In four years, the number of Mukhanyo’s Distance Learning Support Centres has doubled to 101. This year, four centres started in Kenya and seven in South Africa. Even faster growth is expected with the recent appointment of five regional distance coordinators.
The Kenyan centres in Bumala, Bumamu, Busia and Kisumu were established by Rev. Eric Mutumbi, in partnership with the North American funders Word & Deed. All of them are using Mukhanyo’s Focus programme. The facilitators/tutors are pastors who have recently been trained, enabling them to manage and lead the groups.
Independent Church Leaders Want Training
In July, after months of preparation, a new facilitated learning support centre started functioning, consisting of senior Zulu independent church leaders. This new distance group in Kwaggafontein, north-east of Pretoria in the former KwaNdebele homeland, could prove to be an important breakthrough for several reasons.
As generally acknowledged, leaders of African independent or indigenous churches (AICs) often have no theological training and limited Bible knowledge, but many are faithful spiritual leaders. So it is very significant when another group of these leaders personally request training, asking Mukhanyo to provide them with Bible knowledge so that they can preach from the Bible correctly.
Mukhanyo was stated in this way more than three decades ago, and this ministry's focus continues unhindered. We thank the Lord for the opportunity to be involved in the further training and future development of local independent church leaders.
Rev Tebogo Mogale, lecturer and co-marketer of Mukhanyo, says it is promising that this group’s participants indicated they want to be biblically equipped to lead their congregations better. They now will also ask their branch churches to start distance study groups.
Over and above the present twelve church leaders in this study group, another six have applied to join the group. These are very senior leaders, all over 60 years old. This group is facilitated by brother Given Ngoma, a student who just completed the BTh degree at Mukhanyo KwaMhlanga.
Please pray for God’s blessing on this Zulu group! Pray that this is the beginning of a growing trend with many more leaders from independent churches wanting to be trained in the Word of God.
New facilities for Durban Centre and an expanded vision for the distance group programme – are two exciting steps forward, taking place right now at Mukhanyo.
The paperwork and finances to acquire the new facility in Pinetown for Mukhanyo’s new Durban Advanced Learning Centre are almost finalised, and some minor work to prepare the centre for the staff and students has started.
The other step forward is the appointment of seven regional coordinators to assist and promote decentralised facilitated learning support centres. The fast growth of Mukhanyo’s distance programme in the last few years is a clear indication that there is still enormous potential for further growth. The task of the regional coordinators will be to guide and build on this potential while also providing more assistance to existing centres so that they continue to function effectively
Why study at Mukhanyo? South Africa has over fifty unaccredited Bible colleges. Add to this the colleges and seminaries linked to specific denominations, church study groups, as well as several public universities with theological faculties. There are many opportunities in South Africa to study the Bible, and we thank God for the religious freedom we enjoy.
At the end of another great year, this is a good opportunity to look back and see how our Lord has blessed Mukhanyo for over 28 years.
The years were full of activity, ups and downs, but more importantly, years in which our Almighty Father in heaven made it possible to not only survive but to grow the ministry above all expectations. Just read the following.
To establish and run a quality Distance Learning Support Centre for the Mukhanyo distance programme, you don’t have to be a pastor, theologian, teacher, secretary, or accountant, but you do have to be equipped in several areas.
On 5 to 8 July 2021, Mukhanyo held its first-ever DLSC Management Training Workshop for tutors and administrators responsible for the running of several Distance Learning Support Centres. Held online via Zoom, it was attended by 14 tutors and 2 administrators, from as far afield as Cape Town, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. Although some may have been a little apprehensive in attending a training workshop online instead of physically at one of our campuses, all logged off after three days of instruction and interaction, inspired and motivated for the work ahead. Everybody agreed that it was a worthwhile time together.
Apart from going through the processes needed to establish a Mukhanyo DSLC and recruit students, several skills were covered to assist the attendees to run the centres well into the future. Skills included: how to tutor students, marking assessments, student administration, ordering, managing finances, marketing, discipleship, and care.
Two sessions in particular issued personal challenges to the tutors. Firstly the session on discipleship challenged the tutors’ walks with the Lord, reminding them that to qualify to be a disciple-maker, one first has to be a disciple. But what does it mean to be a disciple? This question was answered in detail in this session.
