25 May 2023
For Immediate Release
THE AFM OF SA’s 115th Birthday
What started as spiritual gatherings in a small hall in Doornfontein, Johannesburg on 25 May 1908, led to the establishment of a missional movement, the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (The AFM, Die AGS).
Today, 115 years later the AFM has 1,733 registered assemblies and 2,532 ordained Pastors in South Africa. Growing from the southern tip of Africa, the church is also present in 29 countries across the world.
Although the AFM started out as a united, multicultural and non-racial church, the decades between 1948 and the 1980s were marked by a racially defined church, as the AFM succumbed to the political system and the prevailing culture of the time.
After a long and difficult journey, the AFM held a unity ceremony on Good Friday on the 5th of April 1996 at Centurion Park Stadium. The then newly elected President of the reunited church, Isak Burger, on behalf of the previous “white” church, asked for forgiveness from the former “coloured, Indian and African” churches. The newly elected Deputy President of the AFM, Frank Chikane, accepted Isak Burger’s plea on behalf of the former “black” churches. Since 1996 the AFM of SA functions as a fully integrated organization and continues to strengthen and deepen our treasured unity.
The AFM is a “Pentecostal” church, which means that it is a church who believes that the Spirit of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, is given to believers to live dynamic and overcoming lives. As Pentecostals, we believe that faith must not be something abstract, academic or ritualistic, but authentically experiential in the life of every follower of Jesus.
Although many local assemblies have their own vision statements and focus areas, they all relate to the united AFM’s national vision: “We see a church accessible to all people, celebrating our unity and God-given diversity, empowering our members for caring and changing communities to the glory of God.”
To fulfil this vision the AFM of SA adopted a Missional strategy, also known as the One AFM Game Plan in 2013. This strategy focuses on Discipleship, Empowerment, Community Involvement, Ecumenical Involvement and Good Governance as drivers towards becoming a Missional movement.
At this, our 115th birthday, we honour and thank God, our Heavenly Father for His guidance and provision and we pray that we will continue to grow in fulfilling our mission, to be one and to make disciples of Jesus from all nations. It is part of the AFM’s DNA to share our faith in Jesus with friends, colleagues and family. During our 115th birthday, we are encouraging our members to do that anew.
As we celebrate our birthday, we cannot help but be concerned about the state of our beloved country South Africa. It seems that our government is so consumed with internal issues that it is not currently governing the country effectively. The result is a continuing deterioration on many levels. We are continuing to pray for our government, whilst we urge our leaders to respond decisively and with integrity for the good of all South Africans, to the issues facing our country.
A jornada continua!
(The journey continues)
Dr H.J. Weideman
President of the AFM of SA