One of our values at The Message Trust is local church. We are committed to empowering the local church to become missional and focus on transforming their local communities. Since working at the Message, I have really developed a DEEPER love for God’s church. I have learnt the important role the church plays in setting the moral temperature within the community they’ve been called to serve.
Most of our communities are plagued with unemployment and the consequence of this is an increase in gangsterism and drug use. This in turn leads to further moral degradation. These conditions literally take the “unity” out of community. We have hope though, as there is evidence throughout history that shows God using the local church to help rebuild broken communities and I have no doubt that God will use it again.
I thought I’d share some examples with you, just to stir up hope in your hearts and awaken that love in your heart for God’s church again…
Nyanga is known as the murder capital of South Africa. Put that in the press and the world frowns upon the community, deeming it a hopeless case. However, a prophecy went over Nyanga stating that it would change from the “murder capital” to the “salvation capital” of South Africa.
What makes me believe that this prophecy could be true, is the faith of a church in the Nyanga community known as The New Crossroads Baptist Church and is led by Pastor Kwanele Cement. Across Cape Town this name may seem insignificant, but they are making HUGE STRIDES toward seeing that prophecy being fulfilled. In partnership with The Message Trust, a hub has been setup in Nyanga and is being led by one of the church leaders, Mkhululi Letsatsi (MK). This hub supports the community in 3 areas; Education, Sports and Discipleship. They offer after-school lessons to assist young people with literacy and mathematics. Soccer is the language of the township, so soccer programmes have been put in place for young people. Finally, MK and his team are intentional about discipling young men and women through studying the bible together. The result of this is HUGE. We hear testimony after testimony of how these young people are now impacting their families and the greater community.
Another great example of an effective local church is Reconciliation Ministries in Parkwood, led by Pastor Eddie Hendricks. This church oozes love. Pastor Eddie is the kind of guy that walks through the community and is greeted warmly by all the residents. He and his team are very involved in the community and run multiple school and youth programmes. Creative Arts is at the heart of the community, and in partnership with The Message Trust, the church offers a creative arts and anti-gang programme to the youth. In an area filled with gangsterism and drugs, we’ve witnessed young people make better life choices. All they needed was an opportunity to make a better choice, and Reconciliation Ministries has provided that for them.
These stories once again prove that the local church has a vital role to play in the bettering of not only our communities, but our country and furthermore, the world. At The Message, we are committed to seeking the Lord for innovative ways to best support the local church and will continue to do so for as long as we’re able.
Written by Shaun Pretorius, ADVANCE Coordinator