The impact and power of Pastor Buyisile Geelbooi’s testimony at the Christian Men’s Association breakfast held at Tash’s Craft Bar on Saturday was demonstrated by audience’s appreciation at the end of his talk.
Born and raised in Grahamstown, Geelbooi said he was converted in 1983 and began preaching at a local level in Bathurst, Grahamstown and Alicedale. He obtained a theology degree at Rhodes University,
“I was born in a poor family and my mother and father were domestic workers working for different families in Grahamstown,” he said.
In those days they used to wait for their mother bring home leftovers as their supper. Talking about his academic interests, he said he wanted to be a medical practitioner but could not fulfil that dream because of financial difficulties.
With intentions to fill in the gap Geelbooi ended up doing a certificate in First Aid which paved the way to doing a theology degree.
A turnaround life event happened when a Rhodes lecturer whom he did not name recruited him to work for the English Department at Rhodes, where he earned a double of what he was getting at St John’s Ambulance.
Geelbooi said he began working mornings for St John’s Ambulance and then from 1pm till evening at Rhodes. Being in an academic sphere he then pursued his theology degree as distance learning due to work and calling commitment.
The gift of preaching started manifesting in 1987 where he said he was preaching at Bathurst, Grahamstown, Alicedale and in the open field with loud speakers.
Using every opportunity as a platform to minister the Gospel of Christ which he defined as the “power unto salvation”, he said he used to travel by train and also preach in the train.
As a minister, Geelbooi said he leads 13 churches in the Eastern Cape and is also an international speaker.
Talking about some of the countries in which he has preached to the gospel, Geelbooi mentioned Zimbabwe and Kenya.
He went on to comment on the state of the current church. “My journey gave me a very huge concern about the institution we call church. Why things are happening the way they are happening today while the church is still alive?” he asked the audience.
He continued to pose the challenge to the audience by saying: “There are things that one day God will blame the church for.” He said those things should not be happening in the place where God deployed the church.
According to Geelbooi’s observation the church is divided into two aspects – spiritual and physical. He said the church as an organisation is where is an assembly of the called ones, whereas the church’s spiritual aspect is where it is referred to as the Body of Christ.
“You cannot be a member of a local church if you are not a member of the universal church. You should be a member of the Body of Christ.”
Geelbooi is of the view that some of the problems experienced by the church today emerge in the disorder of spiritual life.
“The problem is in the order. We have spirit, soul and the body. We twist these things thinking that we are a physical body while we are not. I am a spirit having a soul and living in a body,” he said.
Explaining the role of each, he said: “The spirit is God-consciousness, the soul is self-consciousness and the body is physical-consciousness so that I can connect to this physical world.”
He appealed to other ministers to make their presence felt. “You are the ministers of reconciliation and God is calling us to be his sweet aroma. God is in heaven but sent Jesus Christ to represent him and Jesus called his disciples and equipped them,” he said.
Inspired by Jesus’ method he said he developed a motto saying, “When I win him in Christ I have to equip him in Christ and send him to do the same work.”
He added that ministers should build saints but also release them should they fully discover themselves in Christ.