More than 100,000 Christians from South Africa and beyond gathered in Johannesburg this weekend to hear Charismatic American preacher Bishop TD Jakes deliver the Word of God and join together in what he promised to be an “explosive and powerful encounter” with God.
In the first ever MegaFest to be held outside the United States, Jakes borrowed the popular rhetoric of U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, as he assured the crowds that change was coming.
“A change is coming. Everyone is talking change. Barack Obama is talking about change. Now John McCain is talking about change," said Jakes, the pastor of The Potter's House megachurch in Dallas, according to The Times of South Africa.
“The change is coming, but it is not coming from government, it is not coming from the White House, it is coming from the church house,” he added.
The two-day family-friendly festival kicked off on Saturday with performances by South Africa's own multi-award-winning ensemble Joyous Celebration and Grammy Award-winning artist Yolanda Adams.
Since its inception in Atlanta four years ago, MegaFest has continued year on year to draw thousands of people to Jakes’ soul-stirring sermons. The response so far indicates that the 2008 MegaFest is no let-down.
"It was marvelous," Johannesburg local Junia Makgoba said of Jakes' message, according to a press release. "It made you want to have more of this festival. It was inspiring and motivating."
Vanessa Rivers, from New Jersey in the United States, said she was inspired by the message of change.
"The service was great," Rivers said. "It goes right in the flow of change. That's what God is doing... we're changing to be spiritually-minded and we're stepping up to do what we're supposed to do on the earth.
“Holding MegaFest in South Africa is an example of what God is doing - bringing cultures together, creating unity."
On Saturday, more than 500 South African participants took up the opportunity to have general medical check-ups and HIV screenings at the MegaCARE Health Fair.
TD Jakes Ministries has initiated a number of philanthropic initiatives in South Africa over the past few years, including clean water projects, and the construction of homes and a center for children. Students from Clay Academy, the private Christian school affiliated with The Potter's House, previously participated in an educational exchange with South African students.
Sunday’s program for MegaFest included appearances from Pastor Paula White, Bishop Noel Jones and Bishop John Francis, as well as a closing service from Jakes.