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Dr Arno van Niekerk has been an academic for almost 15 years. Before that he worked at an auditing company and has, while being a senior lecturer at the University of the Free State, done business consulting for asset management companies. He obtained his PhD in Economics in 2009. His passion is to combine his career with his calling. He leads several prayer and worship initiatives and is strongly involved in many city transformation activities in Bloemfontein, where he and his family lives. His calling is to bring unity in the church across cultural and denominational boundaries, and to call the church to impact the nation. He is called to raise up the Joshuas, the Calebs and the Esthers of today for action in God’s Kingdom.
He is now speaking all over South Africa on invitation and has become a voice of encouragement for the people of our rainbow nation to take hold of God's promises for us. His end goal is to see South Africa and Africa fulfill their potential and prophetic destiny under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The world needs an Africa that rise up and take its place as an influencer of nations. He has a heart for God and for people. His passion is to see God’s will become a reality in South Africa and for the nation to fulﬁll its calling.
Arno grew up as a farm boy in the Karoo. He went to school in Hopetown and was later Head boy. Sport was his life, playing rugby, tennis, cricket, athletics and everything that was available. Academics was a bit on the back burner, but he knew he had to keep an eye on it. At a youth camp during high school (1991) he realised that he needed to accept Jesus as His Lord and Saviour. His life made a radical turn as Arno immediately sensed that God has a calling on his life. Being someone that is used to doing things flat-out, he served the Lord passionately, leading many to Christ at his school. When he went to university, intensity just increased as he served as leader of Christian youth organisations and in the church. Studying more what he liked, Arno completed one degree after the other, and he could clearly sense God preparing him academically. With balance always a priority to him, he kept following his passion for sport, playing rugby (Shimlas) and tennis for the University of the Free State (UFS).
After completing his Masters degree, he worked at an auditing company and also did some business consulting. After a few years he was offered a lecturing position at the UFS and the opportunity to complete his doctorate in economics. He finished his PhD in 2008. Before that, however, he married the love of his life, Leani, in 2005. They share the same birthday and also a special love for the Lord and His plans. Today they have two young boys, Stian and Juvan. Leani is a lawyer and a lecturer at the Law Faculty (UFS). She is now also busy with her PhD. As Arno completed his doctorate, he immediately sensed how God’s calling on his life became stronger, and it was time to advance the Kingdom more vigorously (Matt 11:12).
One morning, when their Men’s Ministry gathered for coffee in Mimosa Mall, a discussion point came up of why not do something for God’s Kingdom on the Mall’s rooftop? They prayed about it and sensed confirmation from the Lord. After discussions with the Mall’s management, the doors flung open for the first Rooftop Praise & Worship in November 2010. Since then almost 40 Rooftop P&W events have taken place as thousands of Christians from all across Bloemfontein gather every quarter to worship the Lord in the market place. This led to many city initiatives and collaboration between churches to take the gospel to the market place. Every event is a deep worship and prayer experience under the stars, and never a ‘gospel show’. Even when rain was threatening, they prayed and the Lord cleared the skies. Arno also leads city transformation initiatives in Bloemfontein, in the heart of South Africa.
Since then God has catapulted Arno, with his calling to activate God’s people to make an impact in the nation, in remarkable fashion. The latest have been the book that he wrote as a wake-up call and prophetic announcement to South Africa, titled ENOUGH! (GENOEG!). This book – available in Afrikaans and English – speaks a straight language, yet it is aimed at bringing healing, hope and direction to the nation, which is at a crossroad in its history. Arno started writing this book when he lectured at a university in Salzburg (Austria) in 2014. During his time of prayer one late afternoon as he walked in the beautiful forests there, the Lord told him to write an invitation to South Africans to become part of the greatest move of God in our history – and to be catalysts of Godly change. The Scripture God gave him was Habakkuk 2:2, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Since that point, words kept bubbling up like a fountain inside him as he wrote the book prayerfully for seven months, nonstop. Even some of the research that he did for the book was Holy Spirit-led, as he often explains. The book’s impact is already incredible, leading to interviews on major radio and television stations and appearances on the cover of JUIG! Magazine, etc.
Arno is a man on a mission to raise up the Joshuas, the Calebs and the Esthers in South Africa – from all cultures and races – for action in God’s Kingdom. He is like the sons of Issachar who understand the times we live in and know what South Africa must do (1 Chron 12:32). Although it is humanly impossible for one man to have all the answers, which he humbly admits, he has a unique gifting to point people to the Source of the answers, Jesus Christ, the Rock of our Salvation. His background of research in the economy has led him to identify the roots of economic problems in South Africa as not purely economic, but spiritual. He points out, for instance, that the root of poverty is a poverty spirit; the root of economic inequality is greed, etc. The Lord use him to open people’s eyes to have better understanding in South Africa and the world, since many perish due to a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
Arno is equally passionate about bringing unity in the church – unity based on the truth of Jesus Christ, not a false unity that compromise the truth. He sees the Word of God to be the foundation of the nation, otherwise we build on the sand. Arno’s end goal is to see South Africa and Africa fulfil their tremendous potential and prophetic calling in bringing realignment with God’s will in world affairs. It starts, however, by getting our own house in order. He believes a good testimony of “only God can do this” will come out of Africa that will stun the world and speak strongly to the nations to turn to God. “Empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, the world needs an Africa that rise up and take its place as a leader of nations.” This, Arno often highlights, as well as pointing to an end time harvest that will come in (Matt 13:39), of which South Africa and Africa will be key instruments in God’s hands.
Being an organiser of Mighty Families events and speaker at Mighty Men conferences, Geloftefeeste, Reconciliation events (e.g. in Sharpville), etc., Arno lives out his calling and passion to bring healing in our nation, and activate God’s people in all our diversity with renewed purpose and direction. Placing Jesus at the center of solutions for South Africa, Arno has a unique understanding of how to advance the Kingdom. Of late the Lord used him to put together the Christian Consensus as a vital instrument to unite the body of Christ around practical Biblical values that, if implemented, can bring the right turn-around in South Africa. Arno walks with a strong governance anointing that the Lord use to give direction to His people through him. Most important to him is humility and to love and take care of his family. He is a family man just like Joshua, and says: “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
*Order his book directly from the website www.enoughsa.co.za