by Heinrich Titus
As Shofar turns thirty this year, we reflect on our journey so far as we trust God for a great outpouring for the next season.
Thirty years. It’s a lifetime for some of us. For others, it’s but one season amongst many. Regardless of our age or how long we have been part of this church family called Shofar, we have an opportunity to pause, reflect, give thanks, repent, and look ahead. We have a chance to celebrate what God has done, is doing, and has promised to do.
This time is a wonderful reminder that Jesus’ earthly ministry really only started going public when He was around thirty years old. And that ministry is beautifully captured by His close friend, the tax-collector turned Apostle, Matthew:
“35And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:35-37 ESV).
Matthew had a front-row seat to Jesus’ ministry in Judea. He heard the Lord’s teachings and saw His message confirmed with signs and wonders – the sick and oppressed were healed and set free to behold His beauty in worship.
Matthew also saw the tears of compassion that moved Jesus’ heart and hands as He saw the crowds for what they really were: harassed, helpless, and at the mercy of those exploiting them. Jesus saw them as a ripened harvest, ready to be brought into the safety of His Kingdom.
As we gear up for our 30-year celebration this year, I’m writing this letter to you amid mounting local and global challenges. I am convinced that as Jesus looks at our world, His heart is moved with compassion.
In South Africa, rocketing fuel prices, unprecedented power outages, rampant corruption, chaotic infrastructure, higher-than-ever crime rates, and gender-based violence have all contributed to a deep-seated sense of despair in a normally optimistic and resilient society.
Globally there has been little reprieve after the Covid-19 pandemic with out-of-control inflation, an impending food crisis, and long-standing conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia having been joined by fresh geopolitical tension following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The number of displaced people has doubled over the last ten years to approximately 84 million, while human trafficking flourishes in both developing and developed countries.
As I write this, 870 million people worldwide suffer from severe hunger. One in every ten people will go to bed today not knowing where their next meal will come from.
The culture wars are contributing to an epidemic of mental health disorders as society becomes increasingly politically polarised, intolerant of non-liberal views (leading to fear of authenticity at the risk of being cancelled in the public eye), lonely and addicted to social media.
The past few years in the global Church have also been difficult to stomach, with many prominent leaders and ministries across denominational boundaries rocked by scandals. These ranged from dictatorial leadership styles and financial mismanagement to sexual sins, apostasy and more, all the more highlighting what Jesus saw: a lack of shepherds willing to follow His example in laying down their lives and desires for selfish gain for the sheep.
The world is hurting; the Church is hurting. Millions in our country and billions worldwide need the truth and hope of the Gospel for this life and eternity.
Jesus wants to pour out His compassion on these “harassed and helpless crowds” in every nation on earth. Of these global statistics, Jesus would say: they are ripe for harvesting. God has called us to raise up labourers and to be those labourers ourselves. He wants to manifest His healing power through us, His Body.
None of us can do this by ourselves. To step into what God is calling us to be (a shepherding community) and do what he has called us to do (a harvesting army), we need to come together and reconnect around what makes us a church family.
We are a family utterly dependent upon Him and at the same time interdependent on each other: poorer without each other, but stronger together.
The speakers the Lord has sent us for Convergence this year carry an impartation which I believe will help us grow in our understanding of His holiness, His heart for the lost, His power to renew and revive, and His wisdom and anointing to minister healing to the brokenhearted and mentally ill. My faith and expectation are that as we come together, we will receive a fresh outpouring of His Spirit and a reminder of our calling to make disciples in every village and city as He sends us across national, generational, and cultural borders.
10“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)
Over the last thirty years, God has been raining down His Word on us through prophecy, sermons, Bible School, Foundations, Encounters, and much more. We have seen signs of those seeds beginning to break into life and will therefore pause and celebrate what He has done. But we know there is still much seed in the ground of our hearts, seed that the enemy is desperately afraid of and trying to suppress. Some of the seed has been buried through our own mistakes and sins, and we will spend time repenting before God and each other for that.
I’m trusting God for a mighty downpour of spiritual rain during Convergence. Dormant seeds are going to come to life. Dreams and destinies will be unlocked, and new seeds will be sown into fertile soil.
We need each other to step into what God has for us together. Will you join me in sowing into our Convergence Financial Aid fund so that we can slash the ticket prices to as little as possible and enable everyone to be able to attend? To this end, I have made R50 000 available from my Apostolic travel fund as the first seed.
On any given Sunday, we are between 5 000 and 6 000 people attending services at Shofar congregations. If each person can contribute between R50 and R100, we can make Convergence free to attend.
Brothers and sisters from our congregations in Burundi and Malawi would love to join us too, and this fund will enable us to contribute to their travel and accommodation costs. You can donate here.
I believe in what God is doing in us and through us. I believe He has given us His heart, and together, we can be the generation that will see the world experience His love and power. And just like Matthew, we will have front-row seats!
 The conflict in the DRC is described as the world’s largest forgotten crisis by some, having produced almost 900 000 international refugees and 4.5 million internally displaced people.
 Syria has made over 6.7 million international refugees, over 25% of the global refugee population, with about the same number of internal refugees.
 10% of the world’s refugee population are from Afghanistan alone.
 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already forced over 5.2 million people to flee their birth country.
 As many as 25 million people are currently estimated to be held in modern day slavery.