Why Life Team? Mpho Ntuli

Thinking about – or know someone who’s thinking about – doing Cornerstone’s Life Team next year? Mpho led the Life Team in 2012 and, in the process, found himself changed as well. Here’s his story.

I had the incredible privilege of leading the team of 2012. To be honest, I had so many expectations, some of which were superficial, but I decided I was gonna walk into this having told God what it was I was looking for. God is so faithful to honour our dreams and desires and it was only months into the next year that I saw God’s faithfulness in my expectations.

God chipped off quite a few things that had crept into my character that he wasn’t pleased about and as much as it hurt when it was happening, the fruit of it that I’m living in now is incredible.

God taught me how to operate in team. It took a long time and I was sure at one point that I was never going to get this right. Today I’m part of an awesome team of youth leaders and I’m able to be as effective as I believe God’s called me to for now because of the road I had walked on with Life Team.

It was only after he had dealt with stuff that was on His heart that God began to attend to the desires of my heart, and like I’ve said already, the fruit of this has been incredible.

So if you’re keen to join Life Team, perhaps let me encourage you this way:

1. Allow yourself to be mentored (there is huge anointing and power in accountability).
2. Don’t distance yourself from God just because you spend all your time surrounded by other Christians.
3. Open your heart to connecting, ministering and being ministered to by the team.
4. Figure out what areas of ministry/spiritual gifts you’re passionate about and called to and then actively pursue these.
5. Don’t throw in the towel when the going gets tough. As much as it hurts, its all part of God’s plan!

Why Life Team? Shannon Strydom

Shannon (left) with Faye Mc Clean, who also did Life Team in 2004.

Thinking about – or know someone who’s thinking about – doing Cornerstone’s Life Team next year? Shannon Strydom was part of the Life Team in 2004. She was 22 at the time and had just completed her studies and year of community service as an occupational therapist. Here’s what Life Team was like for her.

I found Life Team to be an incredible experience involving lots of hard work, many challenges, tons of fun, awesome team mates – some of whom remain my closest friends – and times in God’s presence that were so life-changing that I remember them with clarity, even nearly 10 years later.

I’d like to highlight one aspect that was definitive for our year: the trips that we went on as a team. We went on more than 11 ministry trips and each provided unique opportunities to learn, grow and give. These trips included outreaches to Mpumalanga, Viljoenskroon in the Free State, Mafikeng and Mooi River; accompanying Marcus as he ministered in Port Elizabeth; braaing more than 2000 chicken wings for the celebration of a church transition in Venda; hanging out with another team in Cape Town; ministering to the church in East London; team building in Ramsgate; assisting at the Junior Youth Camp; serving at the Bloem LTT (now Equip) and the Lesotho LTT; and serving for a month in Malawi. Throughout the year, an understanding and appreciation of the apostolic heart of the Gospel was birthed in my heart.

Looking back over nine and a half years, it’s easier to pick out the milestones that shape your life, and I can say that 2004 was definitely one of those.

How you choose to respond to the opportunities and lessons that the experience of Life Team brings is up to you.

Why Life Team? Tebz Ntuli

Thinking about – or know someone who’s thinking about – doing Cornerstone’s Life Team next year? Tebz Ntuli was part of the Life Team in 2009. Here’s what it was like for him.

I just about grew up in the Church and Life Team seemed like one of those things you did if you didn’t really know what to do the next year after grade 12, or because that’s what most people did after school. Needless to say that view completely changed and I can confidently say my life and future also changed.

Some of the stuff I absolutely loved was just how much God used me as young guy to do the most craziest things like praying for the sick. And they actually got healed! People’s legs got sorted, blind people started seeing, bone diseases literally disappeared just by us praying! And simple things like coughs and stuff was also gone instantly!

God has called all His people to operate, not just the older folks, and that is what we got to do, from going on trips around South Africa and internationally, getting opportunities to preach and serve other churches.

