Thokozani Sibande is a God-fearing man who is passionate about God and His people. I am married to a beautiful lady by the name of Sharyl (Lerato) Sibande and a teacher by profession. I also hold an honors degree in Theology with the University of Pretoria and Co-Pastoring at United Apostolic Faith Church (UAFC), under the leadership of Pastor SS Molebaloa. I was born and bred in a little town called Springs, situated in the east of Johannesburg. I am 27 years of age and currently staying in Pretoria.
I am very passionate about preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, calling the lost back to the love displayed on the Cross of Calvary. My love for working with the youth made me to pursue a teaching qualification so that I broaden my influence, that I don’t only preach Jesus at Church but also follow a Christ centred education to the young generation. That’s the reason I went for teaching. On social media I go by the name RevEducator because that’s my calling, to preach and to teach.
It is indeed a feeling of tranquility to discover and live your purpose. A handful of us are still in a journey to discover our purposes. How did you find yours and what convinced you it is the one God intended you to do?
I grew up as a church boy,I love everything church. I believe I’ve inherited my Mom’s faith because she is a woman of faith. She took us to church and introduced us to Jesus until the age of 13 where I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
I felt a strong calling upon my life while doing Grade 11 at Tlakula High School. I joined a SCO (Student Church Organization) which was attended in great numbers by both learners and teachers. God used me to preach and pray at the school assembly. The spirit of God was evidently upon me. When I finished high school, overwhelmed by God’s calling upon my life, I went on to study theology at the University of Pretoria.
God continues to establish me as a dynamic leader in the local church and within various institutions of higher learning.
We seldom hear about teaching philosophy. What exactly is a teaching philosophy and what is yours?
One education psychologist defines a teaching philosophy as a self-reflective statement of your beliefs about teaching and learning.
My teaching philosophy is that all children are unique and should have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow holistically, meaning spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. It is my desire to create this type of atmosphere where learners can meet their full potential. I will provide a safe environment where learners are invited to share their ideas and take calculated risks.
What is your classroom management structure especially that pupils comes from different backgrounds with different beliefs?
It is true that our learners come from different backgrounds and hold different worldviews. My focus as a teacher is to facilitate information not to give information because learners of this age have a variety of information just on the tip of their fingers (devices). My purpose is to guide them through the information and help them decipher through information by themselves. I make sure I empower them with critical skills, so to question the information at their disposal. I also emphasize diversity and tolerance since we live in a diverse community.
How do you connect your lessons to the real world without sounding bias about other religions?
That’s one challenging part of my Job. By God’s grace every morning I pray for wisdom to navigate through this life so to shower my learners with wisdom. I really don’t know how I do it but I just do it. One thing I can think of is that I am an open minded person and I think things through before I respond or give a lesson. Primarily I am at work to teach and not to convert but in my teaching I allow Christ to represent opportunities to speak through me.
Do you prefer a Christian Centred School? Why?
[Laughs]… There are really a lot of contentions about Christianity and Schooling or Christianity and Education but we cannot take away that some of the good schools were built by Christian Churches.
In terms of preference, I prefer a Christ Centred Education other than a Christian School. There are Christian schools who don’t value Christian norms and values but you can never go wrong with a Christ Centred Education. Why Christ Centred Education? The beginning of teaching and learning integrally is an encounter with the transforming power and presence of Jesus Himself. Real wisdom and power come only at a price, the blood of Christ.
Which of your ministry gifts have other leaders confirmed? What have they said about your strengths or your potential blind spot?
I believe that elders or those that have gone before us should be able to discern and confirm one’s gift especially in Christendom according to first Timothy 4:14. Apart from preaching, my elders and interestingly peers have acknowledged how good at leading people I am. I have charisma in organizing people and I am also a big team player. In all the structures I have served in I am always a chairperson or deputy chairperson. I am born a leader.
Most pastors speak about being faithful to every aspect of our lives. How do you balance work and ministry?
Mmmh how do I balance work and ministry? Simple put it is not easy because these two require time and attention. But I am learning to schedule myself and to use my time wisely. I see myself as a professional full time and also a pastor full time. I do my lesson plans well in advance and continue to do ministry, because for me ministry and work are one thing.
Speaking about marriage, the scripture Luke 9:61-62 states: 61Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”…How do you devote yourself in ministry without being gnawing compassion of your marriage?
I believe the issue here was not whether one should be family orientated or not but it was about depending on your family more than having dependence on God.
I firmly believe that by being faithful to my marriage glorifies God and it is part of my ministry as a husband. I work on my marriage as a husband. I work on my marriage while dependent on God for it. Marriage is God’s business after all and it should be done according to His statues and principles. So I navigate my marriage life with total dependence on God.
We cannot have it all figured out right? What parts of your current Job and Ministry you think are draining and if not taken care of may results in distracting your personal life?
Even the Bible says “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” We have a slothful generation of learners that as teachers we spoon feed them and it is very tiring to do so. And ministry for me is forever refreshing since it is God working through me and not the other way around. I wish God can use me more and increase me in His work.
What changes might you suggest if you were given a chance to change the bible and why?
I believe the Bible is the infallible word of God. This means that whatever the Bible says and teaches regarding matters of faith and Christian practice is wholly useful and true. I believe what the Bible is completely trustworthy as a guide to salvation and the life of faith and will not fail to accomplish its purpose. As for this reason I wouldn’t add or change anything from the bible.
Being in ministry and working can be challenging sometimes. What constructive criticism have you received in the past that surprised you the most?
We live in a lie that pastors are poor and live next to nothing but the honest truth is that pastors do earn an honest living. As for constructive criticism in juggling both ministry and work is that there is a body of voices that says one cannot be successful in both ministry and career wise. The honest truth is that Paul was a full time minister of the Gospel yet he was in the tent making business (Acts 18:1-4), with this in mind I believe it is challenging task to make a success ministry and career but it is possible.
How do you plan to adapt your ministry to our new normal (Covid-19)?
Covid-19 has changed the way we do life as we know it. As church for us to adapt to our “new normal” we need to make use of technology and take advantage of social media. Facebook is one platform we have taken advantage off in my church since a lot of people make use of Facebook and it is affordable on data. Whatsap is also a platform we use because it is close to personal touch with people. We send encouraging messages and check up our fellow brothers and sisters.
Tell us about a time when you had to get people with different viewpoints to the level of understanding?
Fortunately enough I am one person that deal with everything with kindness. I believe that no one needs to be forced to understand something they don’t want to understand but kindness will lend you an ear even if we differ. When I meet people with different viewpoints I try to get people to listen to understand than to agree with each other. In my line of work learners have a different viewpoints all the time but what works is to guide them to understand where each one is coming from, listening to understand.
What advice would you give to young people who want to juggle both work and ministry?
With the words of major prophet Jeremiah in his lament found in Lamentations 3:27, he says” It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.”
As young as we are, we have the responsibility to live out God’s will through our careers and ministry.
What is your favourite scripture you would love to leave us with?
My favourite scripture is found in Proverbs 4:18, it reads as follows “ But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”
Righteousness means being made right with God and through Jesus Christ we have been made right with God. We are God’s righteousness, if that is true our lives are a continued success.
To get hold on Mr.Sibande you can follow him either on Instagram or Facebook.
Facebook: Thokozane Sibande