Article source: JOY! Magazine

Unite180, a dynamic church in South Africa, exemplifies the transformative power of faith. In the span of a decade, what began as a youth ministry within a local church blossomed into a thriving community of believers, making a profound impact both locally and also internationally. This article aims to unfold the extraordinary story of Unite180, its leadership, and the vibrant congregation – affectionately known as “Uniters”. While embracing innovative approaches in ministry, Unite180 firmly holds to the core tenets of traditional Christian faith, ensuring that while methodologies evolve, the message of the Gospel remains unchanged.

Unite180: the church’s journey
Unite180’s story is one of resolute faith, beginning its journey as a youth ministry. Recognising early on that traditional structures and methods were insufficient for meaningful spiritual growth, Unite180 sought to transcend mere entertainment of young people. The ministry was committed to deeply impacting young lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, leading them to a genuine relationship with Jesus through discipleship, and enabling them to live out an authentic Christian life.

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Pastor David & Chanelle Grobler: The founders
In 1998, 18-year-old David Grobler experienced a pivotal moment in his life. Alone in South Africa, while his friends were in London, he attended a church. After the service, in his car, he had a life-altering encounter with God. This profound experience concluded with David surrendering his life to Christ.

From 2006, he served as a youth leader and later was ordained as a pastor at the church where he had embraced his faith, learning to balance the demands of both a career and ministry. Pastor Grobler pursued academic advancement, completing an MBA in 2014 and later achieving an Honors degree in Theology from the South Africa Theological Seminary in 2018.

Another significant life event occurred in 2001 when Pastor Grobler met Chanelle, whom he married in 2004. Chanelle, equally dedicated to fulfilling God’s call on her life, began serving with David in ministry. Together, with a shared vision, they committed themselves to pursuing God’s purpose for their lives.

The couple’s early encounter with God shaped their life choices, purpose, and the way they embraced a full life in Christ. This deep spiritual impact became a driving force in leading others, especially young people, to Christ. The scripture from Matthew 16:25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it,” echoed their own experiences. In part, this passage communicated their mission and so, Pastor Grobler and Chanelle had a vision for their future.

The ministry’s approach was innovative
Sunday evening worship experiences and, more importantly, Wednesday small group gatherings were established, breaking new ground in youth ministry. These early small group gatherings laid the groundwork for what would later evolve into the Unite180 uGroups – a vibrant platform where everyone was encouraged to participate in and contribute to the body of Christ, the Church. This model was a significant departure from traditional norms, raising questions about practicalities like locations and transport to and from small groups, as well as the ability to develop meaningful leadership capacity in young people to lead others. Yet, against these odds and concerns, the uGroups flourished.

These Wednesday uGroups experienced a sharper growth rate compared to the Sunday worship experiences, reaffirming the approach and understanding that young people are eager to be actively engaged in ministry and so contributing to the outworking of the church.

A pivotal moment
This significant growth marked a pivotal moment in the journey: Unite180 was sent by its parent church to establish itself as an independent and autonomous entity. Responding to this major milestone, the leadership initially established two primary locations: one in Brooklyn, and another in Derdepoort in Pretoria. The sustained and consistent growth of the uGroups, however, soon underscored the need for additional campuses. This led to the launch of the third campus in Potchefstroom in 2015, further extending the reach and impact.

The mission of the church
At the heart of Unite180’s mission lies a deep desire to reach young people with the Gospel, aiming to go beyond mere confession to a demonstration of spirit and power. They recognise the need for an environment where young people can witness and experience authentic, life-changing encounters with Jesus. The goal is to foster profound spiritual growth, allowing the transformative influence of the Kingdom to permeate all aspects of their lives.

