Stir Up The Testimony About Our Lord Jesus Christ

We are a Pentecostal Church that started in the revival of 1906 and reached the shores of South Africa in 1908 when John G. Lake came to South Africa and preached the Gospel. He preached the message that we can receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, speak in tongues and be empowered to make a difference in our world. I believe that now more than ever before we have a calling to be a voice in our nation.

The scripture that I want to share with you today is from 2 Timothy 1:8: “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” Every one of us has a testimony. That testimony has its starting point in an encounter with God. For every one of us today, there was a moment in time when you and I experienced a touch of God, a word from God, a presence where we knew that what happened now was supernatural. I want you to go back in your mind to that moment. When was it? What were the circumstances in your life? Where did it happen? Who was present? Can you still remember the experience when you uttered the words: “Lord Jesus, I accept you as my personal Lord and Saviour”.

It is unfortunately a fact that as time goes by, we get accustomed to the new life in Jesus and that we are not as aware of this miracle in our life. To be called a child of God becomes “normal” and the newness of our relationship wears off if there is not constant growth in our relationship with God. Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Peter encourages us to always be prepared to tell our story. In a world without hope, why are we hopeful? Why are we filled with gratitude and not despair if you look around you? Do the people around us know and experience the new life that is in us?

When the AFM started, this church doubled in size within short periods of time. Between 1921 and 1926 the church doubled in members. By 1926 the AFM was one of the 12 largest denominations in South Africa (Let the Fire Fall; p103). The number of congregations grew from 84 in 1922 to 132 in 1928. (Let the Fire Fall; p104). I asked myself, why did this happen? The main reason for the growth was the members of the church that told everybody about what happened to them. Suddenly they changed – and filled with the Holy Spirit – started to live a new life.

“Jesus is the answer. He changes lives.”

Their family and friends were puzzled. They could see a new person. And this person was very different from the one they used to know. And they wanted to know what happened. These new converts were too happy to oblige and testify to everyone who wanted to know and did not want to know what happened in their life.

Jesus is the answer. He changes lives. He made them new and now they are born again. This is the message that we must share. We must take every opportunity to testify and share the Good News. Make use of every opportunity that comes your way. Let’s return to our roots and stay a missional church, praying for opportunities to share the Gospel and tell our salvation story. It is in our DNA, we as the AFM can’t help but be soul winners. We can’t help but share the gospel with everyone. Stir up the gift of God in you, the gift to testify.

If you are interested in the full Pastoral Letter, download it here:

AFM Pastoral Letter 1st Quarter 2024

Guarding Sound Doctrine Through The Help Of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit plays a vital role in guarding and preserving sound doctrine. With the guidance of the Spirit, we maintain the integrity of the Gospel message and “…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), protecting against the infiltration of false teachings and heresies. The Holy Spirit, known as the Spirit of Truth, leads believers into the fullness of truth (John 16:13). Through illuminating the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:10), the Holy Spirit enables believers to understand and apply God’s Word and empowers them to live according to sound doctrine.

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1: 13-14; NIV) and “Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1: 13-14; HCSB).

The God-inspired and God-breathed revealed truth is the life-giving revelation from God. He breathed things into existence, produced by God’s creative breath; it is profitable and trustworthy for healthy teaching (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The treasure that had been entrusted to Timothy, that treasure is to be guarded (1 Timothy 6:20). A treasure or deposit was something – money or a harvest of grain, for example – that was entrusted to another for safekeeping. Thus, preserving the deposit (a treasure, valuable commodity) of sound doctrine became a sacred duty and obligation, as it was to be safeguarded with the help provided by the Holy Spirit.

Patterns of sound doctrine and common confessions demonstrate comprehensive teachings. In Hebrews 6: 1-2, the author encourages believers to progress beyond foundational Christ’s doctrine, embracing more mature teachings. 1 Corinthians 15: 3-5 narrates Paul delivering the crucial elements of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearances. Furthermore, in 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul recounts the common confession regarding the mystery of godliness and Christology. “Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2; ESV).

The book of Hebrews enlists six foundational subjects in the doctrine of being a Christian:

      • Repentance from dead works,
      • Faith in God,
      • Instruction about baptism,
      • Laying on of hands,
      • Resurrection of the dead, and
      • Eternal judgment.

Common confessions and hymns were essential reminders of the core truths of the Gospel. These confessions helped to unify believers and provided a clear and consistent testimony of the vital doctrines of our faith. “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15: 3-5; ESV) Paul indicates in verse 3 that what he passed on to the Corinthians was the traditional hymn or common confession. And in 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul outlines the tremendous Christological hymn/creed. “By common confession, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the nations, was believed in throughout the world, and was taken up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3: 16; BSB)

“Sound doctrine refers to the correct and accurate teaching of the Word of God, which is essential for the spiritual growth and well-being of believers.”

2 Timothy highlights the importance of guarding and preserving sound doctrine with the help of the Holy Spirit faithfully. Sound doctrine refers to the correct and accurate teaching of the Word of God, which is essential for the spiritual growth and well-being of believers. In conclusion, guarding and preserving sound doctrine is of utmost importance for the health and vitality of the Church. By staying grounded in the teachings of Scripture and relying on the Holy Spirit, we can pass down the truth of the Gospel faithfully from one generation to the next.