Most people would probably see Life Team as a year event and life goes on after that, but I must say I learned so many practical things that I use in my everyday life, like the heart of serving, dealing with people that sometimes you would rather not deal with, working in a team and serving under a leader.

I’ve seen so many guys do Life Team over the years after I did and there is always a difference in every single person from the beginning of the year to the end. Guys become in love with God, become involved in the church life, their attitudes towards life are completely different because of what God’s done in them.

I don’t know if “recommend” would be the word I would use for guys to do Life Team because it would come across as a 50/50 attitude towards it. I would totally do it all again because of how much my life has been impacted by giving a year of my life to God through Life Team!

What Life Team is Like: Nicola Pilkington

Thinking about – or know someone who’s thinking about – doing Cornerstone’s Life Team next year? Nicola Pilkington was part of the Life Team in 2009. Here’s what it was like for her.

I joined Life Team on a whim, completely unsure how fundamentally God would change my life. The only thing that I had planned on was being open to what God had for me.

I learned what it means to be a part of the body of Christ; to be involved and make a contribution that is valuable. Not to simply go to church and expect to receive. For it is in my contribution that I often learn and receive the most.

On that same note, we travelled a lot (a definite highlight), we got to see churches that have much and churches that have very little –  the common thread being their indubitable love for Jesus.

I learned how to relate to people of different backgrounds and to be as much of a blessing as I can be. I got opportunities to lead worship and to preach. I got to see what I was good at and was not.

Cornerstone is such a safe environment that allows for mistakes to be made and to be lovingly put on the right track. God used so many people to teach me and to impart foundations in my mind and spirit that will never leave me. On my team and amongst the church I made friends that taught me what being friends actually meant.  Our hearts were knitted and we loved each other in a way that I had never experienced before.

Ultimately Life Team taught me how to serve. Service has such a negative connotation but it is out of that place that one is able to lead. We have a saying amongst all the Life Teamers: “Once a Life Teamer, always a Life Teamer.” Essentially we are saying that we will never forget how to serve. From setting up every Wednesday for prayer meeting, to waking up at 4am to set up for the Breakfast Exchange, to cleaning toilets in the heart of Tanzania and planting grass in Viljoenskroen… Oh and we painted! Everywhere we went we painted! It sounds crazy but we learned to love serving because we learned to see the purpose behind it.

At the end of the day, we saw a man get out of a wheel chair, we (awkwardly) led people to Jesus for the first time, we saw lives being surrendered to Jesus and we learned how radical is this God that we serve!

What Life Team is Like: Brett & Robyn Riskowitz

Thinking about – or know someone who’s thinking about – doing Cornerstone’s Life Team next year? Brett & Robyn Riskowitz led the Life Team in 2010. Here’s what it was like for them.

“Life Team was a year of dynamic spiritual growth for my us. Although it was physically and emotionally challenging at times, what we experienced surpassed any difficultly we endured. From seeing people set free from the demonic, to being healed, to people giving their lives to Jesus, it was certainly a year of God’s glorious power working in and through us.

“For anyone who is keen to develop their calling in God and experience the love of a spiritual family (the rest of the team), Life Team is most definitely the thing to do.”


What Life Team is Like: Gareth van der Merwe

Thinking about – or know someone who’s thinking about – doing Cornerstone’s Life Team next year? Gareth van der Merwe was a part of the Life Team in 2009. Here’s something of what he experienced.

“For me, Life team was such a change in life style. Throughout my high school career I was unsure of what I wanted to do after school. My parents decided that studying was best for me, so I tried that for two years and dropped out due to a lack of motivation. Then I worked in a bar for two years and also grew out of that.

“I had only been saved for two months before I decided to take what I thought would be a “gap year”. Man was I wrong! Life Team allowed for no lazying around at all! Although I was one of the oldest in the team, God matured me in so many ways.

“Life team for me was a testing time mentally, physically and especially spiritually. It was one of the most significant years in my life and I loved it even though, at times, it was hard. I would recommend it to anyone that’s able to do it!”

Find out more about Life Team here.