Pretoria - Congregants at Grace Bible Church wrapped up Heritage Month on Sunday with an eye on the bigger fish to fry – the Word Explosion 2023 – which marks the 40th birthday of the mega-church.
On Sunday, congregants were encourage to wear Pedi, Tswana and Sotho attires – and they did just that. Thousands of people at the church’s Pimville main campus and branches across the country, including Centurion and Midrand, rocked up in their traditional outfits.
However, the focus has now shifted to October 3 to 8, when the church will be hosting its annual Word Explosion conference.
Various speakers have been lined up for the services throughout the week, but it is the grand finale on October 8 which will see Soweto streets come alive during a Pilgrimage Memorial Walk to mark the 40th birthday of the church.
From 7am, thousands of people are expected to march to several sites where the church held its services in its infant years.
From the main campus in Pimville, the participants will head to Rock Anglican Church (Mavis Hall), the first venue used when the church was handed over to Presiding Bishop Mosa Sono four decades ago.
Soon after Sono started leading the church, the venue was declared unavailable. The church later relocated to Isaacson Primary School. Sono, who attended school there as a child, asked his former principal the use of the hall for church service.
The school will be the second stop during the walk.
Next up will be St Johns Church, where the church moved to after it outgrew the school hall.
From there, the participants will proceed to the third stop, Perfection Autobody, known as Home Makers, where Grace Grace Bible Church settled in June 1986.
It was at Home Makers that it became evident that the church was growing into a brand. More leaders were trained. The initiative to build the church started, and eventually, the current main campus in Pimville became a reality and subsequently opened in 2001.
Today, Grace Bible Church ranks among the biggest churches in South Africa and beyond the country’s borders, while Sono is considered one of the most influential leaders on the continent.
Reflecting on the upcoming momentous (conference), Sono said the past 40 years were a testimony to God’s faithfulness, mercy and grace. “His word assures us that He never gives you a task you won’t be able to fulfil if you follow and uphold His commandments.
“During the early years it was difficult and looked impossible. The road has not been smooth, but we held on to His promises which led us to the celebration, 40 years later,” he said.
“We did not do it on our own and it is impossible to comprehend, however, we believe he called us for a reason and the next 40 years will lead to the fulfilment of our mission to continue winning souls for the kingdom. We are praying for God’s guidance on our next journey after this milestone as we prepare to hand over the baton to the younger generation to continue on the mission.”