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uGroups: fostering community and faith
At the core of Unite180’s philosophy is the belief that faith should be both practical and participatory within the local church community. uGroups, the church’s small group framework, embody this principle. These are not merely social gatherings; they are small groups focused on sharing the Word of God, worship, and active ministry to one another (Heb 10:24-25). Every Wednesday night, these groups gather in homes all over South Africa, Namibia, the Netherlands, Ireland, UK, Germany, UAE, US, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. With over 800 uGroups, Unite180 is establishing its global commitment to sharing the Gospel of Christ. Further to this, Unite180 uGroups are a powerful evangelism tool, providing a safe and friendly environment for small gatherings in homes (Acts 2:46). This setting makes it easy for Uniters to invite friends, participating in sharing their faith. The effectiveness of this approach is evidenced by the water baptism of over 1800 individuals in 2023 alone. But uGroups are more than just meetings; they are vibrant communities where faith is practically lived out and actively displayed. Members serve and pray for one another, actualising the mandate of Ephesians 4:12. Leadership is cultivated, and the message of Christ is not just heard but experienced through genuine interactions. In all its activities, Unite180 upholds the timeless message of Christianity, adapting its methods to reach a contemporary audience while keeping the essence of the Gospel intact.

uSchool of Ministry: educating & empowering leaders
From the outset, Pastor David emphasised that Christianity should be deeply rooted in believers’ lives, extending beyond superficial confessions. He emphasised the need for the Word of God to be the bedrock of every believer’s life (Jam 1:21). To address the challenge of widespread biblical illiteracy and lay a strong spiritual foundation, Unite180 founded the uSchool of Ministry.

What sets the uSchool of Ministry apart is the integration of contemporary leadership theories, insights from higher education, and current business and market trends into the curriculum. This unique blend equips students with a holistic understanding of theology and leadership, preparing them to be effective Christians not only within the church, but also in their broader communities.

The success of the programme is evident in its impact: over 4000 students have engaged with the course since its inception, with a notable 1900+ enrolments for the 2024/2025 intake. This achievement testifies to the school’s relevance and its role in shaping Christian leaders for modern society.

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Unite City: a dream realised
The past decade of Unite180 has been marked by numerous miraculous events, including testimonies of salvation, healing, deliverance, reconciled families, and provision. However, one of the most significant demonstrations of God’s faithfulness was the establishment of Unite180’s main campus – Unite City. Securing the land for the building was a lengthy, two-year process. Remarkably, the start of the construction coincided with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic while there were still limitations on gathering sizes of churches. Despite these challenges and the absence of substantial initial funds, in a step of audacious faith, Unite180 broke ground and started the building phase. Throughout the construction period, Unite180 experienced favour. A notable moment was at the start of the projects when another prominent church in Pretoria generously donated one million rand, reinforcing the belief that God would somehow meet all financial needs of the project. Miraculously, the project advanced with God’s provision evident at every step. By early 2023, Unite City was completed, a remarkable testimony to God’s goodness and provision. Unite City is not just a building; it is a symbol of faith realised, a hub for community and spiritual growth. It serves as the main broadcast location for Unite180, reaching out to the nation of South Africa and beyond.

Services and events
Unite City anchors a network of locations hosting vibrant Sunday services. Worship gatherings provide young people a great place to engage with bold preaching of the Gospel. There is an emphasis on corporate prayer. Every Saturday evening, thousands of primarily young individuals gather across most campus locations for a focused prayer session. Originating from Unite180’s days as a youth ministry, this tradition of uninterrupted, announcement-free prayer has been upheld for over 14 years.

The church also offers an extensive discipleship programme that delves into the basics of faith like salvation, baptism, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, discipleship, calling, and creation. This programme is a testament to the church’s commitment to deep spiritual education, with over 2000 members completing it in 2023.

Children up to the age of 12 are taught in Unite180’s kids ministry. Post this age, they integrate into the main Sunday services and uGroups, fostering a sense of belonging and involvement in the larger church family from a young age. This inclusive approach means Unite180 does not operate a separate youth ministry, instead emphasising intergenerational fellowship and growth.

Looking ahead: vision for the future
At the heart of Unite180’s journey forward are their core values: It’s all about Jesus, all about people, resolute faith, spirit and power, promoting the good, visible honour, and exponential thinking. These principles guide every step Unite180 takes as it embraces the future with optimism and purpose. Additionally, Unite180’s vision is the commitment to “build one by one”, honouring 1 Corinthians 12. Plans are in motion to create vibrant hubs for everyday life, offering young people places to socialise, study, and engage in community, complete with amenities like coffee areas and free internet for studying.

