In the late 1990’s Rev. Meshack Ngcobo, was a local pastor for a 20-30K member Zion denomination, the Christian Catholic Apostolic Holy Spirit Church in Zion. Though this large congregation meets annually in the province of Kwa Zulu Natal, and its membership is widespread, routinely its congregants fellowship as house churches, a few of which Rev. Ngcobo led.
I met Rev. Ngcobo in 2004 when he began attending a Zion Evangelical Bible School (ZEBS) at Enlhungwane, a community in the township of KwaMashu, outside of Durban. Each week, sitting in children’s desks at the local primary school, adult leaders gathered to study God’s Word. Rev. Ngcobo listened attentively and asked many questions. Elated by what he was learning, Pastor Ngcobo began attending ZEBS at Sunbury as well. By the time he graduated in 2007, Pastor Ngcobo could see the practice of ancestor worship was a tradition which was rooted in fear, that prevented his people from experiencing freedom the Bible teaches is ours in Christ.
We remained in touch, and on occasion, Pastor Ngcobo invited me to services for his congregation. By 2009, he had rejected syncretism, which had been part of his church traditions in the earlier years as a pastor. I asked him to teach at some of our ongoing ZEBS in KwaMashu, which he did for a time. However, this became less frequent because he had a full-time job and was committed nurturing his 100 member congregation by living and teaching from the Bible. In 2010 while attending an engagement celebration service, I was encouraged to hear Pastor Ngcobo advise one congregation to support the young couple financially and spiritually. He emphasized that together we need to honor God as a supportive community, by helping one another to reflect God’s Covenant love in practical ways. He said, “Lobola has become selfish. Now that we know the Truth, it is our job to be light, and bring Truth to our community. We must help our young people marry and live in God’s ways.”
It has been many years now since I have seen Pastor Ngcobo. But recently a young accountant I met through a Zion fellowship for university students, shared that he had begun attending Rev. Ngcobo’s church, which now has 1200 members. Catching up with this young man’s story I learned that he had left his father’s Zion church because his father insists on worshipping the ancestors instead of God alone. But Rev. Ngcobo, he said, “He is staying with the Truth!”
Praise God with us for Pastor Ngcobo and his congregation. Pray that God would raise up young leaders who will carry on this vision for becoming the united Bride of Christ that supports one another to glorify God and His ways.