by Bazil and Simone, Lead Elders
Durban, South Africa
The very first time I set foot in a church, other than our traditional Greek Church, was a few days after I got saved. It was Sunday night, August 1992 at Immanuel Church in Umhlanga Rocks, and the young preacher was preaching with fire. As a new believer, I remember clearly saying to God, ‘ I want what he’s got!”
From that day, we have loved Ken and Michelle and their ministry, and have been greatly influenced and shaped by those fantastic years in Durban.
We lead a church now, and Ken’s warm, fatherly heart, passion for God’s people, and the fire and power of his ministry inspire us to lead our people the same way.
by Bev Watkins, Former Youth Attendee
Johannesburg, South Africa
I was 16 years old when I first met Ken and Michelle. Looking back, I know that it was a divine appointment, but at the time, I was just trying to get confirmed in the Presbyterian Church.
For me, confirmation was a routine requirement where one had to go to Bible study for a year and then one could be accepted into the church officially…. but no! God sent this radically on-fire youth pastor to our church who was determined we should know God before getting confirmed. Well, that first year, I lasted all of 2 months under that steely blue, Holy Spirit filled gaze of Ken’s. I decided that this being ‘born again’ was actually a serious thing and I was not ready to do it. So off I went for the rest of the year. But God was not letting go and the next year I was back in confirmation class. Alas, Ken was still the teacher! Suffice to say that I got radically born again with a month or so of attending those classes.
But this was just the beginning of the story…. I had not only met Jesus in a very real and impacting way, but I had found a spiritual father. At the time, I did not realize what a tremendous gift and privilege this was. After serving the Lord for more than 20 years, I know what Paul said to be true, “you may have 10 000 instructors in Christ, but you do not have many fathers.” I was blessed beyond measure to have a man like Ken to be my spiritual father. He taught me about God …when he loved me despite my faults, when He forgave me when I did unforgivable things, when he encouraged me when I was down, rebuked me when I needed it and taught me to follow him as he followed Christ.
The foundations laid into my life through Ken and Michelle are one of the reasons that I believe I have been able to continue to seek first the Kingdom of God my entire life. I would not be where I am today without their wisdom and training in all spheres of my life.
by Jenny Cutler
Ken and Michelle have walked with us through some of the most challenging seasons of our lives. Though a lot of loss and heartbreak they continued to point us towards Jesus and give us a bigger perspective. They have walked us into greater measures of freedom, breaking bondages, curses and lies that had affected us in countless ways. We walk in much freedom and peace today because of their ministry. With all they have poured into us, though, they have always built away from themselves and they openhandedly released us when God called us outward. They give themselves fully and passionately to the Kingdom and are the most trustworthy, humble people I know. Almost all of the positive things we hear in ministry about ourselves are things we learned directly and indirectly (by watching and hanging out with) Ken and Michelle. They have both restored our wells and expanded them to be much larger and deeper than they were before.
by Jeremy Cutler
Having served alongside Ken and Michelle for close to 8 years, it is hard to sum up in a short space how great an impact they have had on the life of our family. For much of our time at Free Life, Jenny, and I served the body as deacons and by leading the children’s ministry. Much of the impact that the Grenfells had in our life, however, had more to do with relationship, than our actual role in the church.
Ken and Michelle exemplify integrity to the core. The core values upon which Free Life Church was founded are completely embodied in the daily lives of this dynamic couple. Their home was always open to us. They have lived their lives as an open book. When I entered their home, I felt like I was home, because the atmosphere was a presence of peace.
Beyond their integrity, there is a deep hunger for the Lord they express so evidently. If leadership sets the bar and creates the culture, Ken and Michelle have created a culture with a high value on the presence of God and actively work to cultivate an atmosphere where the Spirit is free to move. Theirs is a heart like David, to experience true revival and the fullness of God’s presence.
Having come from a place where I have seen much abuse with things of the Spirit, one of the biggest ways the Grenfells have impacted my life is with how they administer church governance. By providing strong yet gentle leadership, they have created a community where God is free to move without the manipulation of man. This was incredible to me after having experienced much manipulation in Charismatic services. They even taught us how to do ministry in such ways as where we lay our hands to prevent “pushing” people, and ways protecting someone’s dignity when dealing with deliverance situations.