If you are interested in the full Pastoral Letter, download it here:

AFM Pastoral Letter 1st Quarter 2024

Fan Into Flame The Gift Of God Which Is In You

In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul writes: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (NKJV)” and “…the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed – keep that ablaze. God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible (MSG)”.  Paul explains the reason for the gifts: “…the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” to serve the church (1Cor 12: 5-7).

The pressure of life can take its toll on the manifestation of the gifts. Why Timothy needed this reminder of his ordination, and the confidence in his own gifts he developed because of it, is not clear. It appears that Timothy was getting fearful, weary, and unsure of his call – his spirit was sinking, so Paul came to write a strong word to revive him. Paul urges him to be bold. When we allow people to intimidate us, we neutralise our effectiveness for God. The power of the Holy Spirit can help us overcome our fear of what some may say or do to us so that we can continue God’s work.

Paul was encouraging Timothy to persevere as the Holy Spirit would go with him and give him power.  Paul reminded him of his faith and how it came to him. Paul in essence told Timothy: I remember your sincere faith Timothy, the faith that first lived in Lois, your grandmother who handed it down to Eunice, your mother who lived in the faith and who handed it down to you, Timothy. Caleb persevered for 45 years, despite the disappointment of not possessing the promised land because of the fear of his 10 brothers and entered the promised land (Joshua 14:10).

Paul articulates an important principle in this text, that the responsibility to fan into flame and keep the gift ablaze lies with the receiver of the gift. We have the sacred duty to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us and to fully utilise the gift as intended by the Giver. Nobody can stir up your gift – that fire within you – like you can. Fanning the flame requires action. We are not passively waiting on some external force to fan our flame – but active prayer, worship and praising the Lord will keep the fire ablaze. When God gives you a vision, be prepared to be tested and tried, it will not all be plain sailing as Paul declares: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood”.

It is however true that the gifts can be neglected, as Paul warns in 1 Timothy 4. We can become so used to the gift that it becomes just another facet of our lives, treating it without due reverence. Fan into flame describes the act of rekindling the embers of a dying fire. The command is an appeal for a continual, vigorous use of his spiritual gifts to realise its full potential. The gifts must continuously be replenished with continued grace and power from the Holy Spirit – so as not to become powerless, useless and fail in its purpose. Rekindling his gifts would involve fervent prayer, obedience to God’s Word, and a demonstration of an active faith by Timothy as Paul prayed for and experienced in Philippians 1:19 and Ephesians 3:16-21.

I pray that every one of us will fan into flame the gift of God to function in the spiritual realm in 2024 and be equipped and empowered. Let us minister with great zeal, in and out of season in 2024, to revitalize ourselves (pastors and members) to be on fire for the Lord – with oil in our lamps and burning until Jesus comes.

If you are interested in the full Pastoral Letter, download it here:

AFM Pastoral Letter 1st Quarter 2024

Stirring Up The Gift Of Unity: A Call To Action

In the bustling tapestry of life, unity stands as a beacon of divine grace, a gift bestowed upon humanity by the hands of God. Yet, this precious gift is not passive – it requires our active participation to fan it into flame, to stir it up from the embers of our hearts. Inspired by the words of 2 Timothy 1:6, we delve into the essence of this divine mandate – to nurture and safeguard the unity that binds us together as followers of Jesus Christ.

In Romans 12:16 (NIV) Paul says: “Live in harmony with one another….” And in Philippians 2:2 (NIV) “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Unity is not a coincidence but a deliberate and continuous endeavour. It necessitates our concerted efforts to foster harmony, like-mindedness, and love among us. This shared responsibility demands our vigilance, fuelled by the power of the Holy Spirit, and executed through acts of love and self-discipline.

“Unity is not a coincidence but a deliberate and continuous endeavour. It necessitates our concerted efforts to foster harmony, like-mindedness, and love among us.”

The attainment and deepening of unity are not merely a superficial endeavour but an ongoing transformation of the heart. In Philippians 2: 2-4 (NIV) Paul says: “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest but each of you to the interest of the others.” He describes the means through which unity is nurtured – through humility, gentleness, and patience. Humility, not as a sign of weakness but as a recognition of our true position before God, serves as the cornerstone of unity. Gentleness and patience further enrich this tapestry, fostering an environment of kindness and endurance amid diversity and differences.

”Gentleness and patience further enrich this tapestry, fostering an environment of kindness and endurance amid diversity and differences.”

In our journey towards unity, we are called to transcend selfish ambitions and vain conceits, embracing a spirit of servanthood and selflessness. Ephesians 4:2 emphasizes the virtues of humility and gentleness, qualities that exemplify our identity as children of God. It is through the cultivation of these virtues that we uphold the unity of the Spirit, bridging the divides that threaten to fragment the body of Christ.

