The Birth of Monze Reformed Baptist Church


“Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel” (Zech 4:10).


There has been a great need for an evangelical church of Reformed Baptist persuasion in Monze, as the town is entrenched largely in Seventh Day Adventism, Roman Catholicism, and pockets of Pentecostalism. In addition, there is a clear need for conversion in most of the people spoken to. Though some controversies have arisen regarding why we worship on Sunday, our duty has been to spend and be spent in making the local people understand the gospel and what biblical Christianity is all about. What led to the birth of the church in Monze? Please note with me the following, so that you can pray and support the work intelligently.


The dire need of an Evangelical Reformed Baptist work

Having established Mazabuka Central Baptist about 4 years ago, it dawned on the Kabwata Baptist Church eldership that the next town to target should be Monze. Apart from the spiritual reasons given up, the need for this town to be the next target can be seen in the town’s population. The spectrum in the population is made up of government workers (based at the local hospital, agricultural training centre, and in the civil service), non-governmental organisations’ employees, farmers (both peasant and commercial), and business people engaged in all kinds of trade and service provision (marketers, grocery store owners, guest house proprietors, etc). It is, therefore, a typical Southern Province town. Each time we would pass through this town as we made our way to the mission field in Choma from Lusaka for preaching engagements, we always longed to come and harvest souls in this town also. The KBC eldership always said the time was not yet ripe as they lacked an anchor person or missionary.

A photo taken after one of the church services. Do not worry about the year on the photo. It was not in 2204!

However, with the relocation of brothers Ntazana Kaulule and Kuelly Tembo early last year, it became apparent that KBC could take up the challenge. Ntazana was working at World Vision. He had been based at a local branch of this world renowned Christian humanitarian organisation for a few months. Kuelly, who moved to Monze a year earlier, was working in a section of the Zambian government’s agricultural ministry. In their quest for worship and fellowship, Ntazana and Kuelly were subjected to pernicious and unsound preaching of the word. They visited quite a number of churches, including those that bear the name “Baptist”. They felt the deficiencies of these ministries and were driven to utter dissatisfaction. They were later joined by a sister who was once a KBC member, over a decade ago.

Congregation during one of the services

Mrs Lontia Chileshe testified that she had seen the birth of two churches styled “Baptist” but could not find a home in them. They were effectively liberal and charismatic in their doctrine and practice. She could not stomach these depressing circumstances any longer. Hence the Macedonian call, issued by this disgruntled group.

This band of three providentially became the answer to our prayer for anchors for the new work. It was clear that this was God’s timing and the situation had ripened for the birth of the new mission work going under the name Monze Reformed Baptist Church. The expectancy was raised in the Monze brethren by the immediate positive response received from the KBC eldership. In spite of the low numbers, the zeal was virtually unstoppable from both sides. In order to ensure continuity in the midst of all the church’s outreach efforts, the elders asked me (Kennedy Kawambale) to provide leadership to this fledgling work.

This new work, however, was not without its own peculiar difficulties. 

Birth pangs of a new work

Monze Reformed Baptist Church has not been spared from its own challenges. However, we have learnt not to despise the days of small things. We have encouraged ourselves in the recognition that in such days, as in the days of Elijah (1 Kings 19:9–14), the Lord’s gentle whisper speaks louder than the things that are seen. We have resorted to strengthening each other in prayerfulness, alertness, and to be still before God as we seek his will. Here are some of the challenges we have experienced:

Labourers: The first day of outreach was quite trying in the sense that the three brethren I was counting on were not available on the material day. Two were out of town while the third was on duty. This shook me as I realised that this might be the order of the day in this church planting mission for some time to come. So being a strange town to me, I could only sit and pray for the Lord’s guidance. In his providence, God brought in a young local man by the name of Justin Moonde, who has been my “Timothy”. You cannot visit Monze church work and not love him as a God-given servant. In my absence, he has been following up Sunday visitors and those witnessed to in the neighbourhoods, and this has made the mission work bearable. So, we have been together with Justin from the commencement of the work. My prayer is that he might get grounded in the Reformed Faith as his background is that of Pilgrim Wesleyan.

