The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
WHAT began as just a vision 24 years ago, with the first brick being laid 22 years later (2019), is finally coming to fruition for Harvest House International Church founder, Bishop Collin Nyathi with the 10 500-seater state-of-the-art auditorium in Bulawayo set to be officially opened in August next year.
The official opening is set to be a momentous occasion which will be further celebrated by the church launching their third music album at the new building. The building which is arguably the first of its kind church structure in
Southern Africa will have a cinema type of seating with 10 000 people in the main auditorium and a further 500 in the choir enclosures.
In an interview with Sunday News, Bishop Nyathi said they were excited that the building was nearing its construction revealing that the superstructure is set to be complete by December while the interior work will be completed by June next year. It is located in Woodlands.
“It was in 1997 when I had that vision. It was a 10 000-seater structure, with no piece of land, with nothing at all. It (the vision) was later confirmed — you know our language as charismatics — by a certain prophet who came in and said ‘yes, you are going to build a structure like that’, that was in 1997.
“It has really taken us this long because visions take long to manifest or to unfold. We started seriously working on it in November 2019, we are trusting the superstructure will be completed by December this year and around April and June 2022 the interior must be complete,” said Bishop Nyathi.
He said they have chosen August for the official opening as it was the month for their annual conferences.
“The structure has an auditorium, with a cinema type of sitting, with a capacity of 10 500, 10 000 in the auditorium, the choir sits with 250 people on one side and another 250 on the other side. It has a gym, two restaurants, one downstairs and one upstairs, an administration block with 150 offices, with a foyer and even breakaway rooms.
“This building will be the first church building of its kind probably in Southern Africa. I honestly do not know any of its kind in the region. We might be officially opening the building around August 2022 because we normally have our conferences at that time, it will thus be a good time to line the official opening with our conferences. May I add as well that come August, our third music album will be done at the new building,” he said.
On the cost of investment to date, Bishop Nyathi revealed that they were fortunate that most of the works had come internally from members of the church which had seen them save a lot in terms of having to outsource resources and manpower.
“In terms of investment we are fortunate that we are a teaching church, we teach people the principles of God so the bulk of the money comes from our people who come in with the little they have, be it US$1 or US$5, and it is a compounded effort.
As you add it, you find that every month we are able to float along. We have to save by doing the bulk of the work by ourselves as we have experienced personnel within us. To date I can tell you we have saved about US$18 million for that project, by doing stuff on our own,” he said.
Commenting on the road the church has taken since it was founded in 2005, Bishop Nyathi said when they started he did not envisage that they would grow to this level but revealed that as a preacher his vision was to see the church grow in numbers and have more people saved.
“We are to date with 800 churches across the globe. Localising it to Bulawayo, in the CBD we occupy 11 buildings, with multiple churches running concurrently, which come up to about 45 churches in the city of Bulawayo, not to mention the high density suburbs where we have branches in almost all the high density suburbs.
“We cover as well every province, every rural area, we talk of Midlands, Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central to mention but a few.
In terms of congregants we are talking of between 45 000 and 50 000. When we started I would not say we had this thinking that the church would grow to where it is today because when God gives you a vision, yes, he gives you glimpses of it but the fuller picture is not given,” said Bishop Nyathi.
He said his vision was for them to build similar structures across the country noting the importance of having a sense of permanency.