MTS partners with Anglican Aid to fund apprentices in South Africa

Trinity Church Morningside is a lot like many churches in Australia. They have Sunday meetings, a kids club, and weekly small groups. Their pastor did a ministry apprenticeship before heading to Bible college and then planting the church.

But this church isn’t in Sydney, or Melbourne, or even Perth – it’s in Durban, South Africa.

Senior Pastor Nigel Richardson undertook a ministry apprenticeship in London for two years, but then undertook an additional year of training in Durban in South Africa. Seeing the gospel needs there and sensing that God had gifted him for ministry in South Africa, Nigel decided to head to theological college at George Whitefield College in Cape Town.

Now, committed to the same gospel as us here in Australia, and the same goal of seeing the world won for Christ, Nigel has undertaken to train apprentices at Trinity Church Morningside for ministry in South Africa and beyond.

“If we are to reach all parts of Durban for Jesus, these ministry apprenticeships are key. We need young men and women who will preach the gospel, plant churches and train up other men and women in the gospel. This is what we’re asking Jesus to bless in Durban,” Nigel says.

Trinity Church Morningside has two apprentices continuing in 2021, and two more apprentices applied to start this year.

All these young people are excited to learn more about sharing the gospel with those around them – and Nigel is very excited to train them.

Nigel with one of the new apprentices, Mazwi

The challenge

But the fact is, it’s not easy to become an apprentice in South Africa – particularly financially. Though it costs just $7,200 to fund an apprentice for a year in Durban (significantly less than in Australia), this is an amount of money that is extremely challenging to raise in a country with an unemployment rate of over 27%*, where 16% of people live below the poverty line* and massive inequality remains even decades after the end of apartheid.

And Trinity Church Morningside can’t afford to simply cover the costs of the two new apprentices, even with their partner student ministry The Bible Talks paying half of the $7,200. “We’d committed in our budget to train two apprentices at a time, but as is the case, this year we had two more apply,” Nigel explains. “We could put everything into apprenticeships but we also need to grow a church for them to be trained at! The apprentices themselves often come from deprived backgrounds, having received government bursaries to study, and so wouldn’t be in a position to raise any funding themselves.”

The solution

That’s why, during the recent MTS G8 Conference for apprentices and trainers, MTS was delighted to partner with Anglican Aid in raising funds to enable Trinity Church Morningside to train two new apprentices in 2021.

Anglican Aid is the aid and ministry support agency of the Sydney Anglican diocese. Their vision is to see the grace of God overflowing to a world in need, and they’re excited about seeing the impact of ministry apprenticeships in South Africa.

CEO Tim Swan says, “Anglican Aid is working to strengthen churches and transform communities. Jesus gave the church the task of proclaiming the gospel of salvation to every nation until his return. The workers are few in every nation, so Anglican Aid is thrilled to support an organisation purposefully seeking to raise up more workers through apprenticeships in South Africa. We pray that through this, more will hear the gospel and be saved to eternal life with Christ.”

During the G8 conference, attendees gave exceedingly generously to a total of $5,182, which Anglican Aid pledged to match in order to cover the costs of hiring both apprentices.

That means that both the new apprentices are able to undertake their apprenticeships for the next two years without worrying at all about money, and Nigel and his team can commit to training them while still staying on budget and growing the church in all areas.

MTS is delighted to have had the privilege of partnering with Anglican Aid in this exciting endeavour. “We are just thrilled to partner with our friends at Anglican Aid in multiplying gospel workers through ministry apprenticeships for South Africa,” says MTS National Director Ben Pfahlert. “Praise God for Nigel and his team at Morningside, for their willingness to invest time in training up reliable people who are qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2).”

About the apprentices

 The first new apprentice, Yasmine, studied linguistics and communications, then worked as a medical rep before deciding she wanted to explore her ministry gifts through an apprenticeship.

“Yasmine is from the Congo originally although she went to school here in South Africa,” explains Nigel. “This means she is a French speaker (as well as Lingala, English, Afrikaans and Zulu!) and therefore able to communicate well with the Congolese already at Trinity and their friends. She loves Jesus and is already involved at Trinity teaching the 11-14 age group. She has a passion for the elderly, always comes early to see what needs doing and she talks to anyone and everyone. Of course, one of the purposes of the apprenticeship is to uncover the gifts God has put in her, but we are already excited about the future for Yasmine.”

The second apprentice, Mazwi, studied criminology and worked in that field before giving up his job to do his apprenticeship.

“Mazwi is Zulu and from a Durban township called Inanda,” Nigel shares. “After university, money was short and so travelling to church was difficult, as was following online because he didn’t have money for cell phone data and no Wi-Fi at home. Nevertheless, Mazwi started a bible study with friends and neighbours. This was short-lived and he began to feel the frustration of ministry andalso his need for training. For me as a trainer, his desire to teach the Bible to others and his entrepreneurship to get something going, however well that went, is an exciting prospect.”

Nigel can’t wait to see the impact that these apprentices might have in the future. “My hope for the South African church is that through the training of young people, the true and wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ would rise to the surface and begin to change the spiritual and social landscape of South Africa to the glory of God,” he says.

“Who knows… Mazwi and Yasmine may end up on the frontline of that gospel work! We’ll be praying they do, and many more like them. For now, we’ll be helping them grow in their love for Jesus, their likeness of him and their ability to tell others about him.”

*Statistics from the CIA World Factbook