A Bright Future

December 4, 2019

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

-Micah 6:8

Pastor Zolani leans back in his chair in The King’s University (TKU) Bible School classroom at Hope Africa Collective. Much discussion, learning, and growing happen within this classroom. Men and women alike gather, eager and hungry for the day’s new lesson. 

Each student takes seriously the role of shepherding their respective churches.

Pastor Zolani is no exception. His spirit is humble and yet he is sure of himself. His presence is comforting yet respectable. Unlike some who find themselves consistently on a stage, Zolani doesn’t mind being the silent one in the group. He listens, he’s still, and he genuinely cares for the person in front of him.

As he begins telling his story, his low, guttural voice echoes in the classroom. 

“Before I was a Christian, I had no job, no home, no family. I was a hard drinker.”

He was saved in 1991 and was involved in his church, however, he didn’t receive his pastoral calling until 2009. What is unique about Zolani’s calling is that it doesn’t give attention to Zolani the pastor, but rather to God, the Great Shepherd. 

Zolani’s calling was simply the personal revelation that God desires to give His people in South Africa a second chance, and He wants to use Zolani to be a shepherd to those people.

After his lead pastor passed away, Zolani felt God leading him to start his own church. Even though Zolani and his family struggled with making this decision, the words, “Carry on” kept coming to mind from the Lord.

Shortly after Zolani began pastoring his small flock of South Africans, he realized that there was something “missing.” After much prayer, Zolani was approached by some fellow pastors who had attended The King’s University classes at Hope Africa Collective. They encouraged Zolani to enroll. 

“My church was starting to get bored with the content of my messages. And they {the fellow pastors} kept saying how their churches had been changed a lot and this got my interest… It was in the TKU classes that I discovered what was missing at my church.”

These “missing pieces” were found in the Bible Interpretation and Old Testament classes, in which Zolani had lacked prior knowledge. Zolani laughs as he exclaims how his congregation is now taking notes during his sermons and are noticeably more engaged since his messages have obtained a richer Scriptural understanding. As a result of what he has learned in class, Zolani has also been able to start a Bible study outside of the normal Sunday gatherings where his flock can deepen their faith.

Zolani can’t say enough about how much the TKU classes have helped him.

“My church is healthier since I’ve been coming here {to Hope Africa Collective}. I am busy telling my friends and other pastors to go to the TKU classes here at Hope Africa. My wife even wants to enroll next year. We {Zolani’s church} now have a bright future.”

Being passionate about change in his community, Zolani shares some of his dreams for this “bright future.”

He has been burdened by the reality of the younger generations here in South Africa. He understands how the adults in the surrounding townships are much more reluctant to hear the Gospel. However, Zolani shares, “If we can groom the kids, the younger generations, then we can provide a better future and maybe we can even reach the parents and other adults through grooming the kids.” 

Zolani hopes to launch a preschool in connection with the church to care for children during the day when their parents are working or absent. In this preschool, children would be individually prayed over and have Scripture read over them.

The Bible School classes have impacted Zolani so much that he wishes the classes offered at Hope Africa could be extended from the current 1-year program to a full 4-year program. “We need that knowledge,” Zolani nods his head.

Zolani is a living, breathing example of a faithful shepherd of those whom the Great Shepherd has entrusted to him. He lives out the Scripture cited above: he works out justice, he loves kindness, and he walks humbly with his God─a life we all should aim for. As he leans back in his chair, arms crossed, gazing out the window toward the bustling courtyard outside, he smiles with contentment.

Zolani is confident in the calling he’s been given by the Lord. In every season, in every experience, God still whispers,

“Carry on.”


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A Bright Future