Our church was planted in 1974 with the name UAFC, which was a denominational name. Three years later the small group of believers bought a building in Victoria Road, in Pietermaritzburg, and began calling themselves Victoria Road Tabernacle. In 1983 the big change happened. Three churches joined us and we relocated to another part of the city. The new season for these four churches came with a new name – New Covenant Fellowship. This name had a deep meaning for us because it signaled a new start. It reflected the fellowship of four separate churches uniting together. It also spoke of our intent to follow a New Testament or New Covenant pattern to how we did church. This name served us admirably for 17 years. It saw the church grow to close on a thousand people and it facilitated a relationship with other churches, within the NCMI apostolic movement, who had similar convictions to us.
In the year 2000 Ray Oliver handed over the leadership of the church and with it came a name adjustment. We ceased to call ourselves New Covenant Fellowship, preferring instead to be known as NCF Church. The reason for this was not only to make branding simpler, but also in response to the changing spiritual landscape. Our nation had been through some huge adjustments, the secular trend from the western world had made its presence known and the word “covenant” had drifted out of the vocabulary of the average South African. We were often mistakenly referred to as “new government church”, “new convent church” and even “new coven church” which suggested to us that we should eliminate the confusion and so the name NCF Church, came about.
31st January 2016 marked the launch of our Durban Site. We had been running pre-launch meetings for a few months when we stumbled upon a problem: a church in Durban that not only had the name ‘New Covenant Fellowship’, but also branded themselves as ‘NCF Church’. In addition to this they have a Site, which they also called NCF North – just like us! This NCF Church has thousands of members and also runs a TV program. If our values were similar, it may not have been a problem. We are, however, decidedly different to them and so to honour this church and to enable us to pursue our mandate of planting Sites in Durban we needed to change our name. Our Durban North Site was only the beginning. We anticipated that a university site would follow shortly as well as many others.
The process of choosing our new name began in earnest in August 2016. The selection process was led by the 52 elders of NCF Church and their wives, but not exclusively so. Extensive polling of views from the staff, various church members, both young and old, as well as un-churched friends was carried out. The elders were asked to list those of our values, which they felt needed to be encapsulated by the new name. Based on these values leaders were then asked to submit potential names for consideration. Discussion began around the names in elders meetings, informal gatherings and on social media. The elders fasted and prayed as a shortlist was created. This shortlist then underwent a similar scrutiny of opinion. Ray Oliver was asked for his perspective and a search was done through all the prophecies NCF had received so that we could compare the shortlisted names with what we believe God’s plan for our church is. Once the list was down to ten names they were put through a series of tests.
Remembering that any name would sound hollow at first and that until the associations of who NCF is are properly tied to it, it would be nothing more than a collection of letters, and bearing in mind that a church makes a name and not the other way around, we finally settled on ONE LIFE CHURCH.
What Our Name Means to Us
The ONE LIFE that we speak of is the LIFE of Jesus. With His ONE LIFE he gave us life. As a believer you have just ONE opportunity to live the ONE LIFE He has given to you. He invites you to join Him on His mission – holding out LIFE to one person at a time.
Romans 5:17 says, “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
… One Act. One Life…
Ephesians 4:1 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
NCF has always had Jesus at the centre of all that we do. In this name His life is placed at the very centre of who we are. We love Him – this is the greatest commandment there is. We firmly believe that the great commission is our mission. The task of our ONE LIFE is to hold out the LIFE of Jesus to the world.
In addition to this scriptural fit with our name, the prophetic words that God has spoken over this church most often pertain to our mission – sending people out, speaking the language of the young, seeing the lost saved, revival, constant growth, refusing to settle into a rut – with which this name is in happy agreement with.
During his final meeting at NCF Church, as he was being sent out to plant a church in Gauteng, Jon Anderson said, “we only have ONE LIFE, lets do something dangerous with it”. I love the wildness attached to a life lived for one radical purpose and one reason only – to hold out the life of JESUS to a dying world.