The Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) Pentecost Conference held in June 2022, could be aptly described as the “Conference of Light” for the 6 000 BCC members who were at Brunstad, in Norway, as well as the members from BCC congregations around the world who watched via streaming.
In one of his messages during the three-day conference, Kåre J Smith, the leader of BCC said the gospel is a light that shines in a dark place, people read about it, however, the promises in God’s Word have to become reality, real experiences in their lives. Smith went on to encourage believers not to give up, as this takes time, but to press into God’s prophetic Word until the “Morning Star” (Jesus Christ) rises in their hearts and a living faith is born. Then the light they received from the gospel becomes a life that shines from them, just as Jesus is the Light of Life!
The program of the mission event held on the Saturday night of the conference, titled “Life is the Light of Men”, was a collaboration between two congregations, Horton in Norway and Vanderbijlpark in South Africa. The mission collection drive leading up to the conference was for the furtherance of missionary work in Africa and at the event Kåre Smith thanked BCC congregations from around the world for their extraordinary and generous support, saying: “It is truly Africa’s time!”
This event shed light on all the work already taking place in Africa. One of the most important aspects that became apparent through the short films and video interviews shown about this missionary work, was that the traditional concept of who or what a missionary is, was turned on its head. Tielman Slabbert, leader of BCC in South Africa, explained that for those involved in this work, the words of the apostle Paul in one of the letters he wrote to Timothy in the New Testament of the Bible, is the key to being a true missionary: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine and persevere in it. In doing so you will save yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16. Those who do this are true missionaries because they are putting the gospel into practice in everyday life for those around them to experience, and there is nothing more life changing than living proof that the gospel transforms people.
The event ended with the choir from Africa storming the stage singing the exhilarating song “Simunye” meaning “We are One” and soon everybody in the conference hall were on their feet singing as one. During the mission collection drive, this song “Simunye” went viral and was on the lips of BCC members around the world!
Because the mission collection was for Africa and due to the collaboration between Horten in Norway and Vanderbijlpark in South Africa, several BCC members from various African fellowships attended the Pentecost Conference, and a number of them went to Horten and visited some of the places of interest in Horten relating to the early days of the church, where J O Smith (founding father of BCC) lived; and to the cemetery where he was buried.
Below are some testimonies from members relating how meaningful the conference and mission event were for them:
Elmien Kriel (South Africa):
“There was an incredibly good spirit of unity at Brunstad. Every service was full of hope! The time we spent in Horten and the fellowship we had there was as though I had experienced Jesus. This is the fellowship and the Spirit we will experience in eternity and one that we can already experience now on earth.”
Timothy Anditi (Kisumu, Kenya):
“What struck me was the phrase “Come and see…” Throughout our visit to Horten, the fellowship we had with our brothers and sisters in Christ was so natural because they are all so natural. I realised that my life must radiate a life in the Spirit of Christ which people can experience from me and then I can also tell others to “Come and see my life” and how the gospel is working.”
Hannelie van As (South Africa):
“Life is the Light of Man” – “Come and see” was the theme throughout the Pentecost Conference. What I experienced when we visited the BCC congregation in Horten was a spirit of unity, goodness, and a love for Jesus reigned that one felt you could touch!”
William Goxo (South Africa):
The mission event held during the Pentecost Conference was an evening of powerful, edifying messages and video clips that touched the core of our hearts about mission work in Africa. The idea of missionaries being important visitors who preach to the unconverted has been turned on its head! God has revealed that our lives lived in Christ while we go about our daily routines and jobs, are what draws people to Jesus. They are the “Come and See!” And then there was Simunye! The song that is a call to unity of heart, mind and purpose, sung by the choir from Africa when they unexpectedly ran up onto the stage and suddenly the entire audience joined in and were singing as one. What a beautiful celebration of unity in Christ! “Simunye – We are one!”