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Brand Pretorius - Auckland Park Theological Seminary Breakfast Seminar 2013ATS held a breakfast seminar in aid of its scholarship fund for the training of leaders at the Randpark Golf Club, Randburg on the 14th of February 2013 where Brand Pretorius, retired CEO of McCarthy Limited, tackled the topic of inspirational leadership.

He believes that “the need for superior integrity and inspirational leadership has never been greater”.

Venete Klein - Auckland Park Theological Seminary Breakfast Seminar 2013The seminar was facilitated by Venete Klein and offered a unique opportunity for interaction, debating and questions on this topical subject.

The seminar was concluded with a summary of ATS’ dream for the future of South Africa’s people.

“For more than 10 years the people of ATS have disciplined themselves to look at the world with an eye towards changing it. We set out to understand our market, its potential and its needs. And we are more excited than ever before, because we have seen a glimmer of potential and we have a growing feeling that it might be something enormous.

You know that feeling an entrepreneur gets after engaging with a new idea and progressively done his homework while certainty and excitement grows. It is that feeling that helps them overcome obstacles and cynical remarks of their peers to establish something of recognisable value.

ATS believes that South Africa has a critical success factor that can make our beloved country peaceful and prosperous. This key success factor is the Christian Network. Believe it! Christianity is one of the largest common denominators within South Africa’s diverse population, and spans across social, economic, cultural and educational divide. 79% of South Africans have identified themselves as Christians during the 2001 census.

This network has shortfalls; we know it, because we made it our business to know them. But this network is totally underutilised with 80 – 90 % of these leaders having no formal training.

ATS focuses on equipping the leaders within this network with the skills to holistically engage the need of their community. We equip leaders to become ethically intelligent, social entrepreneurs and responsible leaders.

At the 2nd International Conference on Responsible Leadership held in November 2012, Business schools, Academics and Corporate businesses from all over the world came together. They are rethinking the fundamental shifts the world needs in order to make leadership sustainable. At these work sessions we have tested ATS’ focus and philosophy of how South Africa could benefit from equipping the Christian network to yield a new generation of responsible leaders.

Our audience from all over the world, some confessing that they themselves have never seen the inside of a church or know of anybody ever going to church, were astonished at the resources that lie under utilized and entwined in the diverse population of South Africa.

ATS has adjusted its curriculum, developed new products and repositioned its self to best service the ever-expanding Christian Network. In the past, ATS functioned within the paradigm of a specific church; we are now no longer exclusive to a denomination but work over church borders, as our market is interdenominational.

Our dream however is too big for us to achieve on our own – and that is good, because Maxwell said a dream you can achieve alone is not much of a dream.

The challenge for ATS is that many of our students do not have the financial means to pay for their further education and the state does not provide financial support for theological education. To help our students ATS is establishing a bursary fund for merit students. Our goal is to be able to register 2500 new students each year, we want to achieve a critical mass in as short as possible time, to put South Africa on a positive growth path towards peace and prosperity. Who knows maybe in ten years time our children will play safe outside and not know what barbed-wired fences are.

At ATS we are asking each other: Can it be that in the midst of South Africa’ stormy past God had years ago planted the seed for the answer to today’s challenges? And can it be that we are called for a time like this? Are we underestimating God?

My little niece of two years old have a favourite song that goes like this:

My God is so groot, so sterk en so magtig, daar is niks wat my God nie kan doen.

Ons sal altyd seker God se grootheid en almal onderskat. Maar daar is ‘n tweede fout wat ons ook maak, ons onderskat hoe naby en verbonde Hy aan ons is deur sy seun Jesus Christus.

Oral in die Bybel word verwys na Jesus wat sit aan die regterhand van Sy Vader, maar die dag toe die eerste martelaar, Stephanus sterf, sien hy Jesus wat staan lang Sy Vader. Daar val nie ‘n haar van jou hoof af of Hy weet dit nie. In ons grootste tye van uitdaging sal ons geestesoog dalk sien dat Hy staan.

Kom laat ons nie God se almag onderskat nie, maar laat ons ook nie onderskat hoe naby en hoe lief Hy ons het nie.”

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