Mukhanyo has been equipping church leaders for the past 26 years. And Mukhanyo continues to grow. There are many others facts…
Mukhanyo is pulling-out all stops to facilitate the ever growing number of distance learning centres all across the country and beyond. The number is expected to reach a hundred centres with a thousand students within the next few years.
Planning for 100 + 1000
During a three-day Distance Forum for the tutors and administrators of the Distance Learning Support Centres at Mukhanyo’s KwaMhlanga campus in September, Glyn Williams, the distance manager, said that in the past year the number of centres increased by 44% to 78, with some 550 active students. A further eleven centres are being planned and are expected to start within the next few months.
Some centres are small – with four or five students – but some others have many more. In general attendance and participation during classes is high. Most centres have weekly classes, some even more frequently. Quite a number of students are already serving in churches, while upgrading their Bible knowledge and understanding.
The expected growth is not without challenges, such as:
At the Forum the tutors of many centres indicated high praise for Mukhanyo’s distance programme and qualifications. They expressed their commitment and also provided useful information on how to keep on growing.
Our gracious God in heaven is blessing the work and also giving many opportunities for spreading His Word further. We trust He will also make it possible, because while He commands, He also shows the way and provides the means.
“My eyes have opened to the truth”, one student confessed to his tutor. Others have commented to their tutors that they have found the Mukhanyo modules Christ-centred and biblically sound. They also indicated they find the fees affordable, although more support would be appreciated. They are impressed with the high quality curricula and the context that is contextualised for African ministry, and the academic content of the modules is found to be at the right level.
Glyn Williams, the Mukhanyo distance manager, has visited a number of centres in different parts of the country. Various groups of students tell him of the high praise they have for their tutors and their commitment.
According to the tutors, many students have indicated that they would like to continue their studies and start with the BTh degree. However, this is presently only possible at Mukhanyo’s campus in KwaMhlanga and at the Advanced Learning Centres in Johannesburg and Pretoria and at the new Advanced centre starting in Durban in early 2020.
One of the problems which distance students encounter, is a desperate need of resources, especially finances. Distances are also a problem with transport facilities expensive. So Mukhanyo greatly subsidies the programme by keeping student fees as low as possible: for example, module fees (including study guides and other material) for centres outside of South Africa are only R200 per student per module.
Mukhanyo now has distance learning centres in all of South Africa’s provinces, with the exception of the Northern Cape. There are also centres in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Wednesday 18 September, Mukhanyo’s KwaMhlanga students held a debate. Two teams were selected and started preparing several weeks before. The topic: Should pastors be involved in politics?
When the debate started, the affirmative team led by Paul Kivumbi argued that pastors must be involved in politics. Next was Titus Padi from the negative group, who used the Greek word for pastor to state that pastors need to care for their flocks.
Elias Mavimbela argued passionately in the affirmative and he was followed by Kgotso Maikhoso, who argued that pastoring is a full time job and so is politics – he asked the affirmative team where they would find the time for church work if they were politicians.
Both of the second speakers picked up on comments from the opposing teams and remarked on it. The audience listened with attention.
Ronald Gonyora ended his team's presentation with his calm way of stating the need for pastors in politics. Kudzai Chimedza's concluded that pastors shouldn't be in politics, but that pastors had to pastor those who would one day be in politics.
At the end of the debate it was explained that the purpose of a debate is to acquire skills in doing research about a specific topic and then being able to state your argument in a civil way. The teams not only have to know their own topic but also the arguments of the opposing team. This is done so that they can react to statements made by the opposing team. This is an important skill that they will use frequently in their lives.
The three judges declared Titus Padi's negative team the winners. Titus was also adjudicated the best speaker. Pastors should not be involved in politics!
All the students agreed that the debate should be a regular part of the KwaMhlanga campus calendar.
The enrollment process for theology students is again well underway. We are thankful for the strong interest in each area and for the number of students already accepted for studies in 2020.
Prospective students are urged to apply soon.
Contact information and other details are listed below. Bursaries are also available, based on financial need and other criteria. Students are eligible to apply for bursaries upon acceptance and after the full registration fee has been paid.
Study Fees for 2020
Contact details for more information
Main campus in KwaMhlanga:
Phone: 013 947 2179 / 074 137 5050
Phone: 011 339 1223
Phone: 012 004 1215
Phone: 071 62 5984 / 067 822 2442
Phone: 067 256 6332
To join a Distance Learning Support Centre: contact the distance manager, Glyn Williams, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mukhanyo’s BTh Honours programme is off and running, according to Dr Bryson Arthur, honours programme manager and senior lecturer. This exciting initiative, fully accredited by the South African authorities, has a duration of 18 months. Three tracks are being developed: Systematic Theology, Biblical Studies and Church History.
“Currently we are offering the Systematic Theology track. This degree itself is a worthy advancement and capping of a first degree in theology. But it also serves, of course, as the requirement for entry on to a Masters degree” says Dr Arthur.
“We have begun very well, with an excellent first semester. At present we have six students, with others waiting to begin next semester. The students who are either already pastors of churches, or are seeking to enter church ministry, have already demonstrated mature, academic competence and ability.”
Most students are married with families and are excited about the honours programme advancing their theological training. However, they are experiencing difficulties in financing their studies. This is a vital challenge particularly in this start-up period.
God willing, Mukhanyo expects to have at least its first two honours graduates by the middle of 2020. For further info contact Dr Arthur at Mukhanyo or email@example.com.
Did you know that Mukhanyo started a primary school at its campus in 2010? Today this is the Musawenkosi Christian Academy with 105 learners from grade 1 to 7.
Musawenkosi (meaning grace of God) was started especially for orphans and other vulnerable children. Today children from the neighbourhood are also welcome, but more than 85% are still vulnerable children in one or other way.
This school ministry was an initiative of many people and especially Dr Flip Buys, the former principal of Mukhanyo. Today the school is not official linked to Mukhanyo; it only uses the premises of Mukhanyo who owns the land.
Through the years the school has grown and now has children up to Grade 7. The ideal is to continue to be a high school as well, going through to Grade 12, according to Jeremie Havugimana, secretary of the School Board. We must be “faithful to our mission to be relevant in the community”, he says.
Through the years it proved to be difficult to get the school registered officially by the local educational authorities. But once it was registered, it has been assisted by subject specialists of the Mpumalanga Department of Education. These specialists provided workshops to the teachers and the principal of the school.
Discipline and the Christian character are visible when one enters the premises of the school which is rented from Mukhanyo. The school is also thankful for the high standards the teachers are able to maintain. Last year the school got two awards for mathematics, one for Grade 3 and one for Grade 6.
The establishment of the school was made possible by donors from the USA who are still involved and visiting the school regularly. The School Board is thankful to God for their continued interest.
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.