God willing, Mukhanyo will open a new advanced study centre in Durban next year. Preparations have already begun for January 2020. The centre will initially be based in the building of the Reformed Church Pinetown, until more suitable facilities are secured.
The expectation is that the centre will be able to start with some ten BTh Degree of Theology students. Diploma-level qualification will remain available at the various distance learning centres in the greater area.
A number of diploma students from the fifteen distance learning centres in KwaZulu-Natal have indicated that they want to continue their degree-level studies as soon as they have completed the diploma. But these potential degree students are unable to study in KwaMhlanga, Johannesburg or Pretoria. These centres are too far away to enable them to serve in their home churches over weekends. So the degree qualification will be offered in Durban with lectures running from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
In Durban, initial facilities are available, the centre manager has been appointed (see the next article) and a start has been made to recruit lecturers and other staff. In addition, fund raising for this centre has also begun.
Durban will be Mukhanyo’s fourth advanced learning centre. Besides the main campus in KwaMhlanga (now in its 26th year), the Johannesburg and Pretoria centres started a number of years ago, while the Rustenburg centre was upgraded to an advanced learning centre earlier this year. All this development is in addition to more than 70 distance learning centres with 650 active students all over the country and beyond.
Why Durban? Mukhanyo was invited by a number of church leaders to explore possibilities in Durban for a degree programme. After initial explorations, the great need became more apparent. There is now a growing coalition of local leaders and churches who have joined in to support this new centre.
Additionally, this location was chosen since it is a large metropole with an estimated population of 3,8 million, and it is in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal with 11,5 million people. Over many years much ministry work has been done in this province, but there are no suitable Bible training colleges in the greater area. In addition, low-intensity conflict and political instability over many years in KZN has resulted in much social disruption.
But there are many faithful pastors and churches in the area who have been doing excellent groundwork over the years. This had provided fertile potential to build on. It is our hope that the training of pastors and other church leaders will be an important next step to grow churches and stabilise communities.
Mukhanyo’s Board of Directors approved the appointment of Antonio Coppola as the Centre Manager of the new Durban Advanced Learning Centre. This Centre is due to start functioning at the beginning of 2020.
Antonio has extensive experience in theological training, church planting and other ministry functions. He will start preparing for the new centre this October.
Born in Durban in 1982, he was brought up in a Christian home and completed his BA (Honours) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2004, specialising in South African missionary history (Swiss Mission). In 2017 he completed his Master of Divinity at the Westminster Theological Seminary in California, USA.
Through the years, Antonio has also been involved in practical ministry work. He first served as a young adults worker at the St Agnes Anglican Church in Kloof, Durban, and then as a pastoral intern at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, California. He also established and led the Kloof Theological Centre in the Durban area. And this year he started a church plant, Covenant Waterfall Presbyterian Church, in his community in Durban. This church plant is connected to a group of Presbyterian and Reformed churches as well as the Sub-Saharan Africa Reformed Mission.
Antonio says his desire is to be involved in quality theological education in South Africa, and also in the rest of Africa, planting and pastoring biblically orthodox, Reformed, gospel-centred churches. For him, becoming Centre Manager of Mukhanyo’s Durban centre is the ideal next step.
Mukhanyo is excited to have Antonio join the team! He is experienced in team leadership, management, teaching and preaching, curriculum development, pastoral work, discipleship, young adults ministry and mission work. Over and above Hebrew and Greek, Antonio is also fluent in Italian, speaks Afrikaans, while his home language is English.
Thank the Lord with us for Mukhanyo’s gifted team of faithful workers! But more people are still needed to serve in this growing ministry:
Records Manager – The Records Manager is responsible for managing a team of dedicated people in the Student Records department. This position, based in KwaMhlanga, manages and coordinates all administrative activities involving student admissions, registration, record-keeping, and graduations. The ideal candidate will have experience in office management and educational administration.
Rustenburg Secretary – The person in this new position will be responsible to manage a number of office functions in the Rustenburg Advanced Learning Centre, including receptionist work, administrative roles, and coordination and scheduling.
Lecturers in various areas – Additional part-time and full-time lecturers are needed by January 2020 to serve Mukhanyo’s growing student body. We welcome applicants to apply if they meet the criteria outlined in the job advert. All Mukhanyo lecturers must affirm Mukhanyo’s statement of faith and share our organisational values. More information about open positions can be found here.
Distance Site Tutors – Mukhanyo welcomes applications for new Distance Learning Support Centres across southern Africa. Experienced church leaders are encouraged to submit an application to become a volunteer tutor and lead a local centre.
More information and additional vacancies are listed here. More information about Mukhanyo’s gifted team found here on these recently revised webpages.
Mukhanyo continues to improve its collection of quality study material. The production of study guides for the updated curricula is making good progress.
Developing quality material takes much time. All the study guides must go through a number of stages. Guides that have been completed are used and then re-evaluated at the end of the first year to be adjusted accordingly. In this way, Mukhanyo remains at the forefront of quality theology training.
Please pray with us that the new Higher Certificate will be approved soon so that these quality materials can be used to bless many more students.
What should be Mukhanyo’s priorities in 2020? Earlier this year, as in previous years, the Mukhanyo team engaged in strategic planning sessions with the entire staff. Outputs were further shaped by the faculty and management, and then recently approved by the Board of Directors.
A number of priority activities are ongoing. But like any other growing organisation, it is important to sit back every year to reflect on what Mukhanyo is doing to facilitate improvements in the right places.
Thanks to all the growth in the past years, Mukhanyo is increasingly able to accommodate more and more students, which is much to be thankful for. But it requires special attention in a number of fields.
