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Built on God’s word

In this interview, CMS missionary Kylie Zietsch, who trains and mentors students at Johannesburg Bible College (JBC) South Africa, speaks to students Nhlanhla Zwane and Khanyi Mhlanga about their growing respect for and joy in the word of God.

 

1. What is the biggest thing you have learnt at JBC? 
Khanyi:

For me, though it may sound like a cliché for JBC, I truly discovered who Christ is, what he has done and what he means to me. My highlight was learning that Christ is God in flesh. That just blew me away.

My time at JBC changed my understanding of the whole Bible.  Before, my experience with Christ had been going through the emotions. If anyone asked me what the gospel was… I knew it was good news and that we needed to live moral lives but Christ being the centre of the gospel was not quite clear to me.

Now, I can preach Christ and conduct a bible study teaching Christ to people, things I never would have been able to do by myself, at least not the proper way.

Nhlanhla:

There is a lot of things I have learnt and am still learning at JBC. But the question is, “what is the biggest?” In response to this I would have to say it is to respect the word of God.

When I came to JBC, I realised in hindsight that I was a motivational speaker more than a teacher of the word. I thrived on entertaining people with my ability to speak, and never respected the text of the Bible. I would preach from any text and bring in my own convictions in my presentation. JBC has taught me how to respect the text and be faithful in presenting and teaching it.

2. How has it helped your ministry? 
K:

When I came to JBC, I had stepped back from serving because of the longing and emptiness I felt while seeking to know more of Christ. Thinking back now, my time serving was not fruitful. I was just fulfilling my obligations as a member of a church, like working to survive in a secular job. It had nothing to do with my service being a vehicle for God’s Kingdom.

My time as an apprentice at JBC is so fulfilling because I am being fed spiritually while I learn to teach the word. Now I am excited to learn more about Christ and to share him with others.

N:

I am leading a two-year-old church called Family Life Restoration Church. When we started, we built on our enthusiasm and we discovered very early on in the ministry that enthusiasm would only get us so far. We realized that we needed training and JBC was the answer. Our Sunday services have changed a lot, we have moved from thumb-sucking messages every Saturday evening to preparing our sermons from the bible and spending at least a minimum of 20 hours preparing a sermon and practicing it before we present it.

Now, members of the congregation are confessing their new love for the word of God and others are seeing their attitudes and characters taking shape. We trust that if we continue in this route, we will have a congregation that is built on God’s word rather than our own convictions.

3. What is the best thing about knowing Christ? 
K:

Just knowing that he is in me makes my life full and more purposeful. As a result, I can show love, give hope to others, be kind, and be a community with other citizens of heaven. I look forward to more in life, and not just for myself, but also in serving others.

N:

Everything! Now, besides being saved from God’s judgment, knowing Christ helps me to know that though I am a sinner, I am accepted and the beloved of God. This deals with my shame and need to be loved and accepted. If the whole world knew this, we would all be rushing to be saved.

4. What are you praying for the church in South Africa? 
K:

Pray that the word may be preached faithfully, and that only Christ is preached. Pray that men and women of God may seek to be educated to preach the word in context and not distort the message just to siphon more tithes from congregants.

Pray that there would be unity among the many denominations, so that we can build each other up, be an example to the whole country, and educate each other on putting Christ as the centre of not only the gospel but of life itself.

N:

I am praying for the new reformation, that God may bring about the great revival.

I have realized through studying with JBC that we have many church buildings and places of worship, but we have few CHURCHES.  Churches have been slowly invaded by false teachings, the few that are dedicated to faithfully preaching the gospel are few and under resourced. Institutions like JBC equip these church leaders and my prayer is for God to give these faithful churches boldness to spread the word.

Pray

Thank God for raising up humble local students in South Africa who are prepared to submit their lives to God’s word.