached already in one of the open air meetings that we had this year.
The second Brother is Zakhele Mkwanazi. He came to our church as an intern. He decided to be part of our church after graduating from seminary. He is involved in one of the school ministries and also preaches in our open air. He also helps me with preaching at church. It is such an encouragement to have capable young man who divide the word of God accurately.
The last brother is Zamo. He was doing a gap year with a Berean Bible Institute. He assists us with singing and is also a preacher. He has also been preaching in the open air. These brothers are young, in their early twenties, but they are zealous for the Lord. It is my prayer that the Lord will grow them in him. I have mentioned before that in Africa age means everything. But in the open air we’ve been having older people who come and stand and listen to the word. They make comments that we are young but they are surprised of the word that they hear, which comes with so much power and boldness. Please pray that the friendships we have developed in the open air outreach will continue. We have people promising us that they will visit the church.
- We praise the Lord as a family for your support and prayers. We are thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ who visit us in our home and encourage us.
- Pray that the Lord will grow the brothers he has sent and give me wisdom and resources to disciple them.
- Pray for the piece of the land that we bought. We wanted to put a temporal structure but since the community is opposing us, we have decided to get a building planner. So this was not part of our budget at this stage. Please pray that the Lord will provide funds for the person who will draw a plan for us.
- We praise the Lord for some of the conversations that we’ve been having with some of the community members. They have make some enquiries about the church. Some people told me that they have heard me preaching from the local clinic. They mentioned that they didn’t know that is us. This was such an encouragement to me.