In July 2011 ATS conducted a qualitative research study in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape. The aim of this study was to understand the economical activities and context of people who are not employed within the formal employment sector.
One lady acted as an interpreter for us. We did not give any training, advice or input. Our only aim was to discover what was going on at grassroots level.
Yet, when we later went back to report our findings to the community, to our surprise we found that our interpreter, who had helped us the previous time, was there to meet us with the exiting news that she had started her own business.
We did not expect this and when we asked how this had happened she remarked that during our interviews with the community she felt challenged to find a way to secure an income for her and her child.
Here is her story. She had a tremendous feeling of pride in what she had managed to achieve and explicitly explained the role of the Holy Spirit in her new venture.
Hier is vir u ‘n beskrywing van die herlewing wat onder kinders in die vroeë dae van Pinkster in Suid Afrika plaasgevind het (Al bruis die Jordaan, 1969. J.C. de Ferrieres – Tant Sannie):
“In 1940 het die Uitvoerende Raad van my kerk die eerste nasionale Paaskonferensie op ‘n plaas in Emmarentia (nou ‘n voorstad van Johannesburg) gehou. Ek is gevra om verantwoordelikheid te neem vir die dienste wat twee keer per dag vir die kinders gehou sou word. Hierdie dienste is gehou terwyl die ouers die konferensie dienste in ‘n aparte tent wat sitplek vir 4,000 volwassenes gebied het, bygewoon het.
One Saturday afternoon, I drove with my dad to uncle Lukas’ plot to drop-off the grass cuttings from our lawn. I was always excited to scramble onto the back of our trailer, dig the shovel into the cuttings and throw it as far as my pencil-thin arms could manage.
At some point during our excursion one of the farm gates swung open and pinned down my left foot. My dad rushed to help and lifted the gate to free my foot. I was 10 years old.
In the coming days my foot became so swollen that I could not even pull on a sock. I was in agony and the swelling would not subside.
The Small Group Leader Certificate is a vocational certificate that was especially created to equip leaders of small groups or cell groups.
The programme has been designed to sharpen you Biblical knowledge of both the Old and the New Testament. ATS has a specific view of how to understand and work with the Bible (hermeneutic principle) and this is especially helpful with regard to the Old Testament (in the past Pentecostal and Charismatic people often shied away from the Old Testament). The programme also gives guidance on specific skills such as preaching and pastoral care, and it provides responsible answers to critical faith issues and Christian ethics.
As a native pastor in Sesheke, a small border town in Western Zambia, David was troubled by the desperate situation of his community.
Sesheke is one of the biggest timber revenue collection areas in Zambia and at the same time remains one of the poorest districts in the country. When he became the chairperson of the pastors fellowship in Sesheke in 2007 they implemented a development program with the aim of transforming the community. After a few years and having to face many challenges David was compelled to ask himself the question “how effective is the Church at its transformational task”? And secondly, “how can the church become more effective”?
In his honest search for answers he was faced with the resounding conclusion from the community that “the church had failed in its transformational task”.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the greatest event in Christian history. Greater than the Crucifixion, of greater import than the Resurrection, greater than the Ascension, greater than the glorification. It was the end and finality of Crucifixion and Resurrection, Ascension and glorification.
If Jesus Christ had been crucified, and there had been no resurrection, His death would have been without avail, in so far as the salvation of mankind is concerned. Or if He had risen from the grave in resurrection, and failed to reach the throne of God, and receive from the Father the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the purpose for which He died, and for which He arose, would have been missed.
A great majority of the participants (68.5 + 15.8%) know with certainty that they are called and that the calling is from God as was revealed to them through the working of the Holy Spirit (43.4%). For many, this conviction of their calling has been known for a significant period of time – it is not a fleeting experience or a spur of the moment feeling.
Many participants (57%) have suppressed their calling in the past or are continuing to suppress it (11.4%) and therefor not living out their calling.
Christianity is in the midst of a perfect storm! The authority of the Bible and Jesus Christ’s position as God’s Holy Son are assaulted at every turn and by every voice. Quick and easy answers from pulpits are just not good enough anymore. People are connected and exposed to a meticulously designed onslaught on core Biblical truths. If we do not rise to the challenge, our children will be left at the mercy of the Darkness.
We were called for a time like this! (Esther 4: 14) He is able to keep our calling safe till His glorious day (2 Timothy 1: 12) but we have to do everything possible to be as excellent as possible at our task. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed…” (2 Timothy 2: 15)
The challenges of our day demand of us to be craftsmen: people meticulously prepared and equipped for the task at hand.
Be ready and fully equipped for the day: the “great professor of all there is to know” tells our children that “there is no God in heaven and there is no hell below” (quote from Almost like the Blues, Leonard Cohen).
ATS is called to equip the leaders of tomorrow to extend God’s kingdom. We are compelled by the times we live in to make an urgent call for workers, to be equipped and sent into His harvest field (Luke 10: 2).
Over the past seven years the profile of our students have changed to such an extent that 82,8% of our current students are distance learners. During the early years of ATS 100% of our students were full-time: we knew their names, faces and their voices. We could recognise when the Holy Spirit was working with a student and many times a class was stopped so that the group could pray for a pressing need or spontaneously start to worship the Lord. (If you were part of ATS and have a testimony in this regard please share it in the comments below)
The fact that the majority of our students are not in front of us on a daily basis is frustrating to us, as we know what they are missing. Yet, we understand the reality we are faced with and we have made it our personal goal to overcome this challenge.
In 2 Timothy 1:12 Paul writes about the sustainability of his calling in the light of the many hardship and tribulations he is experiencing “and it is for this reason that I suffer these things. But I am still full of confidence, because I know whom I have trusted, and I am sure that he is able to keep safe until that Day what he has entrusted to me.” (GNT)
He gives our lives meaning by making us partakers in His triumphal procession. And then, when all kinds of trails and tribulations threaten to end this very calling and even our lives, He keeps that what He has entrusted to us (our calling) safe until the end.
We want to encourage you not to give up on your calling. Through His grace, you are part of a new nation that transcends all geographic borders, all cultural differences, all language and racial differences. It is a nation of people, who are washed by the blood of the Lamb, whose names are written in the book of life, and whose ruler is Christ Jesus.
Auckland Park Theological Seminary ("ATS", for short) is the oldest Pentecostal and charismatic theological seminary in Africa. The seminary is an academic institution and has been engaged in theological training and education for the past 60 years.