by Hercules Opperman
For many years, the Shofar Headquarters had found a home at the Oude Molen Campus in Stellenbosch. For our staff and members, this had been “our” destination to connect with the church leaders and Shofar family. Every conference, training opportunity and meeting brought precious memories of the vibrant growth of the vision God has graced us with. It truly was a launch pad for many ministry opportunities for almost ten years. After two years of waiting, we have once again found a place we can call “home” and are excited to nestle in at our Shofar Campus in Franschhoek. This is also the home of the Shofar Institute, which is quickly becoming a landmark for every Shofarite.
The beautiful Franschhoek Christian Fellowship Church, in the woods at the bottom of Franschhoek mountain, became a Shofar church in 2001 after Pastor Anton and Christelle Myburgh started to pastor the church in 2000. Johnny and Deleste Bell, founders of this ministry, have always had a passion for missions and church planting in the Ukraine and it was evident that their hearts overlapped with the heart of Shofar to reach the nations. A Bible School was established on the Franschhoek church premises to enable the ministry to equip people to fulfill the work of the ministry and it produced stellar students through the vibrant “Bos Kerk” as it was known at the time. Unfortunately, the vision for the Bible School began to wane somewhat, but the premises was since used as a Christian campsite, Eagle’s Nest, that still reached many people for the Kingdom.
Since 2014, Shofar’s leaders decided to develop Eagle’s Nest as a training facility for all of Shofar’s training opportunities and to start a full-time residential campus that can train leaders to plant churches and impact communities. The idea of making the Shofar Institute the training arm of Shofar started to come to fruition in 2015, when the first full-time students found their residence at the newly birthed “Shofar Institute Campus”. In 2016, the number of students has doubled and we’re trusting to see many more leaders raised up, thereby restoring this premises to its original mandate from God.
Training is core to Shofar’s growth in the future. As more churches are planted, there is a greater need to raise up second, third and even more generations to fulfill the original mandate God has given us. The only way to do this is to train people in the principles that one almost takes for granted as we have grown into a multi-generational ministry, and especially as we endeavor to reach beyond South African borders. Since we have more than fifty Shofar churches and an expanding network church movement, it’s important for us to spend time with the newcomers in order for them to catch the heartbeat of Shofar as a movement. As custodians of the vision God has given us, Shofar’s apostolic leadership team is responsible for protecting and building on God’s original mandate. In doing so, we endeavor to keep the leadership team as close as possible to the engine room of Shofar – that of training.
After much consideration, Shofar’s apostolic team, in consultation with the Franschhoek church elders, decided to move closer to the Shofar Institute and bring the dynamic staff and resources of Shofar Headquarters to the Shofar Institute. This serves to bolster the vision God has given us of reaching nations and generations through disciple-making, leadership development and church planting.
The campsite has truly developed into a fully fledged campus and offices for the staff. Not only is the facility in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Franschhoek, it also serves as a place of peace and quiet for healing, restoration and building up the saints to do the work of the ministry. A great deal of building has taken place over the past few months and we need to expand a lot more in the coming months to cater for all the needs of both a training facility and an administration hub. Please see the collage of photos below documenting the progress made.
Lastly, we invite you to partner with us in developing the premises for future use – details are given below (also read our article on Shofar Institute).