A good thing about being 50+ is that you begin to have a degree of perspective about the places you’ve been and the people who have impacted your life. When you’ve been around awhile, you have a long-term sense of who’s the real deal, because you have witnessed them standing the test of time. Somebody who really stands out to me as a shining example of this, is Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. I have watched his ministry, Christ for All Nations, (CFaN) grow over 30 years and seen the immense fruit of his passion and humility.
As a young man I remember attending a CFaN mass rally at the Harare show grounds in Zimbabwe; then when I moved to South Africa Reinhard Bonnke would often speak at Rhema Church in Johannesburg, which I attended for years. I was always inspired by his passionate messages, which made the Gospel sound so simple, understood by all. Each time I heard him preach at church or at conferences I was instilled by a deeper desire to go all out for God.
Reinhard Bonnke – a pillar in the Christian Community
It was a joy to hear him prophesy at the historic land dedication of Rhema Bible Church in Randburg in 1984 when he said Rhema was like the nesting place of the divine eagle and many eaglets would fly out of the nest and go over the world to accomplish great exploits for God. Looking back today, I see that, by God’s grace, I became one of those eaglets and I am challenged by ‘Brother Reinhard’ to keep soaring to see those exploits realised.
After 30 years, the example of this man’s life continues to inspire me. Why? Because ‘Brother Reinhard’ as Pastor Ray McCauley affectionately called him, has remained faithful to the call. He is still as passionate as ever, a humble man of God who takes no credit for himself, for him it is all about Jesus and winning souls for his Lord.
And, despite many trials, challenges and set-backs, this is a man of God who has persevered and continues to be a pillar in the Christian community that we can aspire to be like. Not that we put our faith in man, or put him on a pedestal, but that we honour his example and learn from his integrity.
God turns a minus into a plus – Reinhard Bonnke
I also remember attending the dedication of CFaN’s 34,000-seater tent, an amazing day, celebrating the largest tent the world had ever seen at that time. And, I recall the devastating news, soon after, that it had been completely destroyed by bad weather, a disastrous day for Christianity. I questioned why God would allow this to happen, and God in His providence granted me an answer. It came many years later, and it came from the evangelist himself, sitting chatting to him on another continent, North America. Only God could have orchestrated such a meeting. Read his answer in my interview with Reinhard Bonnke.
Though I had interviewed many ministers, I’d never met my favourite evangelist and God gave me the opportunity when I went to work for GOD TV. When I started working for the global network in the UK in 2001, I was amazed to see the extent of the worldwide outreach of Christ For All Nations, as I watched LIVE coverage from the crusade ground. I could see hundreds of thousands of people gathering to hear the Gospel, it was thrilling to watch God touching so many lives, now literally in the millions.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Interviewing Reinhard for the GOD TV Guide, while on a trip to Washington, DC, was a privilege. He was warm, passionate and fiery, just as you would expect. I was also impressed by his gentle humility. He was the real deal. No hype, no show, completely sold out to Jesus and living the life of a disciple. It was not all about him and his ministry but about the King and his Kingdom. Read my interview with Reinhard and find out why God will sometimes allow everything to be blown away… so you can rise higher, without any limits.
It has been said you are not a true success until you have a successor and this is an area where Reinhard Bonnke has shown his stature. Like Elijah, he has raised up an Elisha in Daniel Kolenda, and I have no doubt a double portion is being passed on. In the meantime Christ For All Nations continues to impact millions of lives and long may the Battle cry sound, ‘From Cape Town to Cairo, Africa (and the nations) will be saved.’
The Church needs more faith heroes like Reinhard Bonnke. I last heard him speak at a Fire Conference in Birmingham, where I took my son to be inspired by this great man of God. It’s critical as believers that we find worthy examples to spur us on in our faith walk. As the apostle Paul challenges us in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”