The excitement of the children who gathered at Revival Impact World Church in Chief Albert Luthuli Park in Johannesburg on Saturday the 30th of November 2019 certainly matched the bright sunny weather. The much anticipated event was a Children’s Day Celebration.
The 60 children and their Sunday School teachers participated in otLIVE as they learned the big picture of the Old Testament. In between the sessions there was much dancing and singing – and certainly a party atmosphere.
As the Sunday School teachers shared:
“The children learnt so much from otLIVE and so did we! otLIVE also reminded us about engaging the children to make Scripture lessons more interesting. The more we make learning fun and interactive, the more we will engage the children as we disciple them. Children’s ministry was important to Jesus and it should be important to us too!
As teachers we have the great privilege to teach these children about God for they are the future ministers of His Word. otLIVE really helps them all to understand how the big picture of God’s story fits together.
The children had so much fun with otLIVE. They want to know when you are coming back!”
This was also one of the first otLIVEs taught by the newly trained otLIVE instructor, Welcome Ndlovu – who had just as much fun as the children.
As one of the Sunday School teachers shared: “The kids just loved Welcome. He has such a natural repoire with the kids.”
(Our grateful thanks to Joyce Nkosi from Revival Impact World Church for this feedback)
** ttt4c (turn the tide 4 children) which is associated with Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa were part of supporting this year end celebration.
For more information on otLIVE please click here
Rev Vincent Kandan, reflecting on the impact of Crucible, a Walk Thru the Bible Live Event
“I arrived at the Walk Thru the Bible office for the Crucible Event with an acute sense of the physical, economic, and spiritual burdens that the 180 members of my congregation were facing. We were in this valley. We were working hard, but we were struggling.
Not long before the Crucible Event, our church had hosted a Holiday Bible Club for local children. When 2000 children attended, our entire congregation rejoiced at how God had used us to make an impact in the community. But immediately afterwards, problems among our people seemed to intensify. Marriages deteriorated, family conflicts surfaced, and health issues abounded. Even my wife and I struggled with our health.
You know, I have heard the story of David many times, but somehow Crucible refreshed my faith and gave me the strength to resolve to lead my congregation through the time of crisis. I learnt so much from this Live Event. As I studied the lives of David, Saul, and Goliath – as presented in Crucible, I could see such parallels with what my own church was facing.
“There are so many things against us. But God will be with us.”
Defeating the Giant
Crucible teaches about Saul’s fear versus David’s faith. I decided to share that with my congregation. Some of them will tell you they don’t have much faith. But every time a giant in our lives and congregation rears its ugly head, we as pastors need to advise our people to become dependent on God – and not give in to fear. Saul was dependent on his own strength, but David came in the name of the Lord Almighty. I believe this is how we can overcome. We can defeat our giants – by looking to God.
I decided immediately to teach Crucible to my church. For me, I wanted them to know: the Lord says, ‘The battle is not yours. It’s mine.’ We need to give our giants to God. There are so many things that are against us. Will they ever go away? I don’t think so. But God will be with us.”
Please click here for more information on Crucible.
“What I love is that ntLIVE is so reflective. We have run this Live Event in our Sunday School – and it has allowed the children to reflect on the New Testament stories and what they mean for their lives. It is so important that they reflect on the truth of who Christ is.
ntLIVE introduced the children to three important elements in the Christian life – the birth, death and coming again of Christ. It also helps us all to understand that we are living in New Testament times – waiting for Christ to return.
We need to teach them:
How do we live while we wait His return – and what does Christ want us to do?
And ntLIVE was so helpful with this!
I personally learn something new every time I teach this Live Event!”
~ Xolani Mtanyelwa, Agape Family Church
Agape Warriors, run by Agape Family Church in Katlehong, currently minister to 250 children on a weekly basis – with the distinct aim of catering to the spiritual needs of the children. They are supported on a monthly basis by turn the tide 4 children (ttt4c) – which is associated with Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa.
Project leader, Charmaine Mtanyelwa explains:
“These children face many challenges – including poverty, broken families, alcoholism and illiteracy. We want them to know that regardless of their backgrounds, Christ loves and cares for them. Around here, Ncala is an area that is quite notorious – known for its high crime rate and instability. Agape Warriors have specifically identified the children from this community and sought to make a difference in their lives. So we transport the children from Ncala to church every Sunday – so that they can participate in the project. We do Bible lessons that are child friendly and include activities that help the children apply the lesson.
We have been so encouraged to see the impact of the project on the lives of the children. We have had parents who have come to church and given their lives to the Lord, because of their children being part of Agape Warriors. Parents share amazing stories with us – also about how their children’s behaviour has changed for the better. We never cease to give God the glory for these precious souls that He has entrusted into our care.
In addition to Sunday programs, Agape Warriors also run a program in the school holiday which caters for 400 children. During this time the children are taught life changing and Biblical principles through games and group work. They are also given breakfast and lunch. It is so important to know that the children are safe and fed during the holidays.
We face many challenges and social ills in our community – but this does not derail the passion that we have for children. We believe: “train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old he will not depart from it.” Great citizens begin with well-trained children.
Our gratitude goes to ttt4c for the monthly financial assistance we receive for this project. Thank you to the ttt4c donors who make this possible.”
** turn the tide 4 children (tt4c) is associated with Walk Thru the Bible
Run by Living Hope Tabernacle in Soweto, Johannesburg
This turn the tide 4 children (ttt4c) supported children’s project provides after school care and support to 180 children between the ages of six and eleven. (ttt4c is associated with Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa.)
