Manual The History of Apostolic Faith Mission and other Pentecostal Missions in South Africa

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We received the Holy Spirit and His power to be missional. Towards the year , we endeavor to inspire and mobilise our whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. Our uniqueness also lies in our diversity and accommodative ability. I hope that by exploring this website you will come to know more about the AFM and its activities. There are many noble values that are applicable in the lives of decent people and very much so in the lives of Christians. However, in the context of the AFM, the following values gained pre-eminence:.

We understand integrity as being genuine, honest and sincere. This quality — as with our other values, should be spontaneously associated with AFM members, pastors and churches.

Elias Letwaba, the Apostolic Faith Mission, and the spread of Black Pentecostalism in South Africa

Coming from a racially divided past, and whilst celebrating our God-given diversity, we appreciate our unity as a God-given treasure. We encourage genuine and edifying relationships between believers, pastors and assemblies. We also encourage spiritual father-son and mentor-mentee relations.

In a society where individualism is prominent, we believe that accountability is non-negotiable in the church. History teaches us that those who avoid accountability follow a path of eventual self-destruction. The comparison becomes even more invidious in the case of Mosaiek , since its adoption of the Willow Creek seeker-sensitive ministry philosophy relegates baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit to non-crucial issues, which is certainly not the case in the small churches.

The ambivalence surrounding the role and authority of the National Office Bearers has never been resolved. With what authority do they speak: may they be viewed as impartial spokesmen of the Holy Spirit, or do they need to continually probe the sentiments of the church with a view to acceptance? The fact that by unspoken agreement the National Office Bearers should reflect the major ethnic groups that constitute the membership of the AFM further bedevils the issue.

Are the office-bearers the most capable or competent leaders, or the merely most appropriate in terms of racial sensitivity? If there is any connotation of social expediency in the election of such figures, any attempts by themselves to assert divinely-endowed authority over the church are already compromised. The fact that the larger part of the National Leadership Forum consists of elected regional leaders further exacerbates the problems of ultimate authority in the church.

In August the National Office Bearers attempted to implement this consistently in the AFM, circulating a proposal among NLF members that it effectively disband itself in favour of a smaller number of regional leaders, and that the National Office Bearers effectively become the mentors of the fewer regional leaders then elected. The NLF members, who by virtue of their regional constituency owe the office-bearers no particular allegiance, politely declined. Recent academic research in the AFM appears to indicate that urban mega-churches may not necessarily be the best vision-bearers of Pentecostalism.

The case of Mosaiek mentioned above is an example. They prefer the more intimate relations experienced in small groups to the leader-oriented adulation of the mega-church environment. The New Apostolic Paradigm is clearly a child of the latter milieu, and the seeds of ifs obsolescence are probably already being sown in its own youth groups. The spectacular moral failure of many mega-church and TV-ministry celebrities has also led to the popularity of smaller Christian groups, as evidenced in South Africa by the large number of assemblies of membership spawned by the marriage failure of a major Faith Movement leader in Johannesburg.

The successful church-planting strategy of groups such as New Covenant Ministries, which aims at a proliferation of smaller churches as opposed to centralisation in mega-churches, should also be noted. No change in church culture, least of all in its leadership and church-governance paradigm, takes place without ethical effect. In the case of the AFM it may not be co-incidental that the change that took place in has been succeeded by the growing problems of pride, arrogance, abuse of authority, opportunism and manipulative-ness among the pastorate of the movement.

This sometimes becomes explicit in the cases of conflict, discipline and arbitration that have occurred in the church or been inflicted upon it. However, it may also be more implicit, since it would appear that it is precisely the brash and opportunistic assertiveness, which has always been part of aggressive Pentecostal expressions of ministry, which is now being affirmed as an important leadership characteristic under the new paradigm. I still wonder whether we truly recognise and value the appropriate traits in our leaders. We want honest leaders who are decisive, creative, optimistic and even courageous, but we so easily settle for talk that marks those traits instead of action.

A humble leader listens to others. He or she values input from employees and is ready to hear the truth, even if it is bad news. Humility is marked by an ability to admit mistakes. Watkins Ironically the man Watkins is deploring, and who remained adamant to the end that he had done nothing wrong, and that God would vindicate him, also claimed to be a born-again, Bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ. How can any such Christian, least of all contemporary Pentecostal leaders, have become so blind to the essentiality of humility as the core value for any follower of Jesus Christ?

There are spiritual systems in which what people think, how they feel and what they need or want does not matter. In these systems, the members are there to meet the needs of the leaders: needs for power, importance, intimacy, value — really self -related needs. Johnson and VanVonderen I do not believe that the leadership of the AFM has yet become abusive in this sense. However, I do believe that a paradigm and ethos that emphasises leadership, especially apostolic leadership, will always tend eventually to dwell and hinge upon the prerogatives, dignity, power and authority of leaders rather than upon the needs of the so-called led.

Church history has shown this to be the case over and again e g the Zwickau prophets of the 16 th century and Irvingism in the 19 th and 20 th centuries. What suggestions can be offered to help the AFM orient itself in the light of the weaknesses of the present paradigm? I would humbly? The current leadership of the denomination needs to call a national convention on church government, ethos and paradigm.

