“The most rewarding aspect of operating a local learning site is when you are discussing a specific topic from Scripture, and the lightbulb goes on for the student. In several cases, we at Mukhanyo’s Welkom learning site, had students share in class that they now realise that their churches and teaching need to change to conform to the Word of God.”
September 21 marked a significant day of celebration for 44 students at the Mukhanyo campus in KwaMhlanga as they were awarded certificates for completing the church-based Focus program. Some of these students spent four years to achieve this milestone.
After four years of weekly studies, thirty isiZulu-speaking students completed the Zulu-language version of the Focus programme and had their own graduation ceremony at KwaMhlanga on Thursday, 15 September.
The Focus programme is not formally accredited, but is a practical and very accessible training course to equip Christians to play an influential role in their churches.
Several months ago, five regional coordinators were appointed to further promote the expansion and development of distance learning centres. Next year, Mukhanyo plans to appoint five more coordinators in others regions.
These coordinators serve to advance the training and developing of local tutors, manage regional marketing and networking, promote quality control, and guide the establishment of additional centres. Mukhanyo is thankful for the regional coordinator team:
In four years, the number of Mukhanyo’s Distance Learning Support Centres has doubled to 101. This year, four centres started in Kenya and seven in South Africa. Even faster growth is expected with the recent appointment of five regional distance coordinators.
The Kenyan centres in Bumala, Bumamu, Busia and Kisumu were established by Rev. Eric Mutumbi, in partnership with the North American funders Word & Deed. All of them are using Mukhanyo’s Focus programme. The facilitators/tutors are pastors who have recently been trained, enabling them to manage and lead the groups.
Independent Church Leaders Want Training
In July, after months of preparation, a new facilitated learning support centre started functioning, consisting of senior Zulu independent church leaders. This new distance group in Kwaggafontein, north-east of Pretoria in the former KwaNdebele homeland, could prove to be an important breakthrough for several reasons.
As generally acknowledged, leaders of African independent or indigenous churches (AICs) often have no theological training and limited Bible knowledge, but many are faithful spiritual leaders. So it is very significant when another group of these leaders personally request training, asking Mukhanyo to provide them with Bible knowledge so that they can preach from the Bible correctly.
Mukhanyo was stated in this way more than three decades ago, and this ministry's focus continues unhindered. We thank the Lord for the opportunity to be involved in the further training and future development of local independent church leaders.
Rev Tebogo Mogale, lecturer and co-marketer of Mukhanyo, says it is promising that this group’s participants indicated they want to be biblically equipped to lead their congregations better. They now will also ask their branch churches to start distance study groups.
Over and above the present twelve church leaders in this study group, another six have applied to join the group. These are very senior leaders, all over 60 years old. This group is facilitated by brother Given Ngoma, a student who just completed the BTh degree at Mukhanyo KwaMhlanga.
Please pray for God’s blessing on this Zulu group! Pray that this is the beginning of a growing trend with many more leaders from independent churches wanting to be trained in the Word of God.
New facilities for Durban Centre and an expanded vision for the distance group programme – are two exciting steps forward, taking place right now at Mukhanyo.
The paperwork and finances to acquire the new facility in Pinetown for Mukhanyo’s new Durban Advanced Learning Centre are almost finalised, and some minor work to prepare the centre for the staff and students has started.
The other step forward is the appointment of seven regional coordinators to assist and promote decentralised facilitated learning support centres. The fast growth of Mukhanyo’s distance programme in the last few years is a clear indication that there is still enormous potential for further growth. The task of the regional coordinators will be to guide and build on this potential while also providing more assistance to existing centres so that they continue to function effectively
Why study at Mukhanyo? South Africa has over fifty unaccredited Bible colleges. Add to this the colleges and seminaries linked to specific denominations, church study groups, as well as several public universities with theological faculties. There are many opportunities in South Africa to study the Bible, and we thank God for the religious freedom we enjoy.
At the end of another great year, this is a good opportunity to look back and see how our Lord has blessed Mukhanyo for over 28 years.
The years were full of activity, ups and downs, but more importantly, years in which our Almighty Father in heaven made it possible to not only survive but to grow the ministry above all expectations. Just read the following.