Project workers provide the children with a meal and assist with homework. They also do Bible teaching and various extra-curricular activities with the children. In order to help address emotional and psychological needs, the project is in partnership with social workers – as well as with other stakeholders such as the ‘help to read program’.
The children face may difficulties and mostly come from impoverished home environments. Many live with grandmothers (due to the death of their own parents) or with unemployed single mothers.
According to project worker, Vuyiswa Sifile: “We are so happy to see the transformation in many of the children. We even have parents asking us to assist them with their children’s behaviour. Some have even joined our church because of their children being in the project.”
In addition to the after school care program, the Eagle Youth Empowerment Project also runs an annual holiday program in order to reach out to other children in the community.
Our grateful thanks to the turn the tide 4 children (ttt4c) donors who provide financial support for the various children’s projects that are run by High Impact Network Churches.
** ttt4c is associated with Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa.
This was over the course of a week at the annual Holiday Bible Club hosted by the Lenasia Church of the Nazarene. It seems like not even the icy winter cold could dampen the enthusiasm of the children – and the leaders recount, with a smile, how the queue of children wanting to come into Holiday Bible Club just didn’t end!
Zeenat, one of the leaders shares: “As the leadership prepared for this Holiday Bible Club, we felt lead by the Lord to take the children back to basics. There is such a spiritual need in this area. We felt the need to help every child, at every level, understand and remember what the Bible is about – and that is why we chose otLIVE as our teaching theme for the children this year. We, as adults, and as a congregation did otLIVE – and were so excited about what we had learnt in such a short time. We realized the amazing potential otLIVE would have with the children.”
Another leader at the Holiday Bible Club, Janelle, relates her impressions: “I was so impressed with how the otLIVE instructors related to the children. They taught them the Bible stories and the hand signs to help them remember. But they also brought the stories back to the real lives of the children. Children need something they can relate to. What does it mean to obey God like Moses did? What do I learn from Joseph about forgiving my brothers – and what does it mean to have honesty and integrity like he did? We also want to teach life skills to these children – things like respect, safety, obedience. We are planting seeds in the lives of the children. This is such an opportunity to speak life over them and call out their potential. It also really helped that the instructors were able to switch between Zulu, Sotho and English – and relate to the children in their own language.”
“What is amazing is that the kids remember most of the otLIVE lesson and are really motivated. The hand signs really help.” – Deon, Leader Teen Boys
According to Rev Vincent Kandan from the church:
“Walk Thru the Bible has really helped us by coming on board and taking care of the teaching and curriculum for the 1900 who attended this year’s Holiday Bible Club. It relieved some of the pressure for us as a church, and enabled us to focus on the many other logistics involved in organizing and running an event of this size and nature.”
Ministering to spiritual and physical needs
Lenasia Church of the Nazarene’s heart is to bring the hope of Christ to their community. This is vividly demonstrated in their commitment to minister to both the spiritual and physical needs of the children. The Holiday Bible Club was held at two different venues in Lenasia – in areas with very diverse populations. Many of the children came from poverty stricken informal settlements. Some are from Muslim and Hindu backgrounds. The children are welcomed with breakfast and a hot drink as they arrive in the cold early mornings that characterize winter in Johannesburg. Those who arrive without adequate warm clothing are provided with shoes, jerseys or jackets as required. The children are also given another meal before they go home.
A contingent of 200 volunteers are trained to assist in the running of the Holiday Club. They work in areas such as catering and kitchen work, first aid, security, clean up and the leading of small groups. Many of the volunteers who now serve at the Holiday Bible Club (with many even taking leave from work to do so) attended the Bible Club themselves as children. Now they send their own children to the week long event. Other volunteers are members of the community who see the value of the work and are eager to get involved.
God at work in the lives of the children and volunteers
After worship and otLIVE teaching in the bigger groups, the children break up into smaller age appropriate groups with their leaders (pre, school, middle school and teenagers). This is an opportunity for reinforcing the lesson, reviewing hand signs, discussion, crafts, games, song and dance. It is these settings and other quieter moments, that provide opportunities for one on one counselling and sharing.
As one leader testified: “Just this morning, I talked with a 10 year old girl who was suicidal – her family are of another faith – but I shared with her the purpose that God has for her life and taught her about talking to God through prayer. Many of the children come from very difficult home circumstances. Our heart is to serve them and show them love as Christ loves. We have to bear in mind what they had to go through just to be here on this cold morning. It is also wonderful to see how God is at work, not just in the lives of the children – but also in the lives of the volunteers.”
A testimony to the Lord
Lenasia Church of the Nazarene has a long legacy of running Holiday Bible Clubs in the area – with the first one being run in 1963. Rev Vincent is himself a product of Holiday Bible Club – having come to know the Lord as a young boy in a similar environment. His associate pastor, Rev Peter explains how difficult it was to initially break into the area, which has a strong presence of other faiths.
The church has a weekly attendance of 160 – 200 people. What a testimony to what the Lord will do with hearts and a people who are willing to serve and reach their community with the love of Christ. Rev Vincent also testifies as to how the church has grown through the Holiday Bible Club: “As we reach the children, we reach their families and many are drawn to coming to church. We want to bring hope to Lenasia.”
The annual Holiday Club is something the Lenasia Church of the Nazarene spends the whole year preparing for – raising funds, collecting clothing, preparing themes and activities, gathering community support and local authority approval and training leaders and volunteers. And by half way through the week, Rev Vincent, already with a glint in his eye, is making plans for next year…
** turn the tide 4 children (ttt4c) which is associated with Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa were part of sponsoring this Holiday Bible Club
For more information on otLIVE please click here