I could probably write for hours on the impact that Ken and Michelle have had on my family’s life but the greatest and most lasting impact, to me, is the value they place on growing the Kingdom of God through building and sustaining life-giving relationships. The Grenfells love and serve without any personal agenda. I have seen them travel cross-country, just to build relationally with other bodies of believers, with no agenda but the Kingdom of God. These two amazing people are the embodiment of lives poured out for Christ. If I live a life that has half the impact that they have had, I will consider myself to have lived well.
by Debbie Sudworth
In May 2004, my husband and I and our two children packed up our belongings and said yes to the call of God to start a church in the heart of Chicago.
Before we left South Africa, we had made contact with Ken and Michelle (who had left South Africa a few years earlier to plant in Virginia). We asked them some basic questions about relocating and church planting into the USA, whilst exchanging emails and sharing stories.
We arrived in Chicago city on a Tuesday and started the church that very first Sunday. It was and continues to be an adventure, but it’s not without its challenges. While we knew this was where God wanted us, and His grace was clearly evident and tangible, our hearts were raw from the loss of family and friends.
Our greatest challenge in the early days of the church plant, (over and above missing family), was the loss of a leadership team around us. We felt it on every level, personally, and in the day to day church activities.
After three months we got a call from Ken asking if they could visit and spend a few days with us. Tentatively we said yes, not really knowing them very well and feeling a little reserved because they were strangers. Little did we know that this precious gesture was the beginning of a deep friendship that has continued to grow and deepen over the years.
Over the three days that Ken and Michelle were with us, God used them to minister to us personally in ways we were not even aware we needed. To have a couple come to just hang out and encourage us was life giving on so many levels.
We are so deeply grateful that God has knitted our hearts together with Ken and Michelle and we are so excited to continue to partner with them to see His Kingdom advance.
by David Swart
In our nine years at Church in the City, we have had the privilege of having Ken and Michelle visit at least once each year. Their ministry has had a significant impact in the life and history of our church. The Ephesians 4 verses that talk about the gifting that “equips the saints to do the work of the ministry” was never more evident as when they came. Every time they visited, the church learned more about ministering in the prophetic and about moving with the Holy Spirit. Most times God used them in the area of deliverance without them even preaching into it. It just happened!
I would be comfortable to invite them into any setting to minister and help build into any local church.
They aren’t self-promoting. They aren’t fake in any way. They are the real deal, a powerful duo indeed!
by Greg Stevens, Lead Elder of Immanuel Church
Durban, South Africa
Ken and Michelle helped me to realize that knowing God was not that complicated. They had this amazing way of making spiritual truth quite simple, so that many of us entered into a deeper yet profoundly possible walk with God.
We shared deeply, and honestly. They encouraged me, shaped me and I am truly blessed and grateful that God brought them into my life. They mentored and guided me, opened opportunities for me, and both Sue and I will forever be grateful for the role they played in our lives. In particular, Sue grew up having walked with God from a young child, and had almost become overfamiliar with spiritual things, but the way Ken and Michelle walked with the Spirit opened her eyes to the exciting adventure of following Jesus.
Together we have been massively impacted by their ministry and we continue to walk in friendship with them.
by Kenny and Maureen Le Roux, Leaders of Westside Church International
From the early days of playing squash against this Man of God in Umhlanga Rocks, just north of Durban, till currently in the United States, Ken has always been a friend who walks with integrity of heart and lifestyle.
What started out as a friendship on the squash courts in the early 1990’s developed into a friendship of functioning together as couples in the ministry. In 1995 Ken left Durban as he accepted the call to be the visionary elder of a church in Johannesburg, and even though the distance apart increased drastically, we pursued a wonderful KINGDOM relationship, working together in both Zimbabwe and Botswana. Not only did we partner together working effectively into the nations, we also shared the pulpit in our local churches. Eventually, we had the privilege of leading the church Ken had oversight over in Johannesburg as he felt the call of GOD to move to the United States. Even in this transition his honesty and integrity was outstanding. He certainly led the church here in Johannesburg with great skill and integrity of heart.