Venue: Our first meeting, which was on 22 August 2009, had a total attendance of nine people, three of whom were females. During the first six weeks we were conducting our church services in a home. This proved to be a source of stumbling for many people. They had difficulties to come and meet with us in this home. Married women seemed to be reluctant to hear the preached word in the home of a bachelor. In view of this we were compelled to look for an alternative venue. The search took six long weeks, with a few trips down blind alleys along the way. Finally, we got a classroom at Monze Basic School in an area called Fairview. With this development we have seen a bit of improvement in the number of visitors coming every Sunday. Four months down the line we have been numbering between 16 and 19 worshippers. The encouraging thing is that this number consists of at least 2 to 4 new visitors every Sunday. I would like to think that the picture would have been different if we were resident in the town, as I only travel on the weekends when I am not required for work. We have been receiving a number of phone enquiries and I cannot immediately attend to them because of distance. I have had to ask Justin to follow up these enquirers. He has one major fear. He does  not know how to defend the Reformed Faith!

Language barrier: Because Tonga is the main language in the town, in some cases this has been an obstacle when faced with those who cannot understand English or Nyanja. A further form of difficulty in communication has come up. This is the challenge of communicating with deaf persons. Having witnessed to one of them, he, like Andrew to Peter in the Gospel of John, also went and invited his friend. Ruth Kamanga, one of our sister’s at KBC, has been interpreting using sign language to James and Biggy. They are, however, literate. I have resolved to give them a handout of my sermons after the service. They seem to have found a home in our fellowship. Pray for the labourers who are gifted in this area. We are bound to just meet more of such and we are not going to turn them away on the basis of their hearing handicap. Thank God that Justin has given himself to learn this language and is already interpreting to them during the service.

Identity crisis: We have had to fight the issue of identity knowing that there are already two or three churches going by the names Baptist or Dutch Reformed. We have distinguished ourselves as a Reformed Baptist church. We are preaching biblical Christianity based on the gospel of Christ, the authority of scripture, the doctrines of grace and personal piety. By God’s grace we shall stand out. Being a Seventh Day Adventist dominated area, our motivation has been that we have the greatest need of the society, which is the gospel. On this we have stood firm in our determination to preach to the whole town of Monze. Our desire is to distribute the booklet What is a Biblical Christian? throughout the whole town. I can safely say that so far we seem to have covered more than half the area. 

The actual work

In the initial stages, we had midweek Bible studies organised by Pastor Raphael Banda from Mazabuka Central Baptist Church, but this has been discontinued due to a few technicalities. Some relate to the absence of someone on the ground to organisation the midweek meetings, resulting in low numbers at the meetings. Only the original three brethren used to meet when it came to meetings within the week, i.e. if they were all available that day. The need to have a more central place for midweek meetings has been another obstacle. With the withdrawal of the services of Pastor Banda, there is no one at the moment amongst the brethren who can handle Bible studies. Most of them are still growing in the faith. In the interim, we have just continued having prayer meetings on Wednesdays, door-to-door evangelism every Saturday, and preaching of God’s word on Sunday morning. A small number of people have been responding to the invitations, and some of them have continued to come. We can only hope and pray they find a home amongst us.

Support for the church

There has been overwhelming support from the KBC leadership and its members. We pray to God that such an outward-looking vision may continue as we seek to make inroads with the gospel not only within Lusaka and other cities, but also in the rural areas. Initially, there was a team which could go numbering four to seven. Now we have scaled down to just a preacher, who goes for three Sundays in the course of the month, while a group of labourers will only come along in the first week of the month. This poses a challenge to our visitation programme. Although every Saturday we always go out to invite people to come and attend the services on Sunday, our team of labours leave for Lusaka immediately after the Sunday service. 