As Unite180 moves forward, they invite everyone to join them in this exciting phase of growth and expansion. Rooted in their values of resolute faith and spirit and power, they are committed to creating a future where every individual is a vital part of the vibrant Unite180 family and ultimately the larger global Christian Church, contributing to and benefiting from the shared journey of faith and community building.

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Date published: 14/02/2024

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156 COMMENTS

    • Amazing to see what the Lord is doing through unite180. Great church, structure, vision and pastors! May they continue to be effective for His kingdom and may many young people be discipled for Jesus through their ministry!

  1. blessed to be apart of this amazing church it’s community
    truly honoured to have Ps David & Chanelle as our Pastors! 💙
    can’t wait to continue witnessing what God has instore for this church going forward🔥

  2. As a believer, this article deeply resonates with my own journey of faith and growth. Witnessing Pastor David Grobler and Chanelle’s dedication to God’s call should inspire us to embrace our own spiritual journey wholeheartedly. Unite180’s innovative ministry approach, particularly through uGroups and the uSchool of Ministry, not only strengthens my faith but also empowers me to actively participate in sharing the Gospel and impacting lives around me. It’s a reminder that within our community, anchored in unwavering faith, we can truly make a difference in the world.

  3. blessed to be apart of this amazing church it’s community
    truly honoured to have Ps David & Chanelle as our Pastors! 💙
    can’t wait to continue witnessing what God has instore for this church going forward🔥
    this is where God changed my life !!

  4. Unite180 changed my life! What a honour a privilege it is to be part of this Church and the leadership of Pastor David and Chanelle!!

  5. Unite180 is an amazing church! It has changed my life 180 degrees from the world to Christ.

    I cannot stop recommending Unite180 to my world as I know it will change their lives as well.

  6. Wow it is amazing the impact that our church unite180 is making in this generation. The church is all about Jesus and all about people. A major privilege to be part of the unite180 family. The leadership of Pastor David and Pastor Chanelle is excellent and has influenced my life many others.

  7. Wow! This is amazing. It encapsulates so perfectly what I get to experience daily. What a privilege it is to be part of a mighty continual move of God.

  8. My life changed through unite180, God showed me that there is so much more that He wants to do with me and through me, and its all thanks to Ps David and Chanelle’s amazing leadership,

    I love my Church!

  9. Praise God, this is a revival we prayed for in our 20’s . Let the Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven

  10. My walk and relationship with God have been radically growing, and my life changed ever since I’ve had multiple encounters with Him at Church, uGroups and all the more in my personal life. Ever since then I have no other testimony that He is a living God, actively working in my life day-to-day in every moment, in every situation. Seeing what God is doing through Unite180, touching the lives of young people is just amazing! I am so grateful for the obedience of our Senior Pastors David and Chanelle on the calling God placed on their lives in leading us as a Church, and because of them many lives are changed and touched by and through Jesus Christ!

  11. God changed my life 180 degrees for good through Unite180. All my friends life changed because of this Church and Leadership in Unite180 as well as high impact culture of uGroups. Thank you Jesus.

  12. Prys die Here… Im grateful for Unite180 and its values and Everything God does through this Church.. Life Changing

  13. Beautifully written! Thank you JoyNews for your on-point journalism!
    Unite180 has certainly facilitated and impacted the life-changing touch of God in my life!

  14. My Life is a living testimony because of the leadership and counsel of this church, super privileged to be apart of it.

  15. Unite180 has profoundly impacted my life by teaching me to earnestly seek Christ and prioritized Him above all else. This transformative journey has brought deep joy and purpose. Grateful for this community of faith!

  16. Absolutely insane, glory to God 🙏🏽✝️🔥how wonderful to see the growth of the Christian community as well as the increase in people getting saved

  17. What a privilege to be part of this house ! Grateful to be under the leadership of Pastor David and Pastor Chanelle.

  18. Thank you for the post! This is an amazing church, because of Unite180 and the community the church has provided me I am living a life where God is first, I am seeking His kingdom above everything else and I am surrounded by people who know His grace and are doing the same.

