1. Job title and more about yourself.
Alexander is the senior pastor at aVineyard church called ‘Following Jesus.’ Alexander is married to Gill and has two adult children, Zander and Misha-Joy. His personal life mission is to “follow Jesus and make followers of him, learning to live a life of love just as Jesus loved us.” (Matthew 4:19, 28:18-20, and Ephesians 5:2 NIV)
2. Can you briefly name a few of the opportunities you had while growing up that made you the person you are today?
The biggest opportunity that comes to mind for Alexander is when he became a follower of Jesus Christ on 7 June 1967. Alexander states that he was only thirteen years old at the time but that it had changed his life completely. The second opportunity that Alexander reflects on was when he received a sense of calling to go into ministry. This happened during a morning devotion on 11 November 1970, when he felt God’s call to represent Him. Lastly, Alexander recalls an opportunity that he also feels shaped his life. Alexander continues to explain his involvement in Soweto, working there during the apartheid era of 1984 – 1996. For twelve years Alexander was working in ministry in the heart of Soweto – in repentance of white racism.
3. Can you briefly describe your experience at in Harmonie?
Alexander describes his experience at in Harmonie as ‘simply wonderful.’ He continues to describe how the general context of in Harmonie felt peaceful and like a ‘real retreat centre.’ Alexander continued to mention the first-class accommodation, exceptional food and service at in Harmonie. All these different aspects contribute to the spiritual journey when at in Harmonie, says Alexander. Alexander then put extra emphasis on the Prayer Garden, saying that it’s “fantastically laid out and thought through.”
4. What do you think some of the challenges are in building a more harmonious South Africa?
Alexander believes that some of the main challenges in building a more harmonious South Africa are the ‘untransformed and unhealed conditioning of our historical past.”
According to Alexander, there are still various unresolved and unhelpful perceptions from conditioning in our county’s past. “Our perceptions need to be transformed,” says Alexander. However, Alexander continues, there is a lack of willingness from many to truly tackle the pain of the country as well as a lack of people willing to give up their privilege and power. “We need to grasp the nettle of the pain,” says Alexander.
5. How do you think a person moves from a state of disharmony to harmony?
To achieve personal harmony, Alexander believes that we need to be willing to put ourselves in the presence of others. Alexander continues to explain that this only happens if we consciously cross the barriers of society. “Experiencing others’ lives is transformative,” says Alexander. Alexander then continued to explain that for reconciliation to happen, people must first remove their prejudice.” A person needs to seek understanding, actively listen and seek harmony. In a political sense, Alexander describes that in order to move to a state of harmony, people need to listen to each other and not be so willing and ready to criticise. These things all contribute to a loss of political goodwill, says Alexander. Spiritually, Alexander continued by saying that our country should call to prayer and fasting for our nation, emphasising that we are all called to treat people as the image of God, and with respect and dignity. And then to also work for restitution and justice.
6. How do you and your organisation engage in this process of change?
Alexander speaks about the Vineyard church and how they have been involved in consciously crossing boundaries. “There is a very intentional growing of diversity, with the most common theme being reconciliation and transformation,” says Alexander. Alexander does thisthrough building local church, conferencing and training, consulting with churches, leadership teams and shifting hearts.
7. How do you see the way forward for yourself and South Africa?
Alexander describes the way forward for himself as a “long obedience in the same direction.” He continues by explaining that this doesn’t necessarily mean doing a whole lot different, but rather to keep living and loving and shifting the mindsets of people.
“Regarding South Africa,” Alexander continues, “I hope and pray that under new leadership our country we will experience a political party that is much more ‘statesman life’, and who put the nation first.”
8. Any words of advice or encouragement you would like to share with those who feel like they have lost hope.
Alexander concludes by saying that people need to realise that with God, all things are possible. “In 1994, our country saw the miracle of change,” says Alexander. God is still concerned for our nation and every individual within it. Every person can make a positive contribution, changing our attitudes towards diversity and then, in turn, help South Africa turn around.