The challenges

Ntanzana, one of the anchor men, has got a new job in Lusaka! However, we are not in despair for we believe that his task as an anchor man for the work has been done and life must continue. The need for more labourers is critical if the visitation programme is to succeed. We need to visit those who come to church on Sunday. The question of a permanent overseer may grant a lasting solution to this work. Our need to find someone who is “gifted” in sign language continues. So, if that is your area of giftedness, the Lord may have just opened a door for you in Monze. Just let us know!

The expectations

We are attempting great things for God, and are expecting great things from God. We desire souls to be converted to the Lord. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to open the floodgates of heaven and give the patience we need as we grapple with the challenges of the days of small things. Such days have the potential to cause discouragement and one may easily lose heart and focus. The men we are working with in Monze need to be grounded in the doctrines of grace. Therefore pray that such expectation might be realised.


Kennedy Kawambale preaching at one of the services

Time for rural evangelistic outreach is ripe. Our duty is to meet the people at their points of need in their own environment and language. The need for more labourers in this new work would be a welcome development, especially in order to make follow-up more effective. Pray to the Lord of harvest to grant us perseverance, patience and strength.

Kennedy Kawambale

 Mansa gets a New Missionary Pastor

After what seemed like aeons, Mansa Central Baptist Church (MCBC) in the Luapula Province of Zambia was blessed with a pastor. On 2nd August 2009, the elders of Lusaka Baptist Church (LBC) set apart Simon Mwango as a missionary pastor for the church which has been without an undershepherd for six years. Simon was set apart during a special evening service that was attended by representatives of six different churches from Lusaka (see picture below).

Elder Chikondi Phiri giving the charge to Simon Mwango

Simon testified that he is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He came to know the Lord in October 1994 after hearing the gospel preached in one of the Baptist churches in Kitwe in the Copperbelt Province. Soon after joining the church, his skills in preaching caught the attention of the pastor there and, before long, he began to preach regularly. He underwent studies at a Baptist Bible College where he obtained a degree in Theology.

Afterwards, Simon served the Lord in many capacities in different places. While he was Assistant Pastor in one of the Baptist Churches in Lusaka, he came into contact with LBC through the television programme, Opening the Book. Some time in 2006, he joined LBC. Simon came to know about Mansa Central Baptist Church while doing his internship programme at LBC. He felt drawn to the church during one of the mission trips that was organised for interns. Therefore, he did not hesitate to say “yes” when the Macedonian call was extended to him. Simon is married to Grace and they have a son, Shemaiah. 

The Copperbelt Annual Women’s Rally

The 11th Annual Copperbelt Women’s Rally was hosted by Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Ndola on 7th November 2009 under the Theme “A Quest for being a Zambian Christian Woman”. This is because it has been noted that faithful Christian women compromise in their Christian convictions and principles in the face of cultural and traditional pressures.

Mrs Tina Nyirenda (from Mount Makulu Baptist Church) spoke on “A Quest for Identity—What does it mean to be an African (Zambian) woman?” Mrs Elizabeth Kutontonkanya (from Kansenshi Chapel) dealt with “Cultural and Traditional Pressures which Challenge the Zambian Christian woman.” Mrs Alice Simfukwe (from Kansenshi Baptist Church) handled “Reconciling Christian Principles and Common Cultural Trends—Focusing Especially on Kitchen Parties” and Miss Ireen Mbewe (From Grace Reformed Baptist Church) spoke on “Challenges of Living with HIV/AIDS within the Church Family as a Woman.”

Mrs Alice Simfukwe addressing the rally

A record number of 130 women from thirteen difference churches turned up to hear these women. Representatives from outside Ndola came from Mount Makulu Baptist (Lusaka), Kabwata Baptist (Lusaka), Bethel Baptist (Kabwe), Nkana East and Kitwe Chapels (Kitwe), Trinity Baptist (Kitwe), Fairview Reformed Baptist (Mufulira), and Central Baptist (Luanshya). Then from within Ndola we had Grace Reformed Baptist, Ndola Chapel, Kansenshi Baptist and Ndola Baptist churches.

