HISTORY

The beginnings

In early 1968, meetings of born-again believers started in Piet Retief. Initially, they put themselves under the covering of the Wesleyan Church , meeting in homes and inviting different speakers. The Charismatic move affected this group opening the way for a free move of the Holy Spirit amongst those attending.

Affiliating with Hatfield Baptist Church

The church made contact with the Hatfield Baptist Church , in Pretoria the Capital City , a church flowing with the Holy Spirit. The church voted to affiliate with the Hatfield Baptist Church and in December 1976, the first Pastor was called, Pastor Joubert deWet, who came for nine months.

The first building

Pastor deWet was succeeded in February 1978 by Pastors John and Rosemary Meyer. At this time the congregation purchased a large plot of ground, with an old barn, on the corner of Retief and Pretorius Streets. The barn was converted into a church hall and soon other rooms were added for Sunday School classes.

Uncle Gerhard

At the end of 1982, the Meyers felt led to leave Piet Retief and the church was shepherded by Gerhard Engelbrecht, a missionary to Germans in the area and Vic Volker, one of the deacons.

Piet Retief Christian Church

The next pastoral couple to be called were Allen and Dawn duPlessis. They were here from October 1983. In 1984, the church adjusted its constitution, adopting a body of Eldership as its form of church government. At this time the church resigned from the Baptist Union and changed its name from the Piet Retief Baptist Church to the Piet Retief Christian Church.

Youth ministry

In mid 1985, a second pastor was called to assist with the youth and worship, Pastor Tony and Magda (Mags) Vlok. An extension to the building started at the end of 1985, giving seating capacity for over 250 people, and was completed in February 1986.

Church Split

n August / September 1986, the majority of the church became unhappy with Pastor Allen, believing his work was done after completing the building. To avoid being in the middle of the controversy, Pastor Tony Vlok left for a church in another town. The church split and Pastor Allen and some of the congregation started meetings in rented facilities.

New Beginnings

The rest of the congregation stayed without a pastor until Pastor Len and Dagmar Weston were called in December 1988. At this time the church was down to 70 people and had broken off its ties with Hatfield Christian Church.     

By the end of 1989, there had been reconciliation and the two congregations had reunited, including the previous pastor. Tony and Mags Vlok were recalled to lead worship and the youth.

 

New Church Building

Towards the end of 1991, the church building had become too small and in 1993 we were forced to investigate a new building. During 1993 and 1994, we purchased another piece of property as well as another house in the church block. 

In 1994 we appointed an architect to help us create vision. This lead to the church building starting in August 1995 and the opening 2 years later in 1997 – built completely by faith and debt free.

 Building the new church

School

In 1995, the church started Maranatha Pre-School with the vision of going up one grade each year and keeping the classes to 20 pupils to one teacher.

At the same time, ‘ Joy School ’ – which had been a Saturday morning school for teaching Zulu children to speak English became a full time pre-school on another premises.

At present, Maranatha has classes up to Grade 9. Grades 10 - 12 use the Cambridge Curriculum using Maranatha's  facilities. God is blessing the school.

Joy School has multiplied into three different pre-schools and is no longer under the direct management of Maranatha. 

Cells

In 1995, we began to transition our church into a Cell centered Body. 

This has enabled good fellowship and shepherding as God continued to expand and bless the church. 

Cells are now the lifeline of this Body.

 

Youth

In the middle of 1996, a young man, Niel van Rensburg, came back to town from Bible School and got involved with the Youth. (Here he is partaking in a typical South African ritual – the Braaivleis (pronounced bry-flace) To the rest of the world – a barbeque.

At the beginning of 1997, Pastor Tony Vlok felt the Lord calling him to another town. Niel was taken on as a student Pastor, responsible for the Youth.

Sheldon Hallis felt called into the ministry and came on board by faith.

Niel left us towards the end of 1998 to Join Tony Vlok in Harrismith. 

At present, Sheldon and his wife Christen, are in charge of Youth and Missions.

 

Outreach

In May of 1997, God challenged the Elders to get more involved with missions. We hired a training center 33 kilometers from town with the option to buy. This we call the Assegaai Revival Center (ARC)

The Lord has supplied the money to purchase the property and we are exercising the option.

The center has been used for camps and mission teams reaching out into Africa .

In October 1998, Pastor Derick and Anne Slabbert joined us on a full time basis to take control of Maranatha School , Worship and the Administration of all the ministries.

In January 2001, Derick relinquished the role of Headmaster of Maranatha but took on the responsibility of setting up an equipping track for all current and future members in the body together with those members of River of Life .

 

River of Life

In November 1999, God helped us further the vision of outreach. 

Pastor Jabu and Nora Dlamini joined our church with the goal of planting Zulu churches in our area.

 

These churches operate under the name of “ River of Life ”. 

So far we have started three and we are believing the Lord for many more.

The foundations for the church in Harmony Park have just been dug.

 

Childrens’ Home

During 2002, the church acquired property to develop a Children’s Home.  The first stage  is now in place with a home that can house 42 children.

 

The second stage was to develop an on site pre-school.

The Lighthouse, which is affiliated to Teen Challenge has opened a branch at the Arc.

In 2002, Piet Retief started the process of changing its name to Mkhondo. In addition the words "Christian Church" were felt by the leadership to be arrogant when one of our goals is unity within the town. Because of this it was decided to change the name to one which is symbolic of the church's calling:

  • To be a resource center for the region

With effect from 1st January 2003, the name is now Wellspring Ministries.

 

By January 2003, the church building was more than 80% full every Sunday. Fortunately, the architect had built extensions into his original planning and the body has agreed to go ahead with both the  extensions to both wings of the church.

Building extensions

 

 

In January 2005, Uzwelo Home was recognised as such by the Department of Welfare and now has its own Social Worker. At present the home cares for 32 children.

 

In 2004 we saw the birthing of the first official Theophostic (God’s Light) inner healing and mind renewal support group at Wellspring Ministries,

 

In January 2005, Wellspring took over responsibility for the local Thuthukani Stimulation Centre for the Mentally and Physically Disabled

April 2005, saw the inauguration of the Wellsprings Resource Network with over 50 Pastors from the Region joining in to be equipped.