This is a great blog by one of our team in Cape Town explaining one of the great initiatives that we are supporting through Hillsong Foundation, specifically through our Heart for the House offering this month. I know that you will be inspired!
I started to write an overview of what the Heart of Africa Foundation (HAF) is busy doing in Mitchells Plain, an overview of our approach and thought process behind the programs we run in this community…. After a page of writing I realised I’m actually writing a blog…. So here we go, be inspired, and do something about it!
Hillsong Church’s outreach in Mitchells Plain through the Hillsong Africa Foundation is officially called the “Our Community Project”. Why? Simply because it is not us and them, it is us- together. The program has grown from a simple nutrition program to a holistic community development approach, changing a multitude of lives every week!
What…?! Holistic community development approach…? Well, this approach combines the power of personal change through an encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ with tangible, community based interventions, and in doing so addressing both the physical and spiritual needs of individuals. We are designing this approach in a way that it is easily replicated in other neighbourhoods, cities and countries, but that is material for another blog….
I believe true positive change starts with the realisation that we are purposefully made in God’s image to love Him and others. Now, someone who has realised the need for personal change, through an encounter with Jesus needs support along the way to be able to follow through, especially when living in an environment dominated by drugs, violence and unemployment. This is a process of genuine relationship and encouragement but also of tangible and active change.
The Hillsong Africa Foundation provides both sides of the spectrum, currently focused in the Mitchells Plain community. As a result the Foundation runs programs and initiatives like; children’s programs in primary schools, support to schools and their teachers for literacy training, woman devotional groups, Shine Courses for the community as well as for school teachers, a men’s strength program, children nutrition programs, a sports academy and much more!
All of these programs are interlinked with the local Hillsong Church, in fact- the recently launched Hillsong Mitchells Plain Campus is a result of the relationships built during this outreach. On Sundays the community gathers in church, on Saturdays you will find us on the local soccer field, on Fridays the youth attend Hillsong Youth, and during the week HAF is present in a growing amount of primary school and community halls, while at the same time Hillsong Youth is changing lives in the High schools in Mitchells Plain.
The approach is heavily focused on building relationship and trust with individuals. Remember we are not engaging with a community, we are building relationships with people. People with stories, lives and histories. People who love, hate, laugh and cry. People who, like anyone else seek to belong, seek to be loved, to be understood and listened to. No program or project will be able to do that. It ultimately comes down to what Jesus rightfully calls the two most important commandments…
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
We all know the phrase; “we are not building a church, we are building people” this exact statement applies to community development. If we continue to love and care about the one, communities will be transformed forever!
Steffan van der Male
COO, Hillsong Africa Foundation
For more information on Hillsong Africa Foundation and our initiatives, please visit HillsongAfrica.com, follow us on Twitter @HillsongAfricaF, on facebook Facebook.com/HillsongAfrica or on Instagram @HillsongAfricaF