Last Wednesday we stepped out of our comfort zone and launched a brand new Hillsong Cape Town congregation in Mitchells Plain. This is an area in Cape Town that has experienced much hardship and suffers from many social challenges; unemployment, gangs, drug issues, etc. We've been praying about where we should start our next congregation since last year…and the reason we chose Mitchells Plain was simple…we were already SERVING the community there.
Just over 7 months ago we began heading into Mitchells Plain with a team of volunteers every Wednesday, our only focus was 'how can we be blessing to this community?' We started a kids program to help out single mum's and parents who were having challenges with their kids. Then a program to help young men overcome addictions/substance abuse, that led us to start 'Shine' a program teaching self-esteem, value and confidence to young girls, building relationship with them to begin talking about real life issues like teenage pregnancy, etc.
Plus, Hillsong Church Cape Town has adopted a feeding program (mobile nutrition centre) in another area of Mitchells Plain where our team makes sandwiches and then distributes them to those who are struggling to put food on the table for their families.
It's been amazing to see the way the community has embraced these programs – you get the feeling that they are overwhelmed and overjoyed that others have come to help, it has encouraged and reminded them that they are not alone…and so we decided this would be the perfect place to launch our next congregation. But we weren't sure what to expect…
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 6.30PM will be a day that we will remember for a long time…our venue, the Tafelsig Community Centre, was stretched beyond capacity! But it became 'church' and it felt like church…as you entered the hall you were greeted with the words 'WELCOME HOME' because that's what we are creating – a spiritual home. The problem was the 'room' wasn't big enough and we ended up with a big screen and speakers in the car park for the overflow…and when the preaching was going, the overflow crowd was louder than those in the building! The whole night was completely overwhelming and when the opportunity came to respond to the salvation message of Jesus, 83 people said YES! Praise God! We danced, we celebrated and we thanked God for the beauty of lives transformed and the creation of another 'room' for our church family where we can continue to grow…
We will continue to serve this community, but now were in it TOGETHER. The church family is an opportunity for all to serve and grow together, no longer just recipients of others generosity, these great people will now begin to love and serve others! And so the church advances a little further and Heaven smiles.
As one grandma who came said, “How do I get involved? I've been praying for 20 years for something like this to happen in my community!”
When we ALL get involved, God answers a whole lot of prayers!
Thanks to all the volunteers and team who served so faithfully to make this happen…see you again this Wednesday, 6:30pm at Tafelsig Community Centre. (Until God provides a bigger room…)
For more information on Hillsong Church Cape Town, please visit hillsong.co.za