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.
These students, who have now received their certificates, belong to various syncretistic Pentecostal and Zionist churches. Their newfound knowledge of the Bible enables them to be a Biblical influence for reformation within their own church communities.
According to Rev. Paul Mahlangu, lecturer at Mukhanyo Theological College who leads these groups, many of the students started the Focus programme while believing in the powerful role their ancestors had in their lives. But now their theology is grounded in Scripture and their views are different, which results in friction with the leaders and other members of their churches.
The students belonged to four different study groups, one each in Kwaggafontein, Kameelrivier, Phumula, and Phola Park, all in the wider KwaMhlanga region. More groups are being formed; at present there are thirty more students as well as three other groups taking the Focus programme in isiZulu. In addition there are many other distance groups who are doing the programme in English.
The Focus programme consists of more than twenty-five modules in three different tracks. Each track of study requires a unique choice of at least seven modules. These modules cover Bible knowledge and Biblical foundations as well as modules about church growth, church leadership, church life, and related subjects.