Wilberforce Academy South Africa, Refocus Day 3 –

‘At the end of the beginning’

The end of a season is often met with equal parts reflection of what has been and excitement for what lies ahead. And so it was on Saturday, 18 November, as we hosted the 3rd, and final, Refocus Day of the 2023 Wilberforce Academy South Africa (WA SA).

The event was hosted in Somerset West, with a group gathered in Potchefstroom as well as individual WA SA delegates and faculty members (based in other parts of the country) joining the online broadcast.

As we kicked off proceedings, our MC for the day, Nicole Bartels, shared what the Lord had laid on her heart – for us to be open to putting aside our own plans and preconceived ideas, and to really wait on the Lord – for it is His plans and purposes that will stand.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  (Proverbs 19:21)

Ryan Smit, Programme director of WA SA, gave an overview of what the day would hold and shared Psalm 92:12-15

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

2023 Recap

In the first session of the day, Ryan gave a recap of key activities that have taken place during the year. He started with highlights from the Academy Week in January, then followed with reminders of Refocus Day 1 and Refocus Day 2, and two Christian Education Workshops held at the end of April and July. He also gave a reminder of some of the ministries represented within the Wilberforce community, such as – Cause for Justice, Focus on the Family Africa, African Enterprise, Ratio Christi, John Mathuhle, Ziwani, and Apologetics SA.  

Lastly, he shared about his recent trip to Zimbabwe, together with Andrew Marsh, and all they experienced there; and ended the session by sharing about their upcoming trip to Namibia – which took place in the week of 20 November.

Click here to watch the session. (21 mins)

Panel Discussion – The impact of Wilberforce Academy in and through the lives of delegates

For our second session we hosted a panel discussion, where we invited three delegates of the 2023 Academy – Laila Ncwana, Junine Prins, and Sybrand de Vaal – to share about the impact the Academy is having in and through their lives. This was a vibrant session with each of them sharing passionately about the deep convictions that have grown and flowed from the impartation they received (especially during the Academy Week in January), as well as opportunities that they have had through the year to put into practice what they’ve received in all areas of their lives and their communities.

Hearing them share was a powerful reminder for each participant of their own journey of growth through the year, and was also deeply inspiring. Listening to their testimonies felt like we were getting a sneak preview into the bigger picture of how mightily God is moving – these are exciting times indeed!

This session can be viewed here. (22 mins)

Introducing the Wilberforce Collective

Session 3 had everyone captivated as Andrew Marsh, COO of Christian Concern and Global Director of the Wilberforce Academy, painted a vivid word picture of the vision of the newly launched Wilberforce Collective in the UK.

The collective is a powerhouse and a factory, designed for Christ-shaped cultural renewal, as well as to equip the church for impact.”

A recording of this session is available here. (35 mins)

After this the room was divided into smaller groups, while those attending online all connected together, discussing the practicalities of developing a Wilberforce community spanning multiple year-groups – in the South African context. This short time was very helpful as key points and feedback were noted.

We continue – Living faithfully and fruitfully for Jesus

Being ‘Faithful & Fruitful’ was the overall theme of the Academy year and was the spiritual goal woven throughout each encounter like a golden thread.

As the day’s proceedings drew to a close, Ryan thanked all who had been instrumental in bringing it all to life and shared a final reflection of the journey that the seeds planted in each life had undergone through the year. The seed germinated and a new plant has formed. But that is not the end…

New plants in our lives have the ability to produce fruit that bear new seed. Those seeds are for sowing in the fertile soil of others’ hearts and minds. As with your own plant, those seeds will need to be watered and encouraged to grow. As we grow together, we will start to see an oasis take shape in the present moral wasteland, where many long for the shade and sustenance of a flourishing orchard only found in the true vine and cultivated by our heavenly Father.”   

Click here to watch the final session. (11 mins)