Practical Pointers

Urban ministry in Africa’s richest mile

Our research told us that affluence in the community surrounding the center was high—but so were levels of depression, anxiety, marital problems, and loneliness.

Errol Nembhard, EMBA, elder and cofounder of Metro Mission, Sandton City, South Africa

Sandton City is the most important business and financial district in South Africa and one of the most affluent areas in Johannesburg.1 The area surrounding Sandton City is home to roughly 300,000 residents and 10,000 businesses, including investment banks and financial consultants.2

No Seventh-day Adventist church had ventured into this affluent area until 2015 when eight families set off in faith to plant a life hope center in Africa’s richest square mile. A small group of dedicated believers approached an affluent business park with a bold proposition: to rent 1,000 square meters (about 10,764 square feet) of space. They proposed to use the space for a state-of-the-art conference facility, vegetarian café, naturopathic health center, counseling services, and a boutique-styled worship area, accommodating no more than 300 persons.

God rewarded their faith. Against all odds, the business plan was approved. Within 16 weeks and blessed by a faith-driven investment of $140,000 from two families, the center was renovated, and Metro Mission was born.

Metro Mission is not church as usual. It was established for the benefit of the community. Our research told us that affluence in the community surrounding the center was high—but so were levels of depression, anxiety, marital problems, and loneliness. It is designed to be a center of influence and excellence, presenting the gospel in wholistic, relevant, modern, and contemporary ways to the Sandton area. 

The Metro Locus Conference Centre, located on the Metro Mission facility, is “a world-class events facility, with high standards of service excellence, modern technologies, and impeccable cuisine.”3

Metro Locus is the perfect location for creating opportunities for the church to launch community programs. Currently, the centre runs the following programs:

  • Business women’s prayer circle. Monthly prayer gathering for women from the central business district.
  • “Worth Fighting For.” Monthly marriage seminars.
  • Professional Counseling Services. Daily counseling services at the counseling center.
  • Mustard Seed. Monthly food servicefeeding up to two hundred homeless persons.

The vision is to purchase four other buildings in the business block to create a state-of-the-art Christian school (grades 0–12) and an online university for the community.

Metro is comprised of 95 percent upwardly mobile professional millennials who have a bold vision and are unafraid to take risks. They have taken strong ownership of the mission, vision, and strategy. Since being officially organized in 2017, Metro Mission has won 35 persons to the Lord.

1  Sun International, “The History of Africa’s Richest Square Mile,” Sun International, Oct. 26, 2014, suninternational.com/maslow/stories/travel /masl-the-history-of-africas-richest-square-mile/.

2  “Sandton and Sandton City,” Eyes on Africa, eyesonafrica.net/south-african-safari/sandton.htm.

3  Metro Locus Conference and Events Venue, www.myvenues.co.za/venue-details/Johannesburg/.


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Errol Nembhard, EMBA, elder and cofounder of Metro Mission, Sandton City, South Africa

September 2018

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