  19. I’ve only been in unite180 for a Little while now but ever since I joined it’s been a positive change. I can see the strive to light the spark again in those who lost it,

  20. This is where God changed my life…Amazing servent leadership… My Pastors lead by example.. Very privileged…

  21. Amazing to see what the Lord has done through this ministry. Many lives changed and many more to come by the grace of God.

  22. A place that radically changed the course of my life where I also found friends that became family. Really thankful for Unite 180 and our Senior pastor’s 🙏

  23. So grateful for a church that transformed me and my families life. This is truly a place I can call home and where I can grow in my Christianity.

  24. I have been part of Unite180 for 15years, and can truly say that this has been the mandate from the start. Honoured to be part of this church and under the leadership of Ps David and Ps Chanelle

  25. I’ve been in Unite180 for 5 years now and I can testify of all the love and support this ministry gives us. I was saved in a uGroup and will never look back to my old life again. Pastor David and Chanelle are great pastors that are an insperation for us of how God fearing people should look and act like.

    I love my church and it is a massive honour to say that I am a Uniter!

  26. Unite 180 changed my life! I have grown so much closer to God and even got Baptised!! Something i thought id never do! I am so greatful for finding this church and being welcomed with wide open arms, i truly feel at home with my Unite family!!❤️🙌🏻✝️

  27. I can really testify to the fruit of this ministry. Its a place that’s all about people and MOST importantly ALL ABOUT JESUS.

  28. Unite in Christ. May God bless this ministry even more in the years to come and equip leaders for the spread of the gospel to all nations.

  29. Unite 180 is amazing !!! When people say life changing they mean it. I never realized how deep your relationship with God could really be and it is something I wouldn’t give up for the world now ! Thank God for our pastors

  30. Absolutely love being a Uniter !! It changed our lives and gave us the opportunity to grow our relationship with God daily !!

  31. The church changed my life, from someone who was searching for God and didn’t know where to find him, into a cell leader who involves God in everything that I do

  32. Testimony after Testimony, God’s hand is in this, nothing would have been possible without God, What a story ! 🙌🏼

  33. Absolutely amazing what God is doing in South africa and around the world through unite180.
    Amazing display of leadership shown by Pastor David and Chanelle

  34. Unite180 an awesome church truly life changing, on mission and call and busy doing great things for God in this nation

  35. Beyond grateful to be part of Unite180. Such a privilege and blessing to see what God is doing in and through this church.

  36. To unite 180
    Thank you so much for everything you do
    Regarding : unite 180 changed my life completely and being part of a family like unite 180 is the best
    Praise the lord , unite 180 is the most amazing church i got invited , the staff is completely friendly , with that said a thank you to pastor chanelle and pastor david for showing is what real love is and changing our lifes forever ,😎😎

  37. It is a privilege to be part of this amazing Church. I got saved through a Unite180 uGroup and I love seeing how we are growing and supporting other Churches in their growth in the Kingdom.

  38. The incredible impact of Unite180 Church, as highlighted in Joy Magazine, is truly inspiring. Their dedication to serving others and spreading positivity is commendable and a beacon of hope in our world today.

  39. The incredible impact of Unite180 Church, as highlighted in Joy Magazine, is truly inspiring. Their dedication to serving others and spreading positivity is commendable and a beacon of hope in our world today.

  40. All the glory to our Saviour Jesus Christ .Thank you Joy magazine for placing this information about Unite 180.
    Such an amazing work done through Unite 180 .
    May the Church be blessed and all the Pastors and members keep on winning souls for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

  41. This story is remarkable. Since its inception to date and already reaching so many people with the gospel.

    We will surely keep partnering with this church to ensure that the vision placed in the hearts of its leadership lives on.

  42. Unite180 changed my life completely, I am so thankful for our leadership, it’s all about Jesus and also about people.

  43. I am so proud to be part of this. And have a hand in where this is going.
    ‘We shall be the lamp on the lamp-stand, a city on a hill.’ Not hidden away but there for all to see.

  44. My life radically changed when walking into my first church service at Unite180 .Had the privilege to see God move and shift in people’s life .I learned so much about God and myself through Homerun and uSchool ! 🙌

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