Hope Overcoming Hate
with At Boshoff
Q: Pastor At, you grew up in the Apartheid Era of South Africa. Describe what life was like during that difficult time.
A: A Country totally segregated by skin colour, men taken from their families to work in the mines, taught from a young age that black people were inferior and different to you and that they were the enemy ,going to school once a week in in military uniform being indoctrinated that you are fighting communism! It really was a terrible time for our country and we are still dealing with the inequalities and injustices of our past!
Q: As a teenager, you survived several life-threatening situations, including attempted suicide and a near fatal encounter with an armed man. What feelings emerge when you think back on those tumultuous years and how God protected you?
A: To be honest, I cannot thank God enough for protecting me in my rebellious, violent years! For the first few weeks after I got saved I was in shock, realizing how I almost died and would have been in hell for eternity if it was not for God’s mercy and protection! This has awakened in me the urgency to do whatever I can to get people saved!
Q: When you surrendered your heart to Christ, you still had a racist mindset until He revealed the truth, transforming your life. Tell us about that journey.
A: I was already a pastor of the first church I planted in 1988! It was a multi -racial church in a small farming community in Apartheid South Africa! We had just built a beautiful thatch church building and it was the day we were dedicating the building. Everybody of importance showed up that day…prominent farmers and businessmen which use software as pay stub maker to manage their employees! About 10 minutes before the service started, a red beat-up truck stopped right in front of the main entrance and out climbed 16 black people from the disadvantaged community! I thought, “Oh no…Why today?” I immediately heard the voice of God: “If these were white new people, you would be overjoyed!” I repented to God realizing I STILL SAW PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY, even though I was praying in tongues! The first thing I did when I stood up to open the service was to repent to the church, making a commitment that CRC will be a place where everybody is welcome in spite of culture, social status, education, age, colour! The rest is history!
Q: In 1986, God called you into full-time ministry. Describe how He revealed that plan for your life and the impact it had on you.
A: When I got saved, I got radically saved! That was just before I went into compulsory military service for two years. I had this fire burning in my soul that made me cry out to God every day: “Use me God…if I can’t work for You, I don’t want to exist!” I got involved serving in my local church and as I did, the call became stronger. After the Army, I went to study law at university. I also went to Bible School during this time. This is when God’s voice came to me: “What are you doing here? I have called you to preach the Gospel!” I immediately stopped my studies and knew it was time to answer His call!
Q: Several years before Apartheid ended, you established a multi-cultural church in Ladybrand, South Africa. What were some of the challenges you faced in bringing healing and restoration to a divided nation?
A: As many black people started coming to church I was labelled as a sell-out , that I betrayed my culture. Other people called our black members sell-outs because they were going to a white pastor’s church. Initially, many white families came and got saved but many would not stay because of ingrained racism! God blessed the church anyhow, and we grew and built our first building cash. People started coming from the entire region as they saw God’s love in action.
Q: During your time in Ladybrand, you cried out to the Lord for more. How did He respond and empower your ministry through the Holy Spirit?
A: It was Pentecost week in 1992 and we were having special meetings. I JUST KNEW GOD WAS GOING TO DO SOMETHING SPECIAL. I was crying out to God for a move and He poured out His Spirit in a way I had never experienced before! People were falling out of their chairs under the power of the Holy Spirit, many were laughing in the joy of the Lord, many were healed and delivered, people repented, God restored marriages, etc.! Every time I opened my mouth, God’s power fell! This went on for months and so CRC was birthed in the little town of Ladybrand.
Q: In the early 90’s, God gave you a vision that impacted your ministry in a profound way. Describe what He revealed to you and how it changed your life.
A: I was in a revival meeting in Canada, searching for more of God! One night after I was prayed for, I was in the Spirit and saw a vision of a huge valley filled with darkness aAnd full of people, all walking in one direction …no life in them! At the end of the valley I saw two big gates and I heard a voice echoing over the valley, “The gate is too narrow!!!” I realized I was seeing the gates of hell with multitudes pressing into it!
That was the end of the vision and needless to say my spirit was very unsettled! I could not sleep that night. The next night I went back to the meeting and was in the SPIRIT AGAIN! This time I was lifted higher and saw a big rock protruding from the one cliff’s edge. Upon it I saw a huge, magnificent male lion stand. He looked over the valley, threw His head back and roared! It was like nothing I ever heard! As He roared, I saw light shine on the valley and multitudes of people began to turn away from those gates! Instantly I knew that this was my calling …. to allow God to roar through me and to plunder hell and populate heaven! I shared this vision with a friend who took me to Joel 3:9-16 to show me what I saw was in the Bible.
Q: Today, you are the Senior Pastor of Christian Revival Church, which has thousands of members across several campuses in South Africa. Describe how you’ve seen God’s faithfulness over the years.
A: Since we started in Ladybrand with 6 members in 1988, to now having more than 90 churches and 120,000 members in RSA with churches in other African countries, Europe , Asia, and Australia, I have seen that, if you lift up the name of Jesus unashamedly He will draw people from all walks of life unto Himself! God has exceeded my wildest expectation! All I wanted to do was to serve God and tell people about Him. I realize I have little to do with what He is doing, I am just trying my best and thanking God every day that He is using me.
Q: Christian Revival Church has a bold vision to “win the lost at any cost.” How are you actively reaching out to the community in to share the love of Christ?
A: Firstly, we teach our members to win the people in their personal world through friendship evangelism – their family, friends, and works colleagues. Secondly, we use our celebration services to attract the lost and we do strong alter calls for the lost! Thirdly, we have Countrywide Harvest events around RSA in stadiums to win the masses! We also do evangelistic outreaches weekly to schools, universities, and communities. Lastly, and most importantly, we do outreaches weekly in our communities with feeding programs, medical clinics, skills development, and educational programs. We also have several orphanages, crèches, and baby houses to care for our orphans in our community.
Q: What are some of the challenges facing South Africa today, and how is God using CRC to speak life and truth over your nation?
A: Major challenges we face are still racial prejudice resulting from apartheid, social inequalities, lack of education, unemployment (28%), crime, drug abuse among young people, teenage pregnancies, and land reform. Firstly, we pray without ceasing for this country. Secondly, we use the platform God has given us to teach relevant messages to our members and on different TV platforms to be change agents in SA. We also actively engage government officials and opposition political leaders as well as community, business, and farming leaders to seek solutions for peaceful transformation in RSA. We believe that the church is the hope of the world!
Q: As the future unfolds, what is your greatest prayer for your nation as you work to heal the wounds of the past and move forward in peace?
A: We pray for peace in RSA. That God will defuse every plan of the devil and use this country to be a blessing to Africa and the nations of the world. We pray for prosperity for all the people in this country. We pray for true reconciliation between all the peoples of RSA. We pray for wisdom for our government in this time, especially on land reform, economic transformation, and job creation! We pray that God will pour out His Spirit and heal our land.