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Four years ago, as the number of young families in Shofar grew, a desire to develop a praise and worship resource for children was birthed. The worship ministry started adapting existing songs from Shofarband to create a product that could be used both at home and at children’s church for praise and worship.
Seven songs were reworked to be more child-friendly, without compromising on the truth. Production began in 2014 when Shofar’s global theme was ‘The Harvest’. Now, it will be released in the year where the church’s focus is ‘The Sound of the Harvest’, with a strong focus on reaching the nations. In the accompanying videos, kids fly around the world in a space ship. Each song has a different “destination”, representing the sound of a specific country, such as Argentina, Germany or China.
“The audio is an amazing tool for worship in the car or at home,” says James Pringle, worship pastor and father of two. “I’m really happy with how it came out.”
Noah’s ark. Abraham’s faith. Joseph’s dreams. Joshua, Deborah and Gideon’s courage. These larger-than-life figures’ stories come alive in Alida Bornman’s children’s book Heroes of the Bible, which is now going for its second print after its release last year.
Vividly illustrated by Lenka Cronjé, the book chronicles the stories of true heroes who trusted in God and led courageously.
Alida, a children’s church champion and mother of three, pastors the Shofar Worcester congregation together with her husband, Rick. A friend asked her to write down the way she tells Bible stories to her children and put it in book form to help other parents do the same. And so Heroes of the Bible was born, with a fresh new approach that makes these stories relevant to today’s children.
The primary purpose is to facilitate Holy Spirit-led Bible study in families, assisting parents in leaving a spiritual legacy for their children.
“With busy schedules and demanding lives, as parents we often neglect the spiritual journey we are supposed to walk with our children,” she says. “I’ve found it’s difficult for us to disciple our children.”
Considering the future challenges that the next generation will face, Alida believes it will be of utmost importance for children to be able to stand up in society and proclaim Christ as Lord of their lives. “Therefore it’s so important for us to invest enough time and energy to build them up spiritually.”
Heroes of the Bible is a tool for parents on this journey – to make Scripture real to their children and establish eternal truths in their hearts.
Notes in the text help parents have honest conversations with their children around topics such as obedience, trusting God and waiting for the fulfilment of His promises, as well as how these concepts play out practically in daily life. The lessons will challenge both parents and children: Can you give something precious away just as Abram gave Lot the best land? And how does this make you feel?
This approach takes these stories from the pages of the Bible and brings them into the child’s world. What did it look inside the ark? What did it smell and sound? Families are invited to pause and reflect on the small details that reveal God’s character, also laying a foundation for the children’s own Bible study as they grow up.
The book doesn’t shy away from difficult passages or skim over important details but makes them understandable. Alida encourages parents to not only share their good experiences with their children but to be real about the challenges they have faced and how following Christ costs something.
Through these conversations, parents will also gain an understanding of how their children experience God and His presence in their lives. Throughout the book, families are encouraged to pray together.
“Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and allow Him to be the facilitator of the beautiful conversation happening between a child and a parent,” she says.
You are not a mistake. God created you for an assignment only you can fulfill – to impact those around you with His love and goodness.
In order to walk in the fullness of what God has called you to do, you need to be free from bondage and shame, fears, offences and lies. To be victorious, content and effective in the sphere God has placed you in. To grow in influence and leave a legacy. To make your voice heard. This is Sonika Kruger’s heart behind Free To Be – to lead other women on the journey from victim to victor in Christ and step into the fullness of their destiny, as she has experienced in her own life.
“The book is about releasing hope. If God could do these things for me, then He will do it for you.”
Sonika pastors the Shofar East London congregation together with her husband, André, but before she could step into that role, there were many giants to conquer. And even then, the promised land still had some villains that tried to throw her off course.
“Originally, my husband inspired me to write, as he has always believed in me and encouraged me to dream bigger; to look at myself through God’s eyes,” says Sonika. “Also, Psalm 102:18 (NLT) says: ‘Let this be recorded for future generations so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord.’ God has done incredible things in my life and I want other people to glorify Him when they hear my stories. But how will they glorify Him if I’m not there to tell these stories anymore? If it’s recorded, then future generations can read it and glorify God.”
Throughout the book, she shares honest and deeply personal stories – the battles she has fought and the trials she has faced, and how Jesus through His Holy Spirit brought the breakthrough. She also documents her personal testimonies of salvation, Holy Spirit-infilling and water baptism as three crucial keys to pursuing your destiny.
With 30 short sections written in simple English, the format can be used for personal daily devotions, home or Bible study group discussions, or in a discipleship relationship.
It’s written for women of all ages and walks of life. “I’ve heard testimonies from women in traditional churches in their sixties who thoroughly enjoyed the book. And then there’s a young girl in Grade 8 who loved it and read it three times.”
After the release of their previous album, We Won’t Be Afraid, Shofarband felt God clearly tell them to start a School of Worship, asking them, “What does worship that’s in Spirit and truth actually look like?” For two years they took a break from writing songs to wait on God, realign their hearts with His and have this conversation with hundreds of worshippers from many different church backgrounds and nations.
The album Behold, released in July 2018, is a product of this journey of drawing near to God, slowing down and beholding who He is. Shofarband set out to produce music that would put all the focus on Christ and put the Word in people’s mouths.
The band says, “Behold is about God’s children as a community bringing worship that’s inspired by His Spirit and established in His Word. We wanted songs that are soaked in Scripture.”
It is an invitation to turn our gaze away from all the other things that compete for our attention, set aside boxes and previous experiences of worship and behold Him – in His glory, majesty, power and holiness. To learn to become present to Him.
“For now, we see and know in part. There will come a day when we see and know Him fully and worship Him perfectly, but until then He invites us to behold Him so that our understanding and thus our worship moves closer to a revelation of who He really is.”
Thanks to a crowdfund that covered the production costs, the album is available to download for free on Noisetrade by anyone, anywhere. It can also be bought/streamed on Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play. Songs from Behold have already been streamed about 250 000 times.