Watch a selection of TPI’s most memorable stories and give us your feedback!
Pastor Mosa Sono
Pastor Mosa Sono
In the heart of one of South Africa’s biggest townships is a church that is on fire for God. Grace Bible Church is a rapidly-growing house of worship with over 15,000 members and 11 satellite churches. Today its senior pastor, Mosa Sono, shares with us his passion for training young people to be the future leaders of Africa.
SIMISOLA: Pastor Sono, thank you so much for coming on the program.
PASTOR SONO: Thank you.
SIMISOLA: Well, in the past, Africa has been known as The Dark Continent, where other people from other countries would come in to share the Gospel; but now God is doing something new.
PASTOR SONO: Yes.
SIMISOLA: Especially among the youth. So can you tell us a little bit about that.
PASTOR SONO: I think the youth now are in an environment that is so different to their parents in that at least opportunities seem to be much more there, they’ve had opportunity, many of them at least, to go to school, to learn. They’ve grown up in an environment where it was different in terms of them being an oppressed people. They grew up as a people free in terms of their thinking and in them asserting themselves. And the great thing as well is that Africa has come a long way in terms of the church growth that we see, where it has become an example of what God can do. The church grows as the move of this Spirit of God and so on. And when we find young people who have a combination of them being great academic people and great spiritual people, that kind of balance produces a kind of young person who is so balanced in what they can do.
SIMISOLA: Now for other countries, they are struggling actually to get the youth involved in church and things of God. So what is it about specifically your church that draws so many young people?
PASTOR SONO: You know, certainly, like you mention, there is a definite move of God on the African continent. The prophecy of Joel when God said, “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” there is certainly a move of God. However, what we also do as a church is to structure how we do church to be “youth friendly” if I can say that in terms of the style of music that we use, the approach, the presentation of the Gospel. If you give young people the opportunity to be involved in church itself. You know, they are there as the ones leading the music, the ones who are doing the ushering, the counseling. They are, they are involved. Because the thing about young people, they don’t want to sit and be spectators. And we have programming that is very, very youth friendly where you learn to deal with issues that are contextual. I remember when I was young when I went to church there wasn’t much that was said from the church platform that addressed my issues as a young person. And so we address issues that have to do with young people from a biblical perspective, so that they also understand that God is concerned about them. And then the other thing is we’ve got many young people who are very good and exceptional leaders. We put them in leadership. They preach, they teach, they lead things and so on. When you do that and then the young people realize that it means this environment is welcoming to us. Our church, we are like 70% young people, very involved, and exceptional leaders. And I think it’s time – God is really using the youth on the African continent.
SIMISOLA: Now speaking of leadership, there are so many issues in Africa – for the young person who is like, “I want to make a change.” You know, specifically in South Africa with reconciliation and integrity in leadership. What can they do to really practicalize what they are learning in church and take it out to the community?
PASTOR SONO:I always say to the young people that the first place to start is to start practicing your leadership somewhere. In the church context I say, get involved in church. Get involved, you know, because your leadership skill grows when you lead. You have to lead something, you know. And we teach in our church that the call of God on our lives is in seven worlds, we call them. In these seven worlds, religion is number one, but you also have the world of politics, business, arts and culture, family and all those worlds. And we teach the young people that every one of you is called by God into one of those areas. And if you are called by God in that area, pursue leadership in that area. You know, go to school in line with what you believe you are called for. I mean, if you are in the arts, go to school in line with the arts and learn and have the skill. And then get involved in that dimension. And then we say, remember, when you are there, you are there as a man and woman on a mission. That even in you are in the arts, you are there to make sure God’s Kingdom gets established in that particular area. And you find when you say that the young people just take that on because then they understand, I am here for a reason, I’m a person who is here for a purpose, and the reason God has gifted me and made me who I am is for me to fulfill a particular function, and that way their life becomes a purpose-driven life, they don’t just hang around in life, they have a direction, they know where they are going, they are very focused, and over the long haul you see they turn out to be amazing leaders in the community.