One such aspect is the public relations of Mukhanyo to churches and communities. The potential and also the need for all sorts of church leaders in southern Africa is enormous. So the contribution that Mukhanyo can make needs to be communicated more and more.
In addition to better communication, a number of other identified priorities include the following:
Our Father in Heaven has over the years provide to Mukhanyo what is needed. We at Mukhanyo are trusting God that He will continue to do so, as long as Mukhanyo functions according to His will. Please join us in praying for God’s blessings even as we pray for grace to do His will.
In our present days, it is very hard to live a righteous life, especially for young people. This is the case throughout a confused and mixed-up world, but even more so in South Africa with its many cultures, religions and divisions.
Christian role-models are often not there. Worldly thinking and behaviour is advertised over the media and the youth battle with many questions. Some matters which are called sin in Scripture are seen as normal standards in their communities, etc.
During the afternoon boys and girls had separate sessions while these topics were further elaborated on by the various leaders. Responses from the youth showed that the teachings were much appreciated.
All who took part arranging the conference agreed that it was richly blessed by the Lord. The day was a success, a good start for a Biblical way forward. However, they also agreed that they hardly could scratch the surface of these very important subjects on which very much teaching is needed. May the Lord help Mukhanyo to touch this need again in the near future and to pray earnestly for our young people in the meantime!
Over the past 18 months, the first draft of Mukhanyo’s 25-year history was completed. But it still lacks some detail, anecdotes and the roles of some key-participants, much of which has never been documented. Therefore this is a call to all readers of this newsletter to assist by submitting their experiences in respect of Mukhanyo’s history.
More specific, also the following:
Help wanted! Additionally, we now need a final editor to complete this project. An experienced author is needed to polish the whole book and put it into its final form. Please contact the Principal, Dr Brian DeVries (email@example.com), if you are willing to assist with this project.
To know your Bible is one thing – a very important one at that. To apply it in your daily life is another matter. But for church leaders to give biblical counselling to other people – individuals, couples and families – can be very difficult and requires specialised knowledge and wisdom. Above all, a biblical counsellor must firmly believe that God alone brings change in the hearts and lives of counselees.
Prof Buys taught the students the basic guidelines for counselling, how to build trust and give hope, how to understand counselees and to place them before God and how to help them plan for change. Topics discussed in class included counselling for marriage and the family, trauma, HIV/Aids, processing bereavement and grief, witchcraft, ancestor spirits and demon possession.
In all this, it was made very clear that a counsellor must to know that he or she may plant and water as God’s fellow worker, but that God gives the growth (1 Cor 3:5-9). There is no substitute for prayerful devotion to God in the counsellor’s character and conduct. God must be the mainspring of the counsellor’s effort, the fountain and crown of all the counsellor’s endeavours.
At the end of a week of concentrated, all-day lecturing, and after many lively discussions, the students will hand in an assignment on a real-life challenge that describes the approach they would follow to restore a counselee to a life that pleases the Lord.
The first step in this plan is to find a qualified Christian who can lead this project. Please review the job advert (below) for a Durban Centre Manager. Do you want to be part of this growing vision? Please contact Dr Brian DeVries to discuss ways Mukhanyo can partner with local churches to make this vision a reality.
Mukhanyo seeks applicants for appointment for the Durban Centre Manager:
This position will be responsible for management and development of a proposed learning centre in Durban. The ideal candidate will also serve as a Senior Lecturer on the Academic Team.
What is quality in theological education? A few points to ponder:
Other aspects to ponder include the components of quality such as goals and motives, as well as practical aspects such as accreditation. Additionally, consider the many spheres determining the quality of an institution such as the environment, lecturers, contents, processes and outcomes, and the students themselves.
Conducting self-assessment. The Bible encourages self-examination. For example, one can refer to Holy Communion before which one should evaluate oneself. Are you worthy for participating in the communion? The Bible also teaches that everyone is to count the cost before going to war or beginning to build a house. Likewise, Bible schools should also examine themselves.
To assess an institution’s quality requires much more than a look at classes, books, students, teachers or the curriculum. The assessment is rather how well one does in respect to the unique task with unique students. Should we not look more at the fruits and less at the qualifications?
There is a long list of questions to answer. Are the teachers/lecturers qualified? (right experience, teaching ability, continuous study, pastoral skills, good role models, etc.). Does the institution have the right students from an educational, emotional and social ability points of view? Are they willing, mature, spiritually gifted and called?
Next, is there a coherent, integrated and contextual programme? And does the institution have the physical and financial resources to make the programme work?
Quality cooperation. Is there a need for Bible colleges to work closer together and help each other with matters of facilities, curricula, quality or a joint voice to the authorities? At the Consultation this year it was remarked that there are numerous Bible colleges and schools all over Africa, a number of whom have good quality and are biblically reliable. But there are also some that are not there yet.
It is also a well-known fact that there is an enormous shortage of trained church leaders. Some say that approximately 90 % of churches have to do without. At the same time new churches are planted just about daily. Africa is shouting out for the need for well-trained and able pastors and other church leaders.
At the end of the Consultation, Dr Brian DeVries made the suggestion that we must consider ways to find greater cooperation on a more regular basis, helping each other in many aspects, all in line with certain delineated points of agreement.
Further info available: The main topics and presentations can be downloaded for free from Mukhanyo’s website: https://www.mukhanyo.ac.za/sermons.html. Papers and PowerPoint presentations are also available upon request from Wynie Malan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The tentative dates for next year’s Bible College Consultation are 9-11 June 2020.