The African Pastors Conferences are organised from South Africa and are held across the continent of Africa. There are currently over 60 such conferences that are run across the year. They are famous for the great preaching and the lowly priced books that are made available during the conferences. It means that even African pastors who can barely afford to buy books to use for their own ministries can now do so at these conferences. This is enriching their ministries right across the continent. Most of the preaching is also undertaken by African pastors so that they provide a model of good expository preaching, a rare phenomenon on the continent.
A number of conferences are held in Zambia and one of them is in Lusaka at Kamwala Reformed Church. This year, the conference was held in June. The speakers were Pastor Cary Kimbrell (speaking in Zambia for the fifth time), Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, USA and Pastor Naphtally Ogallo, Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Eldoret, Kenya. Nico van Zyl, the APC manager, led the team. His wife, Roxanne, handled the administration and books, assisted by Paula Kimbrell.

The local organiser, Gabriel Mumba, invited many pastors and Bible teachers from several different denominations to attend. Some attendees travelled long distances. The two-day Lusaka conference was well organised, as always. The theme of the conferences was: “The defining features of a biblical church.” The 174 attendees registered themselves in the following way: 60 Pastors, 2 Ministers, 21 Reverends, 49 Elders, 4 Bishops, 1 Chaplain, 4 Preachers, 2 evangelists, 16 Bible teachers, 4 Student pastors, 2 Theological Students, 2 Youth Pastors, 2 Deacons, 3 Sunday School teachers, 2 Apostles.
As in previous years, those in attendance came from very different doctrinal backgrounds. Some pastors were Reformed in doctrine and needed encouragement in the face of opposition. Others followed the Arminian error, still others the Prosperity gospel, and some followed traditional African tribal religion. Folk from the mainline denominations were also present. The theme was apt and hopefully many were to think more biblically about the church.
Most attendees were hungry for God’s word. They were teachable. The speakers did a splendid job teaching the word of God with much conviction and clarity. Doctrinal errors were addressed boldly but sensitively.
A very large selection of Reformed books and booklets was displayed and laid out on pews. Many OT and NT commentaries were available, as well as many copies of the Expository Thoughts series on the Gospels by J. C. Ryle. These books reinforce the doctrines taught to attentive attendees at the conference and help to educate and train the pastors, many of whom have had little or no training at all.
There was, as always, great interest shown in the books and digital resources. SD cards and flash drives on which a huge digital library of books, sermons, videos, etc., was recorded were also made available. Great interest in these was shown and they sold out very quickly.
The queues were very long and the book piles selected by each delegate stood high, but eventually all were helped and happy. In total, 2021 books, including free books, were distributed. APC books, priced cheaply as a transport donation, are always popular and well received.
Two free books were given to each registered Bible teaching attendee. These were thankfully received. They were Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, (authored by Mark Dever and published by Crossway) and Transforming power of the gospel (written by Jerry Bridges and published by NavPress). In addition, each registered attendee received a certificate of attendance. These are often used in CVs as proof of training.
Some of the many questions asked illustrate the confused doctrinal position of some attendees. Some also started to rethink and question their traditional beliefs and practices. The questions were answered clearly, simply and biblically by the speakers. Some of the questions asked were:

  1. Should we use the altar call during church services?
  2. Should we use a prayer to lead someone to salvation?
  3. If your wife does not support you in the call of the pastor, can you serve God alone?
  4. In predestination, does God know who is going to be saved and did God choose them from eternity past? If God chose them in eternity past, why did He create them who will go to hell?
  5. You said that only men can be in church leadership. How do you explain Deborah in the OT who was a prophetess, judge and commander in chief of Israel’s army? What about Hannah in the NT? Please also explain Priscilla and Aquilla in whose house the church met.
  6. What is the difference between the real gospel and the prosperity gospel?
    Several attendees were ladies, some of whom registered as pastors. Although APC adheres to the biblical model, lady pastors are not discouraged from attending APCs because they often serve large congregations and biblical education is vital both for them and for those they teach. It is hoped that these ladies will come to a more biblical understanding of the office of pastor.
    This was a very happy, God-honouring conference and the APC team was requested to return in 2020. This has been scheduled and, God willing, a conference will be held next year.
    The APC thanks God for his ongoing work among pastors in Zambia and for the opportunity he has afforded APC to be a part of this work. Others to be thanked are (1) Pastor Fred Malone and First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA for sponsoring this conference. APC is extremely grateful for your generosity. (2) Pastor Cary Kimbrell and Bethlehem Baptist Church, Jackson, Mississippi, who sponsor his trip to Zambia each year. (3) The many publishers who supply APC with books at large discounts. (4) Pastor Gabriel Mumba who was the excellent local conference organiser and the Reformed Church in Zambia for use of their premises.
    Pray that the lives and ministries of Zambian Bible teachers would change where necessary and that their preaching and teaching would become more biblical and thereby God glorifying. Pray too that the books will be read and that congregations would benefit as a result. Finally pray that the ongoing work of APC in the countries of Africa would continue to be blessed by God.