by Werner Joubert (Shofar Secunda)
A critical part of church planting is connecting with the community and Werner Joubert, who pastors Shofar Secunda, joined the rugby club as a way of getting to know the locals.
Last year my wife, Juné, and I moved from the Western Cape to Mpumalanga, to pastor the Shofar Secunda congregation.
I was aiming to meet as many locals as quickly as possible and I love the great outdoors, so finding a way to connect with unchurced people through sport was a no-brainer. I joined the Secunda Rugby Club and almost immediately, through practices, matches and social times, Juné and I met not only the club members, but also their wives and families. Guys from church started joining me at the club, which helped hugely in building and strengthening relationships, and the ladies connected with the girlfriends and wives of the club members – working together as a congregation to see lives changed!
By the grace of God three of the couples got saved and their marriages were radically transformed, from broken to restored. As the year went by, more players got saved and more than one unmarried couple decided to move out after living together. It’s beautiful to see the work of God in our town!
It’s also been great to see how the connection with the rugby club is strengthening and encouraging our church. Seeing Jesus radically save people is a great motivation and the church is growing rapidly, not just with people from the rugby club, but from other parts of town too.
We love what’s happening! Several of the ‘rugby couples’ have recently started leading small group and three couples are going on missions in July. More than ten of the club players are in church, with six in the first team. And we’re not doing badly on the rugby front either – seven out of seven wins so far!
photos by Juné Joubert