Dr Jimmy Crompton, a well-respected spiritual father of Port Elizabeth and senior pastor of the Word of Faith Christian Centre, celebrates his 50th year in ministry this week.
And excitement is running high at Word of Faith and its 19 branch churches in Nelson Mandela Bay which are preparing to honour their founder and leader with a memorable golden anniversary weekend.
The 50th anniversary celebration, which will welcome both national and international guests, will be at Word of Faith Christian Centre on William Moffett Expressway, on Sunday February 5 during the church’s 9am and 6pm services.
‘God has been good…’
When asked about celebrating this milestone in ministry, the gravelly-voiced preacher known for his biblical forthrightness said: “God has been so good to me, and so faithful throughout the years.
“He has allowed me to go through trials, but has strengthened my faith and lifted me through every instance.
“Mariana [his wife] and I have seen tremendous blessing in our lives. I was arrested on my 41st birthday on false claims, and the devil used this time to break me down, but God lifted me out of this and allowed me the rest, so that I may honour and glorify Him in all that I do.”
Born on May 21 1943, Crompton grew up in Cape Town in his parents’ missionary home during the 2nd World War.
In 1967 he took over from his father, Basil Crompton, as the senior pastor at Bethel Church in Cape Town.
Three years later, in 1970, Crompton met his now wife, Mariana, and fell in love. A few days after the couple started courting, he proposed, and they were married the same year.
In 1972, Mariana gave birth to their son, Richard.
The couple moved to Port Elizabeth in the late 1970’s when Crompton became the Senior Pastor of a Newton Park congregation. He and his congregation were ejected from their building in 1983 when their denomination started a court case against them.
The case was rooted in a deep divide. Crompton opposed the denomination’s strict legalistic values — such as prohibiting women from wearing makeup, and requiring them to wear hats during services — and their opposition to opening the church to all races.
In a turn of events, Crompton and his congregation were able to build a new church and pay for the building within a year, in addition to paying for his and the denomination’s court costs.
Years later, Word of Faith Christian Centre would buy the building they had been kicked out of and use it as a youth centre.
The church, which Crompton started in 1984, became one of the first in South Africa to open its doors to multiracial groups, defying the laws of apartheid – a choice which resulted in police shutting down their outreaches on multiple occasions.
Nevertheless, Word of Faith continued to grow and has since established 19 branch churches, Noah’s Ark Preschool, Willow Academy Christian School and a non-profit organisation, Project Hope.
In 2011, the ministry received a prophetic word from the late prophet and worship singer, Kim Clement, saying: “You are going to be an example to the nation by something unusual that is going to happen. And there will be an amalgamation of political powers and spiritual powers that will cause such a move of the Spirit, because gatekeepers will be as one, watchmen on the wall will be united…”
Crompton’s life story and testimony have been published in a book titled My only fight with the devil and is available for purchase through Word of Faith Christian Centre. An interesting snippet from his heritage is that his father — then a young pastor — accompanied healing evangelist Smith Wigglesworth during his visit to South Africa in 1937 and it was this assignment that led to his parents meeting each other for the first time. For more information about the 50th celebration services, celebratory dinner and newly released book, contact the church on 041 3994400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.