So, Gareth, was moving to Germany from South Africa just an idea that you and your wife Taryn had one day?
What gave you the idea to plant a church in Germany?
You have said that you and Taryn kept getting confirmations from God that Germany was the place He was sending you. Could you explain that?
Psalm 25:12 says, ‚Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose.’ When we seek God’s will for our lives, He is faithful to communicate His will to us in many different ways.
In our case, we were already sensing a call to Germany when God sent several people over a period of about 6 years to confirm what he was saying to us through prophecy (when a person hears what God has to say to a specific person or church and communicates it to that person or church).
In 1998, I read a prophecy from a well-known prophet, Jim Laffoon, that he had declared over His People Ministries in Cape Town. The prophecy stated: “There is a call on His People to reform the reformation countries“ and it went on to say, „for I am calling you . . . even to areas of the world where many have said, ‘we have worked all night and caught nothing; we have worked year after year after year and there has been no harvest’ . . . ‚for I WILL BURN LIKE A FLAME IN GERMANY…’
Then in 2002, we received a direct prophecy from a visiting prophetess, Val McLelland that said, “Son at the right time and in the right season I’m going to open up Europe to you … WITHIN SIX YEARS, I AM GOING TO RELEASE YOU, TO PLANT, ANOTHER CHURCH AT THE RIGHT TIME … I am going to use you very powerfully with the GERMAN CULTURE. “
That sounds really powerful. Was there a time that God spoke directly to you about moving to Germany that stands out more than any other?
Yes. The day after I received Val McLelland’s prophecy, I was praying for Germany when my eye fell on a TIME magazine that I had just gotten in the mail. The cover read, ‘Germany’s School Massacre.’
Feeling like I should read it, I turned to the front page of the article written about a student in Erfurt, Germany who had gone on a shooting rampage in his high school. The first thing that struck me was a picture of a large banner that had been hung outside a top floor window at the school with the word ‚Hilfe’ (Help) written on it in large block letters.
As I saw it, I felt as if the youth of Germany were sending out a call for help, and that God was prompting me to answer that call. It was then that I knew for sure that we were supposed to move to Germany.
Did you ever visit Germany before you moved here?
Yes, I took two short trips in 2004 and 2006. During my 2006 trip to Berlin, I happened to arrive at the same time as a huge prayer and worship event “Calling All Nations,” was taking place at the Olympic Stadium. I spontaneously decided to participate and something interesting happened while I was there.
Noel Richards, the event’s organizer, told the story of how Adolf Hitler had a massive bronze bell made for the 1936 Olympic Games that were hosted in Berlin. On it he had engraved, ‘I summon the youth of the world’ next to a Nazi swastika. During a bombing raid in WWII, this bell fell and cracked right through the swastika. It was then later moved to sit in front of the Olympic Stadium.
Right after the event ended, I decided that I would try to connect with a friend I had met on my previous trip in 2004. We had not been in contact since then, however, so I knew that if he were at the event, it was still unlikely that we would see each other amidst the other 20 000 people in attendance.
We did end up finding each other almost immediately, however – right next to the bell summoning the youth of the world!
What made you and Taryn decide to move to the city of Berlin?
At first, we were trying to decide between Munich and Berlin. After much prayer, however, we felt like Berlin was the most strategic choice for some very practical reasons. Berlin is more open spiritually, has greater national and international influence, is more open to non-Germans, and is cheaper to live in. In addition to that, we already had contacts in Berlin. And all of our advisors were counselling in favour of Berlin.
Beyond that, Taryn felt prophetically that Berlin was right. And, while I was praying about which city to move to at one point, two girls with German ancestry approached me with an impression that they had from God. One of them said, “I keep getting Berlin.”
So when did you actually move to Berlin?
True to the prophecy from Val McLelland, within six years our family arrived in Berlin on December 12, 2007.
Before that, we had spent much time preparing for the transition. I handed over the leadership of His People Grahamstown. We built a team of young people who all felt called to join us on our adventure to Germany. And we were ready to go!
So, on a cold winter morning, right before Christmas, God’s call on our lives went from being a dream to coming true. My pregnant wife, son Joseph, daughter Jenna, and I arrived to start our new lives in Berlin.
Soon after that, the rest of our 15 member team began to arrive as jobs and visas became available. And we were able to begin the processing of planting a church here in the city.
Our church slogan:
Encounter God – Connect with people – Impact the city
Our mission statement:
Making Jesus famous by encountering God, connecting in community, reconciling friends to the Father, being transformed, serving the city, and multiplying new churches.
We have a discipleship wheel which we encourage everyone to experience:
Encounter – experience God and develop a relationship with Him
Connect – do everything as a loving community of friends
Reconcile – introduce Jesus to your friends and family
Transform – be changed from the inside out into a better person
Serve – make the world a better place for everyone
Multiply – start new churches to bring God closer to where people live
Statement of Faith.
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
who was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into Hell.
and on the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into Heaven
and sits at the right hand of the Father.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen
Statement of Faith
We believe that:
- The Scriptures are fully inspired by God and we accept them as the supreme and final authority.
- Through Scripture God has revealed Himself, His character and His will.
- God is sovereign, externally existing in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Human beings, though originally created in the image of God, are fallen creatures, sinful, guilty and lost without Christ.
- Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and is true God and true man.
- Jesus Christ, as God incarnate, is unique and sinless.
- Jesus Christ became sin for us on the cross of Calvary, was judged by God and died in our place.
- Jesus Christ rose in bodily form, ascended into Heaven and His present ministry is as High Priest and our Advocate with the Father.
- The Jesus of history and the Christ of Glory is the same person.
- Because of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God freely forgives those who are brought to repentance and faith in His Son.
- All who are justified by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ are born again of the Spirit of God and thereby become children of God.
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers and equips believers for service.
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit are for all believers.
- The apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are God-given ministries.
- Both believers and unbelievers will be resurrected, the redeemed to eternal blessedness but those who have rejected God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ will be eternally damned.
- The one true and universal Church is made up of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The local church should be an expression of this. Thus the new birth and personal confession of faith in Christ are essentials for church membership.
- Jesus Christ appointed the two sacraments of baptism in water and the Lord’s supper to be observed as acts of obedience and a perpetual witness of Christian faith. The former as a confession of and identification with Christ in His burial, death and resurrection. The latter symbolizing the broken body and shed blood of Christ, in remembrance of His sacrificial death, until He comes. We believe water baptism is by immersion and only for believers who have repented of sin and confessed Christ as Lord.
- The Lord Jesus Christ will personally and visibly return in power and glory to judge the living and the dead.