Lots of questions and contributions from the audience was an indicator that these were topics women wanted answers to. Many, therefore, greatly appreciated the fact that we can begin to discuss and address them in the church. We hope that the different churches can look at these issues in depth so as to come up with some sort of manual on what principles we ought to be holding onto and passing on to the next generation.

These are issues to ponder on until the next rally, the Lord willing, to be hosted by Luanshya’s Central Baptist Church on 6th November 2010.

Part of the audience at the rally

Tileke Mpazi (Mrs)

Grace Reformed Baptist Church

Induction at Kafue Reformed Baptist Church

On 30th August 2009, a new page was turned in the life of Kafue Reformed Baptist Church of Kafue town, situated about 50 kilometres south of Lusaka, Zambia. What began like a simple act of an overzealous group of Christians from Kabwata Baptist Church in the year 2000 has grown into a formidable local church. Our brother and friend, and now ordained pastor, Kennedy Sunkutu was in the group that conducted a “blanket outreach” over eight years ago in this town of Kafue. Kennedy had just become the Missionary Pastor for this work under the oversight of Kabwata Baptist Church.

The laying on of hands by the elders

Kennedy and I were together at Choma Central Baptist church in the early 90s. It was, therefore, a joyous and momentous event for me to attend and see my brother being inducted as Pastor for Kafue Reformed Baptist Church (KRBC). Joyous in that I was able to witness the faithfulness of God in keeping his promises. I further observed the full blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ taking root among the brethren at KRBC. These things God has done through the instrumentality of our brother, Kennedy.

The service had Mwamba Chibuta, one of the elders at KBC, as the worship leader. It was characterised by lively singing, as there were in attendance not only the usual Kafue congregation, but also a number of visitors from sister churches. The event also brought a good number of brethren who had been there when the work began in 2000 and during the subsequent effort of firmly planting the church. After the service, a meal was served by the ladies of Kafue and the time was spent in warm fellowship. In the course of the service, Pastor Conrad Mbewe of KBC, spoke on behalf of that church and other supporters, such as Heartcry Missionary Society, about Kennedy Sunkutu’s faithful labours and the work at Kafue. He spoke of their delight at the coming to pass of the induction of one of their missionaries as a local resident pastor. He also emphasised the need for the church to look after their pastor adequately. This induction was thus even more momentous in that it cast a challenge upon the membership of Kafue Reformed Baptist Church to look after their pastor and provide for him.

The actual induction was conducted by Seke Lupunga, the elder at KRBC, who read a statement on the ordination of ministers of God’s word, giving a brief description of the office of the minister of the gospel and then posing questions requiring assent by the inductee. Having conducted the solemn verbal oration, and received the duly sought affirmations, three brethren (Pastor Mbewe, and Elders Chibuta and Lupunga) laid hands on Kennedy. Mwamba Chibuta prayed for Kennedy in the office that he had been inducted into, commending him to the grace of the Lord. Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu, rose from his bended knee posture, and gave a brief statement of the things that he believes in and holds dear to his heart as fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Our brother Christopher Jonah, visiting from Sierra Leone, preached at this induction service.  It was a timely and pithy message regarding the pitfalls of Christian ministry. He drew lessons from Joshua chapter 7. This was centred on the children of Israel’s experience after crossing over into Canaan and of the humiliating defeat they suffered because of the sin of Achan. He demonstrated the need for God’s servants to obey God and remain godly and pure both in private and public life.

The Lord has proved himself true in the language of Paul to the Corinthians in his first letter in chapter 15 verse 58, “…your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” God has shown that it is his work. The Lord has been faithful, generally to our brethren at KRBC, and specifically to our brother Kennedy, in this missionary effort that has come to fruition. It is to the Lord that we therefore commend Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu even in years to come as pastor. It is our prayer that God will be pleased to crown his gospel with success, and prosper his work at Kafue.

Johnson Jilowa Malipenga

The Arrival of Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary

For the four Reformed Baptist churches in Lusaka who are playing host to the Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary (SGTS), it is clear that things are beginning to take shape. The arrival of Bruce Button, the Principal of SGTS, to take up residence in Lusaka makes the idea of a Reformed seminary operating from Lusaka with a continent-wide outreach much more real than would have seemed the case before.

