Mukhanyo held a day of training in April for its KwaMhlanga-based support staff. Training included workshops on Excel, digital and paper filing, distance education, gardening as well as nutrition and cooking.
Different groups of staff met for the workshops that applied to their sphere of work. Senior staff with more experience assisted junior staff and for some workshops a skilled and qualified person from outside Mukhanyo was invited.
This opportunity strengthened the unity between the support staff members and also helped these precious people, who mainly minister “behind the scenes”, to be even more effective in their work.
"Train up a child in the way he should go when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6)
This is a verse typically reserved for parenting, using it at child baptisms and parenting courses, as encouragement for new parents or even on cards as a Hallmark-type congratulation for parents on the arrival of a new baby.
However, it is very applicable to all people who are involved in one way or another with children's or youth ministry. Sunday school teachers, youth leaders and pastors, all have a role to play in the training of a child. All should work together as a team.
This truth was highlighted recently at the Children's and Youth Ministry Conference hosted by Mukhanyo's Johannesburg Campus on Saturday 5 May. More than fifty leaders gathered at the Impact Community Church in Edenvale to be equipped in this area.
Hayley Walker from Protective Behaviours South Africa (Keeping Our Children and Youth Safe) emphasised that all of us have responsibilities in this regard. And many churches and leaders have a lot to learn and put into practice.
Johannesburg campus lecturer and pastor at Crystal Park Baptist Church, Gideon Mpeni (Multi-Cultural Children's and Youth Ministry) unpacked Acts 17:1-9 and Paul's method in witnessing to the people of Athens. When it comes to multi-cultural ministry, the key thing to remember is that there is no difference between skin colour, cultures or socio-economic factors when it comes to the real need – that of salvation. Though environments and traditions may vary, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". We need to understand the context in which we are ministering and then preach the Gospel in a way that will make the most effective impact.
Pastor Giel Vermeulen of Impact Christian Church (Teaching Children and Youth Effectively) explained the different learning styles that children have and gave some basic guidelines on how to minister to all of them within our various ministries without losing sight of the Gospel.
Pastor Michael Lear of Springs Baptist Church (Choosing or Writing Sound Biblical Curriculum) used examples from his own experience and writing, and made the very important statement, "The Bible is your curriculum". If only churches would remember this and design and choose the material they use accordingly, then we will be effectively training our children in the way they should go.
Given the positive ratings and success, Mukhanyo hopes to be able to make this conference an annual event. Pray with us that we all will grow in our ability and faithfulness in child evangelism.
The use of social media can lead to self-esteem, boasting, gossiping, jealousy, pretending, lying, immorality, wasting of time, laziness and other sinful behaviour. But is can also be used to give information through to the congregation, advertise Christian events, spread the Gospel, communicate with far-away family and bring the church service to the bedside of an aged or sick member.
These were some of the points that were discussed at the youth conference that was held at the KwaMhlanga Campus on Saturday 2 June. The attendees received the teachings by Rev Herens Nkoana with great appreciation and actively took part in the discussions afterwards.
The main thought was that the negative aspects of the social media are very significant and outweigh the positive aspects. Everybody agreed that one should use it with great wisdom and discernment. At any point of time one should feel free to show the information shared to one’s parents, pastor or even God Himself (Who in any rate sees it all!).
All went home with the warning that the Word of God should have the major place in our lives and that we should live like David said in Psalm 119:9-11: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. With my whole heart I seek You… I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
Mukhanyo is blessed to welcome no fewer than six guest lecturers to serve during the second semester. All of them are highly qualified to contribute to the development of our students.
One lecturer, Rev Gesse Rios from Brazil, will teach diploma students the whole second semester on the New Testament. He is supported by APMT, a missional ministry of Presbyterian churches in Brazil. Others will be at Mukhanyo for shorter periods.
Prof Paul Krüger, emeritus professor of the Reformed Theological School, NWU Potchefstroom, will teach an intensive course in Pretoria from 16-20 July on Old Testament prophetic books for all Mukhanyo’s degree students.
Dr Bosco Bangura will teach intercultural evangelism (for BTh students) as well as ethics (for Diploma students) in August. He is from Sierra Leone and at present is serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Theology, North-West University in Potchefstroom.
Mr Andrew Gilhooley will teach on Old Testament poetic books and the book of Ruth in September. He is an American who is currently researching at the University of Pretoria for a PhD in Old Testament Studies.
Rev Sechaba Legoete will teach on church planting for our diploma students in KwaMhlanga. He is a Mukhanyo alumnus and presently serving as a pastor in Barberton.
And finally, Dr David Galletta and will visiting Mukhanyo in October to teach the General Epistles (New Testament) for degree students, as well as Creed and Confessions for our diploma students. He has visited and taught at Mukhanyo almost ten times in the last ten years. He is a and has been teaching all over the world.
Ms Tunize Bezuidenhout, Mukhanyo’s Distance Learning Centre Coordinator, recently visited a number of distance learning support centres, including groups in Ladysmith, Empangeni, Welkom, Hoopstad and Moloto.
The purpose of these visits was to build relationships, encourage the students, evaluate the operation of the groups, provide training where needed and offer ongoing support.
Here are some impressions gained from the visits.
Tutors at these centres are not paid by Mukhanyo. We recognise and appreciates the hard work – often voluntary – that they are doing to extend the Kingdom of God. May our Father keep and strengthen them so that are able to continue their very important work.
Mukhanyo is also working to further improve and expand its network of distance learning support centres. An experienced manager is needed to guide this vital area of theological education and to coordinate quality support for the growing number of Mukhanyo facilitators and distance students. Click HERE for more information about this open position.