A. Background

In 1977, God focused the attention of Hennie and Rina Venter on full-time evangelism among the tribal population of South Africa . In 1985, God added a new dimension to His divine plan, namely, to start church planting in North-eastern South Africa . The Lord called them from Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem , and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." At the end of 2007, 97 churches had been built in South Africa in partnership with our Baptist Association, short term mission teams and Pro Missions USA , now Global Ministries Foundation.

B. Global Ministries Foundation

Rev Richard Hamlet is the contact person at Global Ministries Fellowship, USA , who assists teams in their travel arrangements etc. and can be contacted at

P O Box 1150 , Cordova , TN 38088-1150

Tel: 901-684-5556

Email: revrichard@gmfonline.org


C. Strategy

  The first step in church planting is to hold an evangelistic tent campaign in a designated area where there are no other evangelical churches. The aim is to hold at least six campaigns annually; however the mission is working with local Pastors and evangelists to equip them to hold tent crusades in their own regional areas.

  The campaigns are held at one site for at least four weeks during which new converts are incorporated into existing congregations. While the crusade is held, a foundation for the church is laid and a steel frame is erected.

In the context of a full building project, the short term building teams come in to lay all of the bricks and install the roofing sheets and window/door frames. The teams also participate in the on-going tent campaigns held each night, on-going evangelism and/or Bible studies held in the area. Members of the team are also involved in the building project by helping to mix cement, cart sand loads, lay the bricks, carry bricks, install window panes, scrape brick joints or brush the bricks free of mortar.. Local congregational members may also participate in some of these tasks with the team.

Churches are then guided to full independence and to participate in missions themselves so that they may experience the true meaning of being a member of Christ's body on earth.

D. Geographic area of ministry

1. Limpopo Province of South Africa

The formerly independently governed, homelands of Lebowa , Venda and Gazankulu are now under the auspices of the Limpopo Province , which is responsible to the National Government. Within the province, three major tribal groups continue to exist under this newly established political framework. Tribal chiefs and headmen of each village still govern local affairs in each village, but they now work with the Provincial Governmental Departments and the Magistrate (legal system). Both tribal and national laws are operative in village areas.

  a. Northern Sotho tribe

This is the largest tribal group in the Northern Province with a population of over 3 million people. More than three-quarters of a million people have no church connection whatsoever. The predominant language is Northern Sotho or "Pedi". In certain areas, some people have had no exposure to the Gospel at all. 65% of the population is under the age of 18 years of age and this large number of unevangelized young people, emphasizes the vastness of the missionary task.

This former "homeland" area, also called Lebowa is the home of one of the major traditional religions steeped in ancestor worship and rituals. Witchcraft forms a very important part of their value system, and the witchdoctor is often consulted for various aspects of their daily living.

b. Venda Tribe

This Venda tribal group of 1.2 million people lives in the northern most regions of South Africa bordering Zimbabwe . At the moment it is governed by the military. 55% of the population is considered Christian. The Venda tribe speaks an individual language, also called Venda . They moved in 1700 from the Congo , through Zimbabwe , and down to South Africa . Their traditional religion acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being which is worshipped through ancestor rituals and animal sacrifices.

c. Shangaan Tribe

The Shangaan nation, who speak Tsonga, (some speak Portuguese) inhabit this former homeland of Gazankulu. The tribe originates from areas in Mozambique . 49% are non-Christian. Of the Christians, the majority are non-evangelical and Roman Catholic. This area of 1.2 million people is economically backward, but development is beginning in the more populated villages.

2. Northwest Province of South Africa

This province borders the Northern Province to the west and is north and west of the Johannesburg/Pretoria metropolis. Among 3 1/2 million people there are only three Baptist Churches and 10 church buildings in Black village or township areas. The tribal group is Tswana, which is a central Sotho tribe.

3. Gauteng Province of South Africa

Gauteng is the new name for the Province encapsulating Johannesburg, Pretoria and surrounding towns and townships. Four churches were built in this Province with the local Baptist Association. The area contains almost all tribal groups and is nearing the 7 million mark in population.

4. Mozambique

After nearly 18 years of violent civil war, a number of refugees from the former homeland of Gazankulu have moved back to villages in the country. The villages range from the areas on the east side of the Kruger National Park to areas around the Capital of Maputo, to remote villages up north to Beira along the country's only main north-south highway, which runs along the coast of the Indian Ocean.

The country had been decimated by civil war, leaving virtually no infrastructure and over a million land mines underground. The villages have almost no access to building materials, health care or for daily life except for what they can find around them. Mozambique is one of the very poorest countries in the world and is wide open to the Gospel. A number of churches have been planted. A mission team from Texas has been doing basic discipleship training and evangelism over the last years in both the Inhambane and Mapai areas. Small, two member teams have also gone specifically to teach the pastors in the Inhambane and capitol city of Maputo . Medical/Evangelism teams also minister in un-reached areas.

5. Botswana

In mid-2000 a medical/evangelism team went to the “Basarwa” people group which is one of the Kalahari Bushmen tribes. The village of Diphuduhudu lies between Gabarone and the Central Kalahari Reserve. A South African and Korean based mission team is involved in church planting, training and social ministry in the area. They are planning to construct a mission station on the edge of the Kalahari two hours from the capital of Gabarone.