Earlier this year I had the privilege of being invited to speak in three different cities in South Africa: Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. I saw some very encouraging things, like growing churches with strong leadership and a real heart for seeing the work of Jesus go forward in their cities, country, and continent.
I also saw some very disheartening things, and this clip documents one of them—a township just outside Johannesburg called Diepsloot, which literally means "deep ditch" in Afrikaans. It was a place of total poverty, the likes of which I’ve never seen aside from Haiti, and within a ten-minute drive of a Ferrari dealership. The disparity of wealth was astonishing.
This clip includes some statistics about Diepsloot, and they are tragic:
Most of the 200,000 residents live in tiny shacks assembled from scrap metal, wood, plastic and cardboard.
There is no electricity, and some families lack access to basic services, such as running water, sewage, and rubbish removal.
City officials estimate that half the population in the settlement is unemployed.
The HIV rate is huge—some think as high as 60 percent.
However, the people of GodFirst Church in Johannesburg, under the leadership of Pastor P. J. Smyth, are not about to sit on their hands while this exists in their city, and have established a preschool in the heart of Diepsloot with the intention of thinking generationally. They hope to give some of these beautiful kids a better fate than that of most of their parents. I encourage you to watch this clip with Kaleb Willems of GodFirst and consider how you might be able to help them serve these kids and the community in Diepsloot at large, not just with education and food, but also with the gospel.
Please note that the estimated cost for one year of operation at this preschool (including two full-time teachers and 40 kids with two meals a day) is only $10,000. You can help by clicking here to donate.
Jesus was a man who claimed to be God. Think on that for a minute. If that were true, how would it change the way you thought, felt, and lived this life?
At Mars Hill, we believe that Jesus is God. We take him at his word. Because of this, everything we do is all about Jesus. We invite you to learn more about this man who is God and how you can find forgiveness and new life in him.
Visiting a church for the first time can be nerve-racking. But having an idea of what to expect can help. There are three main parts to every Sunday service: preaching, worship, and kids. To learn more about each of these, click the links below.
Church is more than a service. It’s people living life together and helping one another throughout our cities to serve our cities. Each week, thousands of people at Mars Hill meet in hundreds of small communities to learn about God, pray, eat, laugh, and live. We call these Community Groups—and they’re the heart of our church.
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Jesus is the most generous person who ever lived. He gave his life so that we might live. As Christians, we give our time, talent, and money joyfully in response to Jesus’ generosity and to help more people meet Jesus.