In conclusion, the mandate to stir up the gift of unity resonates with urgency and purpose in our tumultuous world. It calls us to transcend barriers of division and embrace the richness of diversity within the body of Christ. As we continue this journey, let us commit ourselves to humility, gentleness, and patience, virtues that breathe life into our unity. Let us be catalysts of change, fanning the flames of unity with fervent zeal and unwavering devotion. For in our unity lies the transformative power to bear witness to the love of Christ and draw the world into the embrace of His grace.

If you are interested in the full Pastoral Letter, download it here:

AFM Pastoral Letter 1st Quarter 2024

An AFM of SA Greeting at the SASPS

// An AFM of SA Greeting at the SASPS

The General Secretary of the AFM of SA, Pastor Selby Khumalo gave a Pentecostal greeting at the Southern African Society for Pentecostal Studies (SASPS) 2024 Conference organised by the Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Pastor Selby Khumalo spoke on “Our common calling is finding common ground and protecting our common home (shared planet)” with Job 5:23 (NKJV) as key scripture: “For you shall have a covenant…And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.”

To download his presentation, kindly click on the link below:
 Pentecostalism and Sustainable Development in Africa_Past Selby Khumalo_2024

To watch the presentation on the recorded live stream:
https://www.youtube.com/live/z9HbSck_Wpk?si=hFB1xhalB6th85HS

#AFMOFSA #pentecostalchurch #pentecostalgreeting #SASPS #UNISA #missionalchurch #GreatComission #southafrica

New National MIL Coordinator

Dr Peter Mhlabane
National MIL Coordinator

Dr Peter Mhlabane is an ordained pastor of The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa since 2004. Before that, he served as an Assembly Leader for more than 10 years. He served as one of the facilitators of the AFM of SA – Northwest University project. He serves as the Regional Secretary and Regional PCD Coordinator of the Mpumalanga Highveld Region from 2017 to date. He has also served in various capacities in the Mpumalanga Highveld Regional Committee before 2017.  Dr Mhlabane was appointed as the National MIL Co-ordinator of the AFM of SA since January 2024.

Before the unification of the AFM of SA in 1996, he served as the Regional Treasurer of the Children’s Ministry Committee, and later as the Regional Youth Secretary, until 1996. After the unification of the church, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Regional Youth Ministry. Dr Mhlabane also served in various other church structures, such as the Regional Missionary Project to Malawi, Africa Missions under the leadership of Pastor Ron Kinnear (facilitating at the Bible college in Burundi and Rwanda).

He was an educator and served in the Education Department as a Deputy Principal and finally a high school Principal until God called him to full-time pastoral ministry. As a school Principal, he served on the Circuit Principal Executive Committee and the District Principal Committee in Sekhukhune Limpopo. Under very difficult socio-economic conditions, he managed to obtain a Higher Primary Teachers’ Diploma (specialising in Maths & Science). Further, he earned a Diploma in Mathematics & Physical Science from UJ, a bachelor’s in theology degree with Auckland Park Theological Seminary, a BA (Honours) in Practical Theology, a master’s degree and PhD degrees (all with the University of Pretoria). In his PhD, he explored the theme of the experience of single mothers in raising rebellious adolescent boys and the pastoral challenge it poses. He further did counselling with UNISA, family mediation with the Mediation Academy and civil mediation with the Law Society of South Africa.

Pastor Mhlabane is the presiding Pastor of the AFM Word Centre at Elukwatini in the Mpumalanga Highveld Region. He is passionate about developing and capacitating future leaders for the benefit of the Kingdom of God and society at large. He is married to Ennie Mhlabane, and they are blessed with two boys and two girls.

For a person to become an ordained pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (AFM of SA), an NQF 6 or 7 theological qualification is required. Thereafter candidates subscribe to an internship, referred to as the Ministry Integrated Learning (MIL) program, under the guidance and mentoring of an ordained AFM Pastor within a registered AFM assembly. Learn more about our MIL process from:

http://milafm.co.za/

Protecting Older Persons Against Abuse: An Involved Church & Community

Older persons are somebody’s parents, our parents, our grandparents, they are in our churches – they took care of us when we were growing up, now it is our turn to care for them in a dignified manner and to protect them. We should not only say it takes a village to raise a child, we should also say it takes a family, a church and a community to protect and care for older persons. Sadly, the abuse of older persons remains a major challenge in South Africa – it continues in families, communities and even in Facilities for older persons.

Download the full resource in PDF-format from the link below:

Protecting Older Persons against Abuse RESOURCE June 2021

Community Involvement: Understanding Child Abuse (Pastoral Letter, 3rd Quarter)

In our last article we provided information on Gender-Based Violence (https://afm-ags.org/broadening-our-understanding-of-gender-based-violence/) This month’s article we will broaden your understanding of Child Abuse. We believe that a greater understanding will strengthen your role in preventing and identifying child abuse; as well as provide guidance regarding the necessary actions to be taken, should an alleged child abuse incident be reported to you.

I thought it best to premise this article by looking at what the Bible says about different aspects that relate to children and I looked at this through the lens of World Vision.

Full Article- Understanding Child Abuse 

Connect with our Welfare Department for regular updates:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AFMWELFARE/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/afmwelfare/