Mukhanyo’s leadership has always realised that our location in Johannesburg has enormous potential. But several limitations made it difficult to exploit it fully. Not for much longer! A renovation and construction project of R1 million has started in October.
The building is within walking distance from the Johannesburg bus terminal, just two blocks north of the Gautrain’s Park Station. The location is ideal, but the teaching facilities inside were somewhat limited and basic. This all will have changed, hopefully by early next year, ready for a new intake of students.
At present the centre has 27 students who taking the accredited BTh degree and Diploma programmes. New classrooms, a large library, a computer centre, offices and other facilities will be able to cater for at least triple this figure. In addition the security outside the building has been improved. The City of Johannesburg has also upgraded the area around Park Station.
The enthusiastic faculty and admin staff, under the management of Dr Japie Malan, is looking forward to the new year. They pray that our Father in Heaven will bless and enable them to teach more and more students to serve the church as pastors and other church leaders.
Eleven easy steps to become a good tutor
You don’t have to be a pastor or theologian to become a good tutor for one of Mukhanyo growing network of distance study groups. But you do need to have knowledge about a number of important things.
On 2-4 October 2018, Mukhanyo held its annual workshop for the tutors of its many distance study groups. It was well attended by 32 tutors from as far away as East London and Malawi. After three days of hard work everybody agreed that it had been very worthwhile.
Which does not mean that running a study group is easy and without challenges. To mention a few: Because it is a part-time study, some students are tempted to drop out when they find the studies difficult. Commitment and finances are often problems. And it happens that tutors have to give advice to students on private or religious matters.
But there are always ways and means to address such issues. The workshop devised specific methods to motivate students and to prevent drop-outs (it is called the InterVision method). Attention went to practical things such as how to teach, writing and assessment of assignments, administration and financial matters, team building, dealing with cultural differences, supporting local discipleship, communication and co-operation, and so on.
The Mukhanyo offices are busy upgrading study and assessment material and improving the quality of DVDs. It is expected that new distance qualifications will become available in the new year once fully accredited by the Council for Higher Education.
All tutor workshop participants went home inspired and motivated for the magnificent task ahead with one motto: “We are all Mukhanyo!”
· A quick survey during the workshop revealed that in 15 study groups there were altogether 64 pastors from Independent churches as students!
· It is expected that approximately 50 students will complete their students at the end of the year to graduate in early 2019.
“I wish I had received such teaching . . .”
Congregations expect much of a pastor’s wife and she often finds it difficult to balance her time between her family and the ministry. Apart from that, the family of a pastor often has the feeling that they “are living in a fish bowl” and that the congregation is watching them closely. They seem to just never get it right in the eyes of some of the church members!
How does a pastor’s wife deal with this? Should she withdraw from being involved in the ministry? Should she be involved in everything at church even at the risk of neglecting her own children and home?
On Saturday 6 October 2018, a Pastors’ Wives Conference organised by Mukhanyo was held at Midrand Chapel. Four women spoke on the topics “Supporting your husband in ministry”, “The challenges of parenting in ministry”, “How to organise a women’s fellowship”and “Hospitality, reflecting Christ in your home.”
We learned that a pastor’s wife should be sure about her position in Christ – the most important is what Christ sees in her life and not what people see. When children are brought up in the Lord’s ways and learn to love the Lord and have respect for others, they can be taught and will probably love to be of help reaching out to others or with hosting guests. On the other hand, it was clearly stated that neither the pastor nor his wife can save their children – that happens through the saving grace of Christ.
Each of the sessions also included much practical advice. All the attendees agreed that it was a blessing to them and some of the older women replied with a sigh,“I wish I had received such teaching when we started in the ministry!”We are so grateful for those who attended and especially the younger ladies who are only starting off on the road of pastor’s wife.
“Many pastors are hypocrites”
Matthew 6:5 says, “you must not be like hypocrites … they love to … be seen by others.” And many pastors today are hypocrites, according to Pastor Elias Masango when he addressed the audience at our Church Leaders’ Conference on 13 October.
Pastor Masango led the session on faithfulness in Christ-like living. He stated that many pastors pretend to be godly and love to be seen by others, but they are hypocrites. However, a faithful church leader is no hypocrite. Rather, he has a deep and genuine walk with the Lord, and he seeks God’s glory instead of his own.
The 70-odd attendees at the conference were taught the importance of the life and character of a faithful church leader. The other two main sessions were on “Faithfulness in Preaching” by Dr David Galletta, and “Faithfulness in Church Leadership” by Rev Thokozani Thwala.
Questions & Answers
Toward the end of the day a question and answer session was held. One question: “What if a person feels called to the ministry, but his pastor gives no encouragement and treats him as a threat?” Answer: Be careful; don’t ignore the normal church channels. And be patient because the Lord can take you on a long road to the ministry.
Another question: “Is it biblical to bless the Bible before reading it?” Answer: Quite unnecessary. God has already blessed his Word..
During the breaks there was a constant buzz of informal conversations. Many of the guests also flocked around the book tables to choose some good biblical books to study at home. We were amazed at the number of books sold at this event. Please pray with us that the Lord will continue to bless the good teaching that is being received.
The short and sweet of distance groups
During the past year a number of Mukhanyo’s some 60 distance Bible study groups were visited and the visitors have gained the following impressions:
• Tutors put in much effort with the students and go above and beyond what is expected of them. They are volunteers, but very dedicated.
• The quality of the services provided by Mukhanyo (memoranda, study guides, DVDs, etc) can still be improved significantly. This will require Mukhanyo to make more resources available.
• Student’s thinking and knowledge are broadened. They express that a whole new world opens up to them. They now recognise the authority of the Bible and can test the authority of the preacher against it.
• Students have learned how the Old Testament opens up the New Testament.
• Many students are already making a difference on ground level in their communities. They preach what they learn with the result that their church members are also growing.
• Students are enthusiastic about the truth and eager to learn. Some struggle with conflict in their churches because they are now believing and doing things differently.
• Mukhanyo succeeds in its goal to train African church leaders and is making a difference.
Here follows some comments on specific study groups:
Welkom: This group lead by Rev Louis O’Tool is a sharp group of students. Louis presents the material in the most effective way and pushes the students to maximise their full potential. A practical class was held where students had to exegete a passage of Scripture and critique and evaluate each other. The church in Welkom supports Mukhanyo as part of their missional vision.
Hoopstad: It is a great delight for the tutor, Frans du Toit, to teach the students. The local church supports this project and subsidises the student fees with R120 per student per module. The students faithfully attend classes in the Tikwana township.
Pinetown: Three pastors worked together to start this group, since they identified a shortage of evangelists and pastors in the African communities. If students miss a class, they get a 1 000-word assignment to do from the tutor, Dr Riens de Haan. The tutor uses PowerPoint presentations to make classes more interesting. They also try to have many practical classes and revision.
Marina Beach: This group of students come from far and wide. The best method of training for them is to attend an intensive week of training in each period. This takes place at the South Coast Bible School, run by tutor George Sander. George is a committed missionary and has been serving the Lord faithfully for many years.
South Coast Groups: These groups are coordinated by Herman Swart under the banner of the King Christian Outreach Trust. He is an evangelist and tutor for these groups and he has taken the initiative for all the tutors of these groups to coordinate with each other. Two tutors work together in order to keep each other accountable and deliver the best training to the students.