Theo & Bev Wolmarans: Celebrating 30 Years in Ministry
If one looks at the history of Spirit-filled, Charismatic churches in South Africa, Pastor Theo Wolmarans instantly springs to mind as a ‘Father in the Faith’. And supported by his talented, intelligent, warm and spiritually competent wife, Beverley, they make a powerful Christian couple leading the way in our nation and across the globe.
Having been in ministry for 30 years together, and without a hint of scandal or moral failure, JOY! felt it appropriate to interview them on real issues facing the Church of Jesus Christ today – particularly in our land where so often ‘traditional’ churches are seen as ineffective and ‘charismatic’ churches are considered flaky.
It was my privilege to meet with this Godly couple and ask them a few tough questions that I believe South Africa needs answers to. I was so impressed by their spiritual depth and sincerity in the things of God and I know you will be too.
PS THEO WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE IN MINISTRY?
In Matthew 16:18 The Lord Jesus said “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” We as Pastors get into trouble when we try and build the church for Jesus (John 15:5). He said He would build it. As ministers we must learn to depend on Christ the Lord of the Church to build His Church through us.
We are not to depend on our own human effort. “…We put no confidence in human effort…” Phil 3:3. Therefore my greatest challenge in the ministry is to continually listen to God for guidance and rest in His Grace to carry out the instructions I receive. (Heb 12:28 NKJV; Rom 5:17 NKJV). Satan is continually trying to get us to run ahead of the cloud and do things in our own strength which will always fail.
When we begin depending on our own abilities, we end up in stress. While we are depending on God’s power to do it because He’s merciful and loving, we experience joy and fulfillment.
WITH SO MANY LEADERS FALLING, WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU LOOK FOR IN TH PASTORS YOU ORDAIN TO LEAD CHURCHES?
Firstly, I look for integrity and character. Let’s imagine a boat sailing across the lake. The bottom of the boat, the part we sit in, would represent our character. The sail would represent our gifts and talents. The wind blowing on the sail would be the Spirit of God enabling us to do His Will.
If the bottom of the boat we are sitting in, representing our character, was to spring a leak the boat will eventually sink. Therefore it doesn’t matter how many gifts and talents a preacher may have, if he has a character flaw eventually, sooner or later, his ministry will sink.
Secondly, we must establish if the pastor is genuinely called of God and if they depend on Him to do the work through them. If they are not called, they will never succeed.
Time spent in prayer and meditating on God’s Word will give us the answers we need for any question we may have.
WE OFTEN SEE THE BODY OF CHRIST DIVIDED OVER KEY ISSUES LIKE VOTING. WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE CHRISTIANS PLAYING?
We should play an active role in politics and must vote, as this is one of the great privileges of freedom. Voting is also one of the tools used to maintain our freedom. Christians should be free to campaign and run for an office if they sense God’s calling to do so.
However, we have no Biblical precedent to vote into office a politician who intends implementing practices that the Bible condemns. Christians that do this are working against God and opposing Him. The Lord Jesus said “He who is not with Me is against Me.” Matt 12:30.
SHOULD CHURCHES TEACH ON POLITICS AND STATE ISSUES? (Like human trafficking, etc)
Pastors have a responsibility to teach the entire counsel of the Word of God. Some of these subjects would include things like: how to have a close and intimate relationship with God; how to overcome life’s challenges by trusting God; how to recognise God’s voice; how to exercise faith and understanding the difference between law and righteousness. How to pray in the Spirit; the importance of forgiving others; how to pray for the sick, etc. Pastors should also correct, exhort and rebuke when necessary. Pastors have a huge responsibility to train their congregation members so that they will grow spiritually and be able to stand against persecution and stand against the problems of life. As to whether or not Pastors and churches should teach about politics and state issues, I believe Pastors are called to preach the Gospel and not preach politics. However, Pastors are called to inform the people that they need to vote for candidates based on Biblical values. In other words – they should clearly understand what the candidate stands for. They must know his voting record. Christians should know what the politician’s character is.
They should know what he intends to implement if he became a leader. We don’t vote for the person who we think could best manage our finances – we vote for a person who would best represent God and His principles. When God’s blessings lift off a country we will all suffer the consequences.
WHY DO YOU THINK MINISTERS HAVE SUCH DIFFERING OPINIONS ON THE ROLE OF CHRISTIANS WHITHIN SOCIETY (Such as speaking out against blasphemy)?
Unfortunately the Body of Christ is fractured by ministers and Christians with differing opinions on key issues. I believe this is because of a lack of knowledge and understanding of God’s Word (Hosea 4:6).
We Pastors must realise that the Bible is the final authority – our opinion doesn’t matter if it contradicts God’s Word. Our opinion only matters if it supports God’s Word. Scripture says we are to teach the Truth in love. If we teach this way, we will be able to help a lot more people come to the knowledge of the Truth. As important as education is – Godly wisdom is even more important. For example on the issue of speaking out against blasphemy, the Bible is clear: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” Eph 5:11-12
DO YOU THINK THE TEN COMMANDMENTS SHOULD BE PREACHED MORE OFTEN?
