Chris Mnguni is a graduate of Christ Seminary in Polokwane, South Africa, and is Zulu in ethnic heritage. He and his wife, Happy, have been sent out by Crystal Park Baptist Church in Benoni to plant a church in Daveyton, a township in Johannesburg. Chris is part of an exciting, growing wave of township church-planters laboring to build biblical churches on the strong foundation of the true gospel and sound doctrine.
Testimony of Conversion
I was raised by a single parent. My goal in life was to live for myself and be a better man. I sought for satisfaction in sports, friends, and girlfriends. My mom took me to a 12 Apostolic Church, which was a cult but I did not know that at the time. I was taught that I must work for my salvation and my ancestors. I labored day and night, recruiting people to work for their salvation. It was during my zeal of recruiting people that the Lord led me to the home of some Jehovah’s Witnesses. My intention was to recruit a young man to be one of my followers, because we were taught that we must have disciples.
One day, his mother asked me to read Luke 22:35. This was a troubling verse to me, having been taught that the reason 12 Apostles do not read and teach from the Bible is because Jesus told His disciples they must not carry a money-bag, which was interpreted to mean the Bible. The truth of this verse shed some light for me. I thought there must be an answer to my question. I went back to the 12 Apostles leaders about this verse, but they insisted that I was not supposed to read the Bible. Their answer troubled me further, and it seemed clear that they were hiding something. I decided to seek the answer from the Bible anyway. The more I read, the more I saw that many things we were doing as a ‘church’ were clashing with the Bible, and I was troubled even more.
All my hope of getting the salvation for which I had worked so hard started to disappear. It was during that confusion that a friend invited me to a Pentecostal church. The pastor who was preaching that day answered all my questions in one sermon. My eyes were opened. My sins were exposed. Christ was presented as the answer for all the questions of life. I was captured by the preacher’s argument! I learned afterwards that the senior pastor was not there, and I was asked to come back. It was in my second visit that Christ was preached as a sinless Man who died in my place in order for me to be saved. It was my first time to hear that Christ did the work that I could not do, that He paid the price that I could not pay! It was after such truths were revealed to me that I trusted in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Call to Ministry
When He saved me, the Lord opened my eyes to see that many people were still in the dark. I started asking myself, “What if my friend had not invited me to church?” I would have died in my hopeless situation! I started wondering how many people were still in that same position.
Therefore, the Lord gave me a desire to tell others about the way of salvation. I started refuting the teachings of the 12 Apostles cult by pointing out that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8). During my busyness in calling people to repent from their sins and trust Christ who died on their behalf, the leaders of our church recognized the gift that God has given me. They encouraged me and gave me opportunities to preach as well. That is where I sensed the need for further training. I discussed this with my pastor, and he told me about the cost of being a preacher of the Word. I was so afraid to take the next step, but there was a joy in my heart that I would be suffering for the good cause. I started seeing that many preachers were not doing justice to the Word of God. I was afraid that if I was not well trained, I might end up leading many people astray. It was in the midst of such fears that the Lord led me to an organization that was training young people for ministry (Jesus Life Ministry).
During my time of training in this organization, I met a young man who was an expository preacher. I longed to handle the Word of God like him. By God’s grace, he gave me application forms for seminary. It was in seminary that I realized how many people in churches are being misled by false teachers. My desire to work in the vineyard of the Master grew more and more. During my seminary years, I was asked to be part of a church-plant in an area forty-five minutes away from my home. I stepped out in faith, trusting that the Lord would make a way. That is how the Lord called me to be on mission with Him, calling the lost to believe in Him and Him alone.
I was born into a Christian family. During my childhood, I was exposed to the gospel both at home and at church. I remember hearing the gospel when I was around eight years old, and the only thing that stood out to me was that if I did not believe in Jesus Christ I would burn in hell forever and ever. That really troubled my soul. I was really scared of this hell, and I wanted to be in heaven with my parents. So it was then that I trusted Christ with my life, just for the hope of escaping hell, and not because I saw myself as a sinner in need of a Saviour.
I grew up like any other child from a Christian home. I was obedient to my parents, always seeking to please them. Most of my life revolved around the church. It was only when I reached high school that my life took a different turn, and everything I believed was challenged. The sinner in me was revealed as I started living a double life. I was a prideful, immoral, self-centered sinner by day at school; and I was a humble, obedient, selfless saint by night at home. I mastered the switch between those two roles like a charm for the first two years of high school.
My life’s pursuit was to do everything I possibly could to belong to my group of friends. Yet the more I tried, the less I felt their acceptance and love. I felt alone and confused. I compromised everything I believed in and even forgot about the hell of which I was ever so scared just to be accepted and validated by them, yet that still never happened. During that time, my conscience was troubling me, because I knew the truth.
In the midst of all my confusion, loneliness, and guilt for my sins, the gospel became real to me. I truly saw myself as a burdened sinner in need of rest. I realized that God was not happy with me and that Christ is the only way to reconciliation with God. I saw myself as filthy and undeserving of His grace. It was at this point that I truly surrendered my life to Christ, trusting Him as my Lord and Savior.
From that day on, the peace of God flooded my soul. I experienced freedom from the bondage of sin. My life’s pursuit changed to loving God with all of my heart, mind, and strength. Since that day in September of 2009, He has been faithful in my life. He has been growing me in loving and knowing Him. Now I am not only secured of going to heaven one day, but I also experience the joy of walking with my Saviour in this life and becoming more and more like Him every day as I prepare to meet Him.