Ken must be one of few men who remained constant in his belief in GOD over many years, during good times and difficult times. Hebrews 13:7 talks of people considering the outcome of their way of life and to imitate the faith of their leaders – Ken Grenfell is a leader and friend worthy of following in EVERY sense of GODLY requirement.
Verster and Cara Brent, Former Fellow Elders of NorthWest Christian Church
Johannesburg, South Africa
I don’t think Ken and Michelle will ever realize the tremendous impact their spiritual leadership and friendship had on our lives during our time in Johannesburg. We are where we are today because of what they sowed into our lives. We moved from the country to a huge city, slightly weather beaten and a little spiritually disillusioned. We still wanted to serve God in a local church and prayed for the right church family. God in his wisdom knew exactly what he was doing and led us to a city church family. And what a family it was…
They embraced and loved us unconditionally and when I think of their leadership, all that comes to mind is grace, grace and more grace. Their leadership opened the way for spiritual restoration in our own lives. It allowed us to trust again, dare believe in dreams again, and to be vulnerable again.
Thank you, Ken and Michelle, for being you – you cannot be anything else but who, and what, God has called you to be. No false pretenses, no hidden agendas, no false motives – just you. You never claimed to be perfect, but it was your imperfection and humility that allowed us to see God’s redemptive restoration.
by Scott & Trish Brown, Lead Elders
The fact is that Ken and Michelle are one of our all-time favorite couples in terms of apostolic people who have visited us. They have cared for us and spoken into our lives, our ministry, and the life of our church.
In the 1990’s I had been tasked with leading the little church in our farming community in Raffingora, Zimbabwe, but with the farm invasions and people being kicked off their farms we knew that we would all be leaving the district in time. I was trained as a farmer – I had no ministry experience at all and wasn’t even doing what I did in the church very well. And yet, when Ken came to minister, he took my dad’s big jacket and put it over me with the prophetic encouragement that God had a much bigger mantle for me – the little community church was great but God had so much more for me to do.
Sure enough, as more and more farmers were evicted from their land, our turn came around as well and we were forced to move. I landed up in Bulawayo, still in Zimbabwe, but at the other end of the country in a secular job managing an exotic leather tannery. Within a few short years, we were asked to lead the church we were attending. At first, I said that no, I can’t do that . . . for many different reasons. But the words of Ken’s prophecy for me filling a larger mantle constantly stirred me and finally I came back with an affirmative answer for leading our church in Bulawayo – a lot bigger than the church in our farming community.
We have been leading this church for almost ten years, and I can truly say that Ken and Michelle had a large role to play in giving me the faith and confidence to step into this calling. We have seen God’s provision and enabling in amazing ways over the years, despite choosing to minister in a country in which inflation was out of control, where people were emigrating, and where the economy was imploding.
So thank you Ken and Michelle, with all our hearts, for your faithfulness to visit, teach, encourage and prophesy into a small church in a farming community in the North of Zimbabwe, and speak so powerfully and accurately into so many lives, including ours. You have given our lives so much direction and we love what we’re doing now.
by Monique, Worship Leader and Former Youth Group Attendee
Cape Town, South Africa
I knew Ken as a vibrant youth pastor who swept into our lives at a God-appointed time and blessed us with his leadership, humble spirit, and his love for Jesus. I remember the Grenfell’s home so well; it was always full of people, laughter, tears, music, and endless cups of coffee. The back gate was constantly swinging open with another teenager coming in to receive, advice, prayer, a hug, but mostly friendship.
Ken and Michelle’s life and ministry impacted me in a profound way and I will be eternally grateful to our heavenly Father for placing them in my life. I remember Ken encouraging me in my music ministry from the tender age of 15 and today I am still privileged to lead God’s people into a place of worship every Sunday. Ken taught me to prepare well, practice, and to hear what The Spirit of God is wanting to do amongst His people. Youth retreats, Friday and Sunday evening Youth ministry, Ken and Michelle brought us through it all and taught us to love Jesus not because of what He can give us, but because He IS the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In that time, I received a love for God’s Word and I learned to listen to His voice.