Certainly we must obey the Ten Commandments. We may not steal, we may not lie, we may not commit adultery, we may not murder, etc, etc.
However how do we obey these Commandments in our own strength? It’s impossible. We must depend on the power of Christ to live holy lives. We cannot earn right standing from God by obeying all the Commandments – simply because we will never be able to completely obey them no matter how hard we try.
Thank God we are forgiven for our sin and stand before God uncondemned, as if we had never sinned, because we believe in Jesus and He has cleansed us from our sin. ”…the Law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ that we might be justified by faith.” Gal 3:24 (KJV) God gave us the Law so that we could see our imperfection, and our need for a Saviour.
The Law points us to Christ. The Law cannot clean us up – rather it reveals the purity of Christ. Christ is our strength to live holy and He is our strength to fulfil the destiny He has set before us. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13 (NKJ) “For by one offering Jesus Christ perfected forever all those whom He is making holy.” Heb 10:14
Holiness is not simply abstaining from the wrong things, but holiness means being led by the Spirit of God – being available to Him – like a glove in one’s hand is wholly submitted to the hand. We are to be wholly available to the Spirit of God at all times. We are to be a glove on God’s hand.
PS. BEV. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST 30 YEARS IN MINISTRY?
The greatest joy that I have is seeing people’s lives change for the better. I’ve seen stressed out mothers who are having difficulty with their children, hear and apply the Word and see their children restored. When I see fathers come into church with financial burdens, unable to pay their bills, and I see the transformation after they hear and apply God’s Word, and are then able to take care of their family – that is a highlight in my life.
When I see young people come to church trying to find themselves, trying to figure out where they fit into life, fighting peer pressure and then I see them getting to know God, hearing His Word, applying it and become strong in God’s Word – that is a highlight in my life.
When people come off drugs and alcohol and off partying and on to loving God – that is a highlight in my life. When I see couples coming to church with their marriages on the rocks and strife and division in their home, then they apply God’s Word and see their marriages blossom – and I see them as couples in love again – that is a highlight in my life!
A highlight in my life is seeing souls saved and becoming stable in God’s Word, becoming productive in the Kingdom. Not only having their needs met, but reaching out and helping other people as well.
Seeing my own children loving God and serving God is a huge highlight in my life. Sending out missionaries, and sending out our sons and daughters in the Faith to start churches is a huge highlight in my life. I give God all the glory for what He has done in and through all our lives. We are what we are because of the Grace of God!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR PASTORAL COUPLES LEADING CHURCHES IN A WORLD PLAGUED WITH POVERTY, CRIME, CYNICISM AND BROKEN PEOPLE?
Ministry couples need to keep their eyes on Jesus – the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Pastoral couples need to keep their relationship with the Lord fresh by spending time with the Lord in prayer; reading the Word of God and building themselves up spiritually. In a world of poverty, we need to teach our people that God will provide and that He is not poor. (Hag 2:8; Ps 50:10 – NKJV) When it comes to crime, the Church should be modelling the way of living without fear and under God’s protection. But it is only when we as teachers of God’s Word know His Word, that we can lead the way with our congregations. We must encourage them on Scriptures like: “No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.” Ps 91:10
In a world full of broken people – we know that Jesus is the answer to every single need that people have. People matter to God.
Their broken hearts matter to Him. Jesus said that He came to heal the broken hearted – to bind up their wounds and He will do just that.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Luke 4:18
Christian family church has been very involved in uplifting the community and looking after the orphans. how important is it for churches to give back to society?
Paul writes in Galatians 2:10 that the only thing they suggested was that we remember to help the poor, and I have certainly been eager to do that.
I believe that it is our duty and our mandate as Christians not to close our eyes to those who are hurting, who are struggling and who are in poverty. “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing. But a curse will come upon those who close their eyes to poverty.” Prov 28:27
We should become like the Book of Acts church and help the poor. The Bible calls it a joy to help the poor (Ps 41:1) and every church should have a social upliftment programme. Our Women of Worth Ministry empowers and uplifts women and exists for the purpose of helping orphans worldwide, whilst not forgetting to provide for the widows. We are currently in the process of building an Orphanage facility on 100 acres of land on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
FINALLY WHAT PRACTICAL ADVICE DO YOU FOR PASTORS (AND CHRISTIAN COUPLES) TO PROTECT THEIR MARRIAGES?
Ministry couples should rest often. When we as Pastors are rested and full of faith, we can impart to our congregation the Word of God and lead them properly. Pastors make time for your wives, love them, romance them – they need that. Ladies respect your husbands – they love that. Make a date night with each other.
Remember Jesus said, “Narrow is the road that leads to eternal life.” Pastors, we as leaders in the community, need to set an example so that others can look up to us and follow us. As we follow Christ and His standards – God will bless our lives, enrich our marriages and our ministries.