In 2016 we were sent out from a church in Secunda, South Africa, on a scary but exciting adventure to plant Church Alive in Witbank, South Africa. We planted the church not knowing a single person in the area, but we knew God had spoken and so we went out in obedience. Our church’s name Church Alive is based on Romans 6, as we believe that Witbank would be known as “alive in Christ and dead to sin”. Witbank has many challenges, but we know God is bigger than those challenges and He has a plan for our city.
Around July 2017, I had become restless with the “usual” way of church or partnering, and felt that there had to be a better way to partner in advancing the Kingdom. Then in September 2017, a couple from Joshua Generation Church in Durbanville moved to Witbank and were looking for a church to attend. Through Russell Fraser we were put in touch, and Fernando, Simone and kids have been part of our family since then. They continually spoke about Four12, and I had some conversations with Russell and Daniel Barnard (from CLC Benoni) regarding what partnering with Four12 meant. God, however (unbeknownst to us), had knitted our hearts together already, and soon we felt that it was time for us to partner, which happened officially in March of this year.
The biggest encouragement we have experienced since partnering with Four12 is that we are not alone on this journey.
The biggest encouragement we have experienced since partnering with Four12 is that we are not alone on this journey. We had begun to feel very isolated, but now knowing that other Four12 partnering churches have our backs, well, it’s put the wind back in our sails. Partnering also brought us back to the bigger picture again: that we are a global field, of one God, one faith, and one heart. Also partnering the way that Four12 does ensures that we are on the same page doctrinally, making sure that we are building church the way that God intended, according to the Scriptures. Having apostolic input and a trustworthy sounding board is very helpful, assuring us that we’re heading in the right direction, especially in the times we are in as the church, and the times ahead that we are going to face.
As new partners within Four12, the Four12 Conference in South Africa 2018 was our first conference and we didn’t know what to expect. We thought we had been to similar conferences over the past decade, but this conference was nothing like any we’d attended before.
We were blown away by the…genuine love for God that seemed to be as much a part of their lives ‘up front’ as it was in their homes.
The teachers delivered messages of truth which cut me to the heart. Not just crowd-pleasing messages but truth from Scripture. We were blown away by the love people had for Jesus and His church. It wasn’t an emotional response fuelled by great worship or preachers, but a genuine love for God that seemed to be as much a part of their lives ‘up front’ as it was in their homes. A love for God that flowed beyond the conference walls.
God-willing, we will have more people join us at next year’s conference in South Africa. You definitely catch something at a conference like this, seeing ourselves as a part of one church meeting across the globe. We know that through this unity, God commands a blessing, and we look forward to even more adventures with our Four12 partners, friends and new family!