Testimony of Conversion

I came to saving faith through the reading of the word of God.

I remember working with my uncle in a clothing factory after school. My uncle had recently been saved and was zealous in sharing the gospel and Christian literature.

One day he called me into his office to ask if I would read through this Christian book ( I can’t even remember the name of the book). I always considered myself religious and I therefore politely said I would read it.

A few days later, I browsed through the contents of the book and I was interested because there was a chapter on the doctrine of the Trinity. I was always confused by what the trinity meant in Christianity, and I went on to read the chapter to gain some understanding.

This piqued my interest in the Bible. A few days later, I reached out to a cousin of mine who had recently come to faith too. I asked him if he had a Bible for me and he immediately drove to my place to drop the Bible off.

I started reading the Bible and I started with the gospel of Matthew. It is not an understatement to say that I was shocked by the words that I read. Like most people, I was told a lot about Jesus being exclusively meek and mild and yet this was not the whole picture. I came across Matthew 10:37 and I read “whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. I was gobsmacked. I was shocked.  Elsewhere, this Jesus was calling people and he was in fact calling me to die to myself.

I sought to take up this call. I was going to die to myself. I was going to take up my cross and live for Jesus. I quickly came to the realization that I cannot do what he calls me to do. My attempts at pleasing God fell short time and time again. By his mercy, I realized that this is why the gospel is good news. The gospel was for sinful people like me. through Gods word and Gods gospel, I was saved.

All of a sudden my hearts affections and desires changed. I was given a new heart. By Gods grace, I no longer wanted to live a life of debauchery along with my friends but I wanted to serve God and enjoy him forever. In obedience to Christ, I was baptized in September 2012. My life has never been the same since.

Call to Ministry

At the outset, let me briefly state that what I consider to be a call to ministry is not merely to have some impression upon one’s soul apart from God’s word. I do not believe in having a voice shout from the heavens “you will be a minister of the gospel”. RL Dabney helpfully uses the term “scriptural call” which is to say that a man’s call to ministry is communicated from the Holy Spirit both to the man and to the Christian church which affirms this calling.

When I was introduced to reformed theology through biblical exposition, I became desperate to be a member of a reformed church. Moreover, I started to feel incredibly burdened for all of my friends who were being fed rotten food or even poison in the name of Christ under the guise of being contextual and missional. It became apparent that much of south African Christianity was no Christianity at all. It became apparent that being a part of an evangelical protestant church was not a mere preference, but it was a demand of scripture (Gal 1:8).

At the time, I was not a part of a church (I was looking for a reformed church at the time) and I decided that I must do something. I needed to enroll in a Christian college/seminary. Perhaps this was youthful hubris but nonetheless, in my own mind, I believed I was going to be able to help the church. I was going to be a pastor. I was going to sort the church out at 20 years old (Did I mention something about youthful hubris?). Yet God is pleased to draw straight lines with crooked sticks. I soon attended a reformed Baptist church in Goodwood and although I didn’t get to stay for too long, my time there was meaningful.

At this church, I quickly came to realize that I’m not all that special. In fact, in many ways, I came to realize, I’m pretty ordinary. I probably was going to sort the church out. This was good. This was humbling. However, my burden for the church, confused Christians, and the lost never left me. I still believed and still do believe that God has called me to be a shepherd of the flock of God.

I left the Reformed Baptist church (through a strange providence) I was a part of when I got married. I then attended a Baptist church recommended to me in the Strand. This was pivotal.

I started attending the church in March 2016. At the end of 2018, I was asked by the elders if I would consider becoming a pastoral intern at Strand Baptist Church. I accepted. The church said yes too.

This was a great learning experience for me. I soon learned that being a pastor is more than simply preaching. It entails a lot of shepherding. As my pastor often says, “a sheep needs to smell like the sheep”. In this time, I have not only grown in my preaching and teaching, but I believe I have grown considerably in learning to love the sheep and learning to carry their burdens along with them.

During my internship, we went through the Covid-19 pandemic which demonstrated in a very real way the need for Godly shepherds. Many were without pastoral care, and this only further strengthened my love for God’s people and zeal for his church. At the end of 2021, the church decided to call me as an associate pastor at Strand Baptist church.

Although my time at the church is coming to an end, I know and truly believe that God has fitted me for pastoral ministry with all of my weaknesses and strengths. I believe that this is the best way that I can glorify God in this world.

I do believe that God gifts pastors with tokens of grace and signs of effectiveness in the lives of believers. This was something I read in Spurgeon’s “lectures to my students.” These tokens serve as a great encouragement for the pastor.

One of the most glorious things in my ministry is seeing how God works in the lives of other people, and most astonishingly how he uses people like me in that process.  I stand amazed, by God’s grace, that he is using me in pastoral ministry.