You’ve heard the saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Well, that is exactly what International Ministries (IM) Global Servant Rev. Toya Richards is doing. Armed with a passion for justice and a heart for Jesus, she has been invited by Cape Town Baptist Seminary (CTBS) in South Africa to help train and equip church leaders to bring hope, equity, and reconciliation in their communities.
Toya’s call to ministry evolved through continuous whispers from God urging her to pursue preaching, seminary, and global mission. Her faith moved her from a career in secular journalism to a call to become a faith-based communicator; in 2010 she entered seminary and formal ministry. Her heart for global mission work inspired several short-term trips to destinations including Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Haiti, Lebanon, Central and South America, and Mexico.
Throughout her life, Toya has been aware of justice and injustice in a number of ways, including as a child during court-ordered busing, as a journalist in the impoverished Arkansas Delta, and as a global witness to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Then, in 2020, the death of George Floyd served as the catalyst that pushed Toya to pursue full-time international mission service with a focus on transformation through justice and peacemaking.
“Floyd’s murder was my wake-up call to join my siblings globally in change and transformation work using the love ethic of Jesus,” Toya said. “My humanity is bound up with every other individual on the planet, which means what goes on in Minneapolis is connected to what happens in Cape Town.”
In 2022, IM appointed Toya to fulfill a five-year assignment in South Africa. She can be commissioned and depart for South Africa once she reaches 100 percent of her funding goal. Currently, she has raised 30 percent.
Toya’s communication skills, theological training, passion for justice, and cross-cultural experiences will be a good fit at CTBS. Reportedly only 1 percent of African churches have a trained pastor, despite roughly 685 million Christians on the continent. The work of CTBS is essential to support the growing body of believers in Africa.
South Africa also continues to be in a period of reconstruction following the end of apartheid, which makes the ground fertile for teaching biblical justice and peacemaking. Additionally, Toya will help pastors and lay leaders communicate more effectively via courses in intermediate to advanced English language skills and research methodology (how to research and write for scholarly work).
The challenges facing church leaders in South Africa are immense. Faced with poverty, racism and inequity, leaders must learn to minister to people in the challenging context of their reality. CTBS emphasizes a practical approach to ministry and equips pastors with relevant theological training to meet the spiritual needs of the people within their contexts.
“CTBS trains ministry leaders to meet people where they are, and to give them hope realized through Jesus, the Christ,” Toya said. “I’m humbled and honored to join the seminary in that most vital work.”
Toya invites you to come alongside her on this journey to help bring healing and reconciliation to South Africa. Join her Mission Partnership Network by making a reoccurring donation, praying for her ministry, and by following her journal articles. You can come alongside Toya as an agent of transformation, and be the change you wish to see.
Learn more about Toya or support her ministry through her page on IM’s website.
Author Darshana Chetti is the daughter of Dr. Samuel Chetti, CEO/Executive Minister Emeritus of ABCOFLASH, and the niece of IM global servants to Lebanon, Dan and Sarah Chetti.
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