I was born on 16 September 1977 in Cape Town as the third of four children. Being born in to a German-speaking South African family, I grew up trilingually (German, English, Afrikaans). As a family, we were very involved in the St. Martini congregation (Cape Church). Because of this, I was able to experience congregational life from a young age. Particularly the Children's Church and the "Jungschar" (Kids Club) played a significant positive role in my childhood.
While the foundations for my faith were certainly laid in these early years, it was only in High School that I made a conscious decision to respond to God's free gift of salvation. Some of my school friends were very active in the school's "Christian Union" group. As I became more involved there, I started to realise that faith in Jesus Christ is not only something for "church time", but that it should pervade every aspect of my life. I
wanted others to experience this faith too, so I became involved as a young co-worker at St. Martini, mainly in the kids club and the worship team. After school I took on more responsibility as the designated volunteer leader for these two ministries. During this time I discovered the value of adventure camping for the faith development of children and teenagers, and started incorporating this into the church programme. Over time we developed a strong team for this work in St. Martini. The "Jungscharzeltlager" (Kids Camp) still takes place many years after I have left the congregation. Adventure
ministry is also still one of my big passions to this day.
During this time I studied electrical engineering at the Cape Technikon. While I enjoyed my studies I realised that I would not be able to do this for the rest of my life. At the end of my studies, I realised I needed to reconsider my career and my calling. In order to gain some clarity about this, and to broaden my horizons, I decided to do a "Gap Year" with a Christian youth organisation "Jugend für Christus" (Youth for Christ) in Germany.
During that year it became clear to me that God was busy preparing me for "full-time" ministry. I enrolled for a theological degree with a specific focus on youth ministry. I studied at Cornerstone Christian College(now known as Cornerstone Institute) in Cape Town, affiliated to the Stellenbosch Theological Faculty. The studies were made
possible with the help of a bursary from the St. Martini congregation. The bursary also involved a part-time ministry position at the congregation. The combination of theoretical studies and practical experience proved to be a valuable experience.
After graduating, I became involved in adventure camping ministy full-time for almost two years. While this was a very fulfilling experience, it proved to be financially unsustainable without the backing of a larger organisation.
While praying for God's guidance about my future, I heard of a full-time youth ministry position at the North Rand Congregation of the ELCSA (N-T), where I then started in September 2007. Again adventure camps played a significant role in my ministry, as well as contemporary worship music and youth services. During my time at North Rand I continued my studies on a post-graduate level through Stellenbosch University, graduating in April 2013.
While at North Rand, I met my wife, Christine, and we got married in 2009. We have been blessed with three children: Mia (almost 5), Micha (3) and Hannah (14 months). As a family we enjoy time together in nature and spending time with other families. Christine is a nursing sister, and she intends to return to full-time work in her field once we have settled in New Germany. She will become involved in congregational life according to her gifts, but with due consideration to the limited time that remains after work and raising three young children.
During my years in youth ministry, several pastors of our church have encouraged me to consider whether I am called for the ordained ministry. During my time in youth ministry I have had several opportunities to perform certain duties which are usually the pastor's responsibility, such as preaching, holding services, and counselling. More and more I started seeing myself in that role at some point in the future. With this in mind, I approached church council to discuss what steps I needed to take.
They responded positively, with the result that I was able to commence with preparations towards my first theological examination from January to August 2015. From September 2015 until now I have been doing my Vikariat (Pastoral Internship) in Dessau, Germany. Here I was able to experience church in a very different context, where only 13% of the population are affiliated to any church at all. The majority of the population can be described as: "They have forgotten that they have forgotten about God". The church in this part of Germany is faced with the challenge of waning influence and shrinking numbers. Being part of the conversation about how to reverse this trend has been very interesting and challenging for me. Currently there is a lot of "thinking outside the box" happening in the church here. Not all of it is immediately applicable to the South African context, but many of the thought processes have helped me to view our challenges in South Africa in a different light. A particular highlight of my time in Germany, has been the monthly seminary weeks at the Seminary in Wittenberg. So shortly before the big Reformation celebrations are about to take place, it has been a special privilege to be so "close to the action".
We will be returning to South Africa on 28 April 2017. Once back in South Africa, preparations for the second theological examination will start in earnest. During this time we will be staying with family in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The exams are scheduled for the end of August 2017. Your prayers for this important milestone will be greatly appreciated.
My family and I are looking forward to meet the congregation. I trust that God has been guiding the decision-making process so far, and that He may continue to do so. I intend
to serve your congregation to the best of my ability, and I trust that our journey together may be blessed and to the glory of God.
May God bless you.