Imagine a city where men and women see each other beyond a racial divide, where the youth and elderly are more tolerant of one another, children from all walks of life call each other brothers and sisters and class is not a barrier keeping citizens from getting to know each another.
You might call this dreaming of utopia, but Heartlines calls it a possibility.
In 2019 Heartlines will be bringing the What’s Your Story Campaign? to Kimberley, the capital city of the Northern Cape. Churches will work together to spread the message of the campaign in the hope of strengthening communities.
An introductory breakfast meeting involving 50 church leaders was held in Kimberley on 28 November 2018, and the enthusiasm to adopt the What’s Your Story? campaign has surpassed expectations.
Training for church leaders will kick-off in April 2019. A BRIDGE two-day getaway event is scheduled to take place, which will see 30 church leaders building relationships and making plans to work together to deal with issues affecting the city of Kimberley, as well as seven training events which will equip churches to run the campaign in their individual churches.
Brian Helsby, head of church mobilisation at Heartlines, says he has a vision to see communities transformed by 2020.
“My prayer is that in 12 months’ time, Kimberley will be a different city because of the campaign. I hope that within churches there will be a greater sense of community and leaders from different churches and their denominations will walk and work together to address the needs of the city,” he says.
“In individual churches, and even at events with diverse cross-cultural members, people tend to keep to themselves or stay in their interest groups. Churches are supposed to be a place of high community engagement, but it’s not the case.”
Riaan Janse van Vuuren, an elder at the House of Restoration Church agrees.
“Churches leaders are also often involved in their own environment and sometimes lose focus of the fact that there are other church leaders with whom we can partner. The What’s Your Story? campaign is important for us because everyone has a story to tell,” he says.
“If we do not have a story to tell, or listen to someone else’s story, how can I have empathy towards you and how can I minister to you?”
Warren Theys, senior pastor at Evangelical Bible Church of SA in Pescodia says they aim to show the Beyond The River movie at their local church and introduce it to discussions in their bible studies.
“We will be taking the What’s Your Story? campaign to our national churches and we have invited Brian to speak at our annual conference,” he says.
Riaan says the excitement around the upcoming campaign has already inspired him to share his story and get to know members of his staff.