Bulembu Worship Academy News

Here in Bulembu we recently restarted the second ever round of our Worship Academy. We are so thankful that music and worship are things that we can all enjoy during this time when many of us are missing our usual activities, even if we have to be creative to continue with it in new ways!

The heart of the worship academy has been to train our adults and young adults (High school graduates)  who feel inspired to study worship and the use of music in praise and worship.

In our recent relaunch we’ve been offering four instruments- piano with volunteer David Werle, now returned to Germany, bass guitar with one of our senior youth, drums with one of our young adults Mancoba, and acoustic guitar with Dan Smart from UK. 

In February we kicked the season off with a fun taster day for anyone in the community to come and meet the staff, hear about the academy and enjoy snacks,  and also to try out every instrument to see if they’d like to sign up and to choose their instrument. We had an excellent day with lots of new members who were then invited to a braii to celebrate the launch.

Discipleship and fun! 

We consider it really important however that we don’t focus only on instrument training- first and foremost we love to encourage a heart of worship, strong bible foundations and character mentorship as well as building a worship team into a family. It’s so important for a worship team to be united, to listen to each other when playing together in order to work as a team, but also simply to love each other. That’s why it’s so vital to have fellowship time laughing together and- eating cake! 

So each week after Sunday service we would usually meet over refreshments, then have a group bible study and discussion on worship themes such as the use of instruments in the bible or common relational ‘challenges’ among team members! After that we have a group workshop or just a time of praise followed by instrument lessons. Students are then given access to instruments to practice with in the week. 

Worship academy students
Enjoying food together

Do not be Afraid

We have ended up with a fantastic and diverse group of young adults, teachers, church staff, staff youth and children, as well as young music teachers learning to teach for the first time. For our first session we looked at the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20, where it was a dark and terrifying time- sound familiar? The armies were coming in great number to destroy God’s people and a miracle was desperately needed. The story quickly takes an unconventional turn. Unexpectedly, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go on the front line of Gods army and sing ‘Praise the Lord, His mercy endures forever!’ What an unusual choice of war strategy!

The people were told ‘You will not have to fight this battle; take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you..’ (2 Chron 20:17) They sent the praisers on ahead and then their enemies completely destroyed one another, leaving the loot for God’s people to take away in victory! This passage now shows itself as being all the more powerful for this unusual time we are living through together. We are going to find ways to continue worshipping together, standing strong and encouraging each other and fighting our battle in this unique way. Pray for us to be creative in utilising technology to continue mentoring our students. 

There are some fantastic websites and apps where you can study the bible and even teach yourself musical instruments online, so why not search if you have internet access and some time in isolation to learn something new, or sing songs to God if you don’t have equipment. 

Remember the story of Jehoshaphat, when the prophet said, ‘Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ (2 Chronic 20:17)  

And the result was that they obeyed and God saved them all with an absolutely amazing miracle! 

Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld. Have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.’ King Jehoshaphat. (2 Chron 20:20) 


Rachel Smart

Missionary, mummy and mime artist

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