Bruce Button, the principal of SGTS

Bruce arrived in Zambia on 17th October 2009 from Pretoria where SGTS had operated from since inception. He travelled by road with his wife, Vehlia, and three of their four daughters, Chiara, Charissa and Amy. Zoë, their oldest daughter, had travelled ahead of them on 11th October as she needed to write her final AS-Level exams here in Zambia. So, it was her privilege to receive the rest of the family.

The Buttons certainly have a story they will tell for a long time to come regarding all they experienced, both on the way and after arrival. However, the Lord proved faithful in all things. He has already provided them with very suitable accommodation. They were handed a perfect new year’s gift with the arrival of their goods from South Africa on 2nd January, 2010. Indeed the Lord wonderfully provided the resources for relocation through his people.

Bruce Button and James Williamson

SGTS also welcomes James Williamson from the United States, his dear wife, Sarah, and their five children: Ian, Sarah, Emma, Caleb and Jackson. They arrived in Lusaka on 21st January 2010. Their coming so shortly after the Buttons, is a great boost to SGTS and just puts a spring in everyone’s step. James will be dividing his time between SGTS and the Copperbelt Ministerial College. At the time of going to press they were on the not-so-joyous task of house hunting. Hopefully, the Lord will answer their prayers just as much has he had done for the Buttons.

Just to remind you, SGTS is a distance learning theological seminary, whose vision is “to be a centre of excellence for Reformed Biblical scholarship, devotion and teaching, impacting Africa with the gospel of Christ and a God-centred world view”. The implications are far-reaching and we have certainly placed much weight on the shoulders of these men. Please pray for their success.

Dennis K Chiwele

Board Chairman, SGTS

The 2009 KBC Junior/Intermediate Youth Camp 

On the 10th December 2009 all roads were leading to Kabwata Baptist Church, as parents and guardians dropped off their children and dependants who came to attend the annual youth camp. It was held from the 10th to the 14th December. This was the events’ tenth anniversary, so it was a memorable time for the organisers. The venue was Crested Crane Academy, a newly built school along Leopards’ Hill Road. It was a suitable venue to host the 10th camp.

The theme was “Vanity of Vanities”. The speakers were Pastor Saidi Chishimba from Faith Baptist Church, Kitwe, and Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu from Kafue Reformed Baptist Church. They presented the theme well.

We had almost 600 youths in camp, with a few attending during the day. These youths did not only come from Kabwata Baptist Church but from many other sister churches within and outside Lusaka. The youths ranged from 10 to 21. The camp was hence divided into two.  Those from 10 to 15 were in one group and 16 to 21 in the other, making in reality two parallel camps. The speaker for the junior youths was Pastor Chishimba and for the older group was Pastor Sunkutu.

To spice up the camp we had seminars which looked at practical issues that youths are facing. These were on “Culture and the Bible,” “Being a light to the world,” and “Contentment”. The seminars were well received by the youths, judging from the questions that they asked. Other activities were sports, Bible studies and evening camp fire. The preaching in the morning was followed by Bible studies so that what was preached would be applied in the Bible studies and also to help those who did not understand (even those who were dozing during the preaching sessions).

The afternoons were for seminars, which were followed by games. Every camper was required to take part. The games included scrabble, chess, basketball, volleyball, and football. These games were done according to groups as each camper upon registration was allocated to a group.  The groups that won the games accumulated points.

The evening sessions were followed by camp fire. This was a time for open sharing. There were both groups and individuals who shared songs and testimonies. This led to bed time around 22 hours.

The camp was a great success. We really want to thank the ladies at Kabwata Baptist Church who prepared meals for us. They did an extremely good job. And finally we gave thanks to God for the youths he called to himself in salvation during the camp. We had over 20 youths who professed faith. To God be the glory!

Chipita Sibale

KBC Pastoral Intern