The second challenge came in the final session that asked the question, “Why are we here?”. This session took the tutors from the surface motivations on why they’re involved in the Mukhanyo distance programme down to the heart of their ministry. Each tutor was challenged to assess their motivations, with the understanding that it’s not for fame or fortune, nor just to educate others or fulfil a calling, but to glorify God.
The three-day event was a great success and will be an annual event to be held in July. All Mukhanyo distance tutors and administrators are encouraged to attend.
We look forward to the next key distance event, the annual Distance Forum in September (www.mukhanyo.ac.za/distanceforum.html).
The expectation that Mukhanyo’s distance centres would suffer seriously because of COVID-19 limitations in 2020, has been proven wrong. It has become clear that nearly all the centres were able to continue with support sessions in one way or another - either as normal or through modern technology such as Zoom, WhatsApp and other platforms.
According to the Distance Manager, Glyn Williams, of the approximately 80 centres, less than a handful had to completely suspend activities. The number of students who wrote exams at the end of last year was relatively normal, and in total 62 students should graduate in March.
It was expected that more Distance Learning Support Centres would be established this year, but that the so-called second wave of COVID-19 infections might delay these plans. However, this expectation is also starting to be proven wrong, with new centres already in the process of being registered and several requests received by other interested parties in other areas. There has also been a large number of enquiries and applications made in 2021 by potential students for the distance programme.
The Mukhanyo distance programme continues to grow, and by the grace of God will continue to do so for many years to come.
A Success and Much Potential
A success, yes! But always room for improvement, growth, and huge potential to train church leaders to preach the Bible and be equipped to plant and run churches. That, in a nutshell, is what Mukhanyo Theological College is increasingly doing, not only in South Africa but also in six other African countries.
Gone are the days when Mukhanyo was only a college in KwaMhlanga, a semi-rural area some 65km northeast of Pretoria. Today it also has some 80 distance groups all over the country and beyond, as well as full-time study centres in Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Pretoria and Durban. The five campuses/centres together have some 300 active students and growing.
But the fastest-growing area of Mukhanyo’s activities is its distance programme. At present, the 80 centres have over 700 active students and 151 registered tutors. Pastor Glyn Williams, Lecturer and Distance Manager, reports that seven new centres were registered in the last year (despite the pandemic), and enquiries were recently received for eight potential centres in four countries, three of them outside South Africa where no Mukhanyo centres currently exist.
In 2019, 76 students completed their Diploma in Theology. Some have continued their studies and started their BTh degree, while others want to start their own distance groups. Glyn has visited many centres and is impressed with the high level of dedication by both the tutors and students. But he’s also recognises the need for more tutor support and training.
At the annual Distance Forum in September, the improvement of material delivery, the provision of quality material (study guides and DVDs), as well as further empowering group leaders, was discussed. This is already a high priority, with the implementation of a tutor training programme, tutor self-assessment and student support.
This year the Distance Forum took place at Mukhanyo’s Johannesburg Campus, where most group leaders attended online through Zoom. Not without technical hitches, of course, but proving that the future servicing of distance groups through technology is viable.
The distance programme is substantially subsidised by donors, something for which Mukhanyo is very thankful, especially now, in that even through the COVID-19 pandemic, donors have shown to be able and willing to continue their contributions. This enabled the Mukhanyo staff to continue developing and improving programmes, and serving the distance groups.
Many groups were able to continue meeting during the lock-down, either physically or online using various platforms. For some this proved more difficult due to distance and limited facilities. But the pandemic also proved that distance study is viable, and that academic quality can be maintained without ignoring the importance of dedicated and equipped tutors.
Registration is open for studies in 2021.
Mukhanyo has a complete range of quality programmes for Bible education, including these accredited qualifications offered in various locations across South Africa:
These qualifications and others are offered across Mukhanyo’s five main regional centres and its growing network of distance locations:
* National Senior Certificate (for detail see prospectus)
To register for study, phone or email the coordinator at one of the following Mukhanyo centres:
For information about Mukhanyo’s accredited theological qualifications, see https://www.mukhanyo.ac.za/programmes.html.
Information about each learning centre is explained at https://www.mukhanyo.ac.za/learningcentres.html.