This could begin with informal discussions e g among academics and leaders and between academics and leaders, and eventuate in a forum in which the debate can be widened and publicised in a meaningful and participative manner. The wider denomination needs to publicly and meaningfully recommit itself to establishing a Biblically exegetical and deductive approach to Christian leadership and service , as opposed to the populist and glitzy presentations that have tended to mar the church scene and which usually reinforce the power and authority aspects of spiritual leadership as opposed to humility and service.

The small and medium church workers, who are mainly underpaid and humble, need to be reaffirmed as valuable in their own right , since it is they who are presently bearing the major part of the ministry of the Kingdom of God. These people often need as much help and equipping as they can acquire, and have already demonstrated that they have that most essential element of Christian leadership: a humble and a servile heart.

In the face of the insults heaped upon them by a constitution that has elevated publicly-visible and assertive leaders who usually demand their dignity be respected, these small church leaders have remained loyal and faithful to their denomination, prepared to loose all dignity, affluence and influence as they humbly continue to serve the Lord who called them and those whom they draw into the benefits of His Kingdom.

Here are the true heroes of the faith.

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This paper is being presented at a conference in Asia in which non-Western Pentecostals are deliberating about the first century of Pentecostalism and the new century that lies ahead. I am well aware that the leadership values which are natural to myself as a White westerner are those of the liberal Anglo-Saxon school, where leaders are normally subjected to the ongoing scrutiny of their followers and rapidly replaced when they fail to provide the service expected.

Authoritarian leaders such as Margaret Thatcher are permitted as long as they deliver — when they appear to become too arrogant and demanding, they are usually soon removed.


I am also well aware that in many parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America this culture of leader-critique is not so evident. It is often considered disloyal, indeed even treasonous, to criticise the conduct and prerogatives of leaders. What liberal westerners make of leadership, and what non-westerners from cultures that express a greater respect for leaders make of it, needs to be sidelined in any meaningful theological debate on leadership in the Pentecostal movement. Pentecostal scholarship and current leadership need, in partnership, to search the Scriptures to discover what the God of the Scriptures, and the Spirit which breathed into existence both the Scriptures and the Pentecostal movement, have to say on this matter.

What is clear is that, if we wish to maintain our witness to Jesus Christ in the century that lies ahead, we need to brush up a public image of Pentecostal Christianity already tarnished by leadership failures. We need to affirm leadership values which are based on Scripture. AFM Anderson, A H Bazalwane: African pentecostals in South Africa. Pretoria: Unisa. Burger, I vd M Geloofsgeskiedenis van die Apostoliese Geloof Sending van Suid.

Johannesburg: Evangelie Uitgewers. Burpeau, K P Oslo: Refleks. Chikane, F No life of my own. Braamfontein: Skotaville Publishers. During the week, there are sometimes prayer or small group meetings and other types of gatherings. In , the Apostolic Faith Mission adopted a new constitution which at the national level blends elements of its preexisting presbyterian polity with the "New Apostolic Paradigm", which moved it towards an episcopal polity.

At the local level, decentralization is the major effect of this new constitution, which allows local churches to develop their own policies. Qualifications for membership are that one be born again , baptized, recognized as a member of a local assembly church and adhere to the Confession of Faith.

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In addition to being a member of the governing body, the pastor is the assembly's leader and "vision carrier". Local assemblies are organized into geographical regions. Regional leadership forums are representative bodies consisting of pastors and delegates from each local assembly. The committee acts as an executive and advisory body to the regional leadership forum.

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Each region is represented by its leader on the National Leadership Forum. Non-geographical regions, in the form of networks of local churches that share a peculiar ministry philosophy, also exist. The four national officers always represent the significant ethnic groups within the church. Each local assembly is entitled to send a pastor and a delegate as voting members. Additional voting members are members of the National Leadership Forum, members of standing committees, one additional member representing each church department and one additional representative of the church's theological training institutions.

Before , the General Business Meeting was known as the Workers Council, met annually, and possessed greater power. After the adoption of the new constitution, most of the body's power was transferred to the National Leadership Forum. The National Leadership Forum, formerly known as the Executive Council, is the AFM's policy making body and the "guardian of doctrinal, ethical and liturgical matters in the church".

While it has power to create and implement regulations, over 50 percent of the regional leadership forums can veto a regulation within 90 days of its passage by the National Leadership Forum. The National Leadership Forum's members are the national officers, the regional leaders, leaders of church departments and a representative of the AFM's theological training institutions.

The History of Apostolic Faith Mission and Other Pentecostal Missions in South Africa

It may appoint additional members at its discretion. The administrative affairs of the national church are under the oversight of the national officers. Theological training in the AFM was done at four campuses. Pastor M. Vilakazi was the rector of the Theological Institute of Soshanguve north of Pretoria.

Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa

Pastor J. These training institutions are in the process of being united, as decided by the General Business meeting of the AFM in The ATS registration status was withdrawn by the DHE and students who entered since was considered by the AFM as "pipeline" students which means that they are given a grace period to complete their theological qualifications. The AFM's new approach to the training of their pastors is to enroll them at North-West University due to its partnership with them. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

See also: Contemporary worship. Lake and Hezmalhalch in South Africa. Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa. Archived from the original on 6 January Retrieved 27 December Accessed 2 September Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae.