2020 has been a challenging year. It has thrown up many challenges for individuals, families and businesses. Even churches have faced serious challenges. For us in South Africa in particular, lockdown prevented us from meeting in person for several months, and many of our members have faced financial strain during this time – which could, and probably should, have led to a precipitous drop in giving. Indeed, many churches in South Africa have seen both their attendance and income drop sharply this year.
A time for growth
For this reason, we praise God and give Him thanks for what He has done for us, and through us as Joshua Generation Church (JoshGen) during this time. We have experienced such incredible favour over the last year. Rather than shrink, we have seen tremendous growth – both in attendance at our services and in our influence around the world.
Since we reopened our services in June, albeit with abiding by all of the necessary COVID-19 restrictions, we have seen an average of 2870 adults attending church on Sundays every week, with a further average of 524 kids in attendance per week. Our average Sunday attendance, despite the COVID-19 restrictions of 50% capacity, etc., has, incredibly, increased by more than 20% over last year’s average attendance for the same period!
“We have experienced, as a church, such incredible favour over the last year.”
These are astounding numbers, despite many people being fearful of attending church in person and us being forced to limit the size of those meeting in person at our meetings. Even more exciting is that, in the face of such fears and difficulties, we have welcomed 3421 visitors during this time. This has led to 266 first-time salvations as well as 586 people who have returned to or recommitted to, the Lord. That is over 850 people whose eternal destiny has changed! If angels celebrate over one who repents then this is a massive reason to celebrate.
Before lockdown in March 2020, JoshGen consisted of 27 congregations. This has grown over the course of the year as we planted new congregations and saw other churches join. We now have 34 congregations, including two ‘outreach congregations’ in Grabouw and Hermanus and two ‘outreach communities’ in Randfontein and even Mauritius. Our Worcester congregation began as an outreach congregation, but in recent weeks, an existing local church in Worcester felt led by the Lord to join with us, and since then they have officially become a JoshGen congregation.
Increased influence online
Due to lockdown earlier this year, we were forced to provide online services. Whilst online church is not real church; this has become a tool that God has used in an incredibly powerful way. He really does work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Since March 2020, we have seen visitors from over 95 different countries accessing our website (some of these from places with no access to church), and we have seen in excess of 34, 500 views of the JoshGen Live Broadcast since it was launched at the end of June. Many of these views comprise of multiple individuals. A number of these viewers have expressed a desire to partner with us into the future. Furthermore, JoshGen saints attended the recent online Four12 Gathering that took place in October 2020. This Gathering, which took place for the first time online, saw over 5,000 people from across the world join together to receive apostolic input.
“Jesus is building His church and extending His Kingdom.”
Jesus is building His church and extending His Kingdom. It is an incredible privilege to be a part of what He is doing and to partner with so many wonderful believers who love the Lord and who are willing to lay down their lives for Him.
All of this would not have been possible without God’s provision, which come mainly from the sacrificial and faithful giving of the saints. Such growth as we have seen has required significant investment, and we have been able to do all that we have because the resources have been made available to us. We thank, not only the Lord but every JoshGenner who has continued to invest into the Kingdom. We may live in uncertain times, but the inheritance we store up for ourselves by putting His Kingdom first is certain.
So, “let us not grow weary of doing good“ (Galatians 6:9, NIV) but continue serving the Lord, reaching out to the lost and encouraging one another daily (Hebrews 3:13). At a time when much of the world is living in fear or with no sense of security, let us be a people whose hope is in the Lord, whose trust is in Him, who rejoice regardless of circumstances, and who show to the world where real hope truly lies.
Interested in finding out more about partnering with Four12 or who our other partners across the globe are? Discover more here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike serves on leadership at Joshua Generation Church. He loves to see people equipped to effectively serve the Kingdom of God. He is married to Chantal and they have two beautiful daughters. You can follow him on Facebook.