My Story

My story begins as a young boy growing up in a family dedicated to ministry. There is much I can say about my parents’ and siblings’ walk with God. The countless testimonies and stories of God showing up are scattered all over their lives and it shaped my own in many ways. But by no means was it easy all the time. Only through faith, perseverance, bust mostly His grace are we able to tell the stories of His work in our lives, regardless of the circumstantial views of the natural world and people around us.

I was raised in an environment of ministry and a life of faith which I am thankful for to this day, because it built the foundations in me to be able to do what I’ve been called to do. Growing up in a house where your parents are in ministry and being exposed to all kinds of Christian environments like many different denominational churches, camps, conferences and many other ministries, leaves a lasting impression.

That is where the catch comes in. The ministry world is not always as perfect as we might want it to be, because human beings are flawed and make mistakes out of greed, pride,
insecurity and brokenness. This causes widespread pain amongst each other. That’s why we were never meant to look at people and place them on pedestals, but to look at God as He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I was an insecure young boy who did not understand these things. Although I had a deep love for God which developed during a series of encounters with Him throughout my childhood and teenage years, I had a deep resentment against all things connected to ministry – I was looking at the man instead of looking at God. 

Growing up with many prophetic words spoken over my life from different great men and women of God that I believe were words from the Lord, was the “tag” people put on me and the expectancy was to go into ministry.

Now imagine a boy with severe insecurity issues, with massive expectancy on his life for great things and then imagine what that does to him when he witnessed the greed and pain men inflicted upon each other in the ministry world. Imagine what that does to a person and what the results that come from that.

Don’t get me wrong, I had many amazing people in my life that where great mentors and leaders to follow, but even the greatest of men make mistakes at times and sometimes big ones. My reaction was to choose that I would turn away from ministry and find a different path for my life and make my own way.

I was going to become a successful man in either one of different things. I looked into politics, business, sport, wildlife conservation and the professional hunting industry. Guess what the result was after trying to making them happen?  The result was disappointment and it fed into the battle with insecurity. Little did I know God was putting the puzzle pieces
of my life together without me noticing.

Growing up in an environment where the expectancy was perceived to be for you to simply be mature, get over it and be perfect, because how can a boy who grew up in such an amazing environment not be all those things, right? At least those were my thoughts at the time. I was making bad, unhealthy choices and getting into unhealthy situations and relationships and most off all, I became what can best be described as a person with no goal and no motivation. I became numb and detached from life – this was my way of coping with the things going on inside of me. Never did this deep sense of calling to God’s work leave my being, it was always there, lingering in the background. But I distracted myself and numbed
all the voices inside with the cheap and superficial things of this world.   

But then God stepped in and everything changed! Little did I know that God would meet me on an unexpected day in an unexpected way.

I was going to a camp that was arranged by my family’s ministry. This was nothing new to me, since I’ve been to many before, always hopeful for God to do something for people but never expecting Him to grab me the way He did. I went because I was told to and not because I wanted to. I laugh at myself thinking back now – I was not ready for what was coming.

In one service when a friend of our family was preaching and sharing her testimony that was completely unrelatable to my life and had absolutely nothing to do with what God wanted to do with me, God showed up and the 1 st  thing I remember was the thickest and most tangible presence I have ever felt. I knew His presence because my issue was never with God but
with myself and with people, but this time it was different.

Next, I remember God taking me into what can only be described as a vision. An Image of Jesus hanging on the cross with a large crowd gathered around Him. Then I saw, as clear as day, Jesus’ Spirit (Holy Spirit) pointing His finger at the people in the crowd saying “I’m doing this for you!”

He then pointed to me and said “I am doing this for you Johan”. The intense Love I felt was not the cheesy shallow love of man, but the Love of God that broke down every wall I had built up inside me and nothing in me could resist what I was
experiencing. I cried like a baby and that day God opened my eyes to the realization of why I am called for ministry.

It’s not to impress people, not to please the world, not for money or fame but for one reason alone and that’s to tell the world about the God who chose to come as a man to pay the most expensive price in history so that we might know Him!

After that, suddenly I felt the need to study theology – which I never had before by the way – and ministry opportunities started popping up. God started dealing with my insecurity and boldness starting growing in me.

Today, through another sequence of God moments, I am standing as the Leader of Christ Mission Life. I can say this boldly without greed or pride, because I know that it was God that put me in this position and not myself. The amazing people involved were God’s vessels He used to get us to this point.

There is still much for all of us to learn and grow in and my journey has a long way to go, but
that excites me as we put our lives in God’s hands, letting Him lead and teach us His ways as
we go along.

Johan Barnard