An authentic African worship experience is starting to spread across SA — First Friday

First Friday worship (PHOTO: File picture)

Neziswa Kanju joined a First Friday worship gathering in Johannesburg last week. This is her report.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. – Psalm 133:1

It is indeed beautiful to see the body of Christ come together. It is even more special when God’s children come together to worship, not divided by differing theology, dogma or beliefs but together because of their shared love, their love for Jesus. This is what I witnessed on Friday night at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) at a First Friday worship session (FF) organised by We Will Worship (WWW) and hosted by Every Nation Wits Campus.

FF is an extension of the WWW movement founded by Langa Mbonambi. WWW is a group of friends brought together by their love for God and their shared love of making music. 

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The concept of We Will Worship started in 2006 when Mbonambi was in his final year of B.Com Marketing at the University of Joburg. He says: “That time in the church we were in — it was quite a multicultural church — we sang a lot of songs from the US. When we came to South African music we would sing a lot of old-school songs. 

“We just weren’t finding anything out there representing us as young people from the campus. So we thought: ‘Why not write songs and see what God does with that?’ 

“All these other songs we were singing were stories about what God is doing in that particular location [the US] — So let’s write about what God is doing here. I got guys from Wits and UJ [University of Johannesburg] together, and we started this event called We Will Worship, doing our new songs. It was well received, but two months later people had forgotten the songs!

“We thought that actually what we need to do is record what we do so people can walk away with the experience. It took me three years to find funders for the recording of the first album in 2011.” 

Langa says: “In our culture there is always some sort of barrier for people gathering to worship Jesus. Whether it’s a financial barrier or it’s a church or denomination, we wanted to create a space where people could just come from many parts of the city and try and remove as many barriers as possible and allow people to gather together to worship God. 

“We created this space for people from all walks of faith to gather together to worship Jesus. It was a ministry that was birthed from what we were doing as We Will Worship. We say we are not a band but a movement. First Friday is an expression of who we are as a movement.”

Langa Mbonambi

The slogan for First Fridays (FF) is communion in community. Believers come to First Fridays to commune with God. It is about people having an intimate encounter with the Lord. It is not time for preaching. It is not a church service, it is a time for people to commune with God together and worship Him together. On the first Friday of every month, We Will Worship hosts, with the help of some great local churches, a gathering, simply for the purpose of worshiping Jesus. No flashing lights or hype, just people pursuing Jesus together in authentic worship. 

The heart of FF is that it is not just We Will Worship that leads. FF provides a platform for various worship leaders from across the cities to become part of the FF worship sessions. At the Johannesburg session I attended last week the worship wad led by a combined team drawn from WWW, worship leaders from Every Nation WITS Campus and Liberty Church in Randburg. It is the same in Cape Town, Mbonambi says. The vision for FF is to start a FF in a different city every year. The long term goal is to have FF running in at least five different cities in Southern Africa simultaneously.

Some of the FF worship sessions will happen at universities. Universities have a special place in the hearts of WWW as their ministry was birthed on a campus. Mbonambi reflects, “We wouldn’t have the momentum and growth and influence that we have today if it had not started on a university campus.”

The dream began with a band, the band became a ministry that has now reached into more than 120 nations. Now the ministry is becoming what We Will Worship has always been called to be — a movement. A movement that sparks fires of authentic African worship expression across the continent, where communities release their worship in their unique way to God. 

Go to www.wewillworship.co.za for more information.

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One Comment

  1. This is such good news! God loves to inhabit the praises of his people!