20th Zambia Annual Reformed Conferences

The 20th Annual Reformed Conferences were commemorated from 24th to 28th August 2009 in Lusaka Zambia with much soberness of heart as well as much pondering upon the word of God amidst renewing and fostering of fellowship among brethren of like mind. For the first time only local speakers handled both Family Conference and School of Theology on the theme “The whole of life under the whole of Scripture”.

Our hearts were vigorously challenged through plenary sessions and elective seminars handled by Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa (Chingola Central Baptist Church), Alfred Gevara Nyirenda (Mount Makulu Baptist Church Lusaka), Pastor Conrad Mbewe (Kabwata Baptist Church Lusaka), Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa Lusaka Baptist Church) and Pastor Victor Kanyense (Mount Makulu Baptist Church).

Indeed, very few left without thinking how their lives ought to be reformed in their personal devotions, marriages, bringing up children, work life, serving God in volunteerism, and so on, after listening to the powerful expositions of the word of God. The sermons were recorded and are available on www.kabwatabaptistchurch.org, the Kabwata Baptist Church website. A DVD of the conference, professionally done by ZOAR Trust, will also be available for sale from the organisers, and an announcement will be placed on the KBC website when they are ready.

Furthermore, sessions where news from the churches was shared, and inter-church projects discussed, exercised our minds in terms of what the Lord is doing among brethren of like mind in Zambia and beyond. It left us with a true sense of “the Lord has preserved a remnant that has not bowed the knee to Baal”. It also added fuel for the early morning daily prayer meetings. The day sessions saw an average of 450 attendants; and more than 700 worshippers were at the evening sessions. Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Australia and, for the first time in 20 years, all the nine provinces in Zambia were represented. As an added bonus, every one of the attendants went away with free books that were a donation arranged through Professor Jim Grier who was one of last year’s conference speakers. This was indeed a true spiritual feast!

Thanks go to the four hosting churches (Lusaka Baptist, Kabwata Baptist, Mount Makulu Baptist and Evangel Baptist churches) as well as to the many brethren who assisted in accommodating, transporting and catering for our visitors. Your labour and sacrifice in the Lord is not in vain. Finally, praise be to the God and Father of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who “has brought us this far by His grace” these twenty years and more. To him alone be the glory!

Charles Bota

On behalf of the organising team

 Testimony from a Conference Attendee

 

I came to Zambia this year (my last year for studies) with one major request, “Lord give me a vision worth dying for”. It pleased God to answer this prayer at the 20th Zambia Annual Reformed Conference. His work was wrought in me through the couple who housed me, fellowship with the participants from around the world, but chiefly through the ministry of the local men God appointed to preach his word. Although God used all the sessions I attended to impact my view of ministry (primarily my view on the role of regular church members and how they can impact the work of the ministry), it was during the message on Wednesday morning 26th August, on evangelism and missions that God came and spoke in scary clarity.

As the call to suffering for the sake of missions was given, the Spirit imprinted the call to missions on me. The time has come when indigenous men should take the mantle from foreign missionaries and go to hard-to-access regions and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lamb has paid the price for his elect and he calls us to go and lay claim to his reward. He called me to go. Now as I graduate in December 2009 and head back home I know what he wants me to live and die for: “The glory of his name through the salvation of men among unreached people groups.”

Another thing that inspired me is how the organising team of local God-loving professionals from the business sector and the Air Force, doctors, and all manner of professions organised and largely ran the event. This inspired me to speak with a friend back home in Kenya, who has an MBA and works in the risk department of a bank in Nairobi. He was challenged to hear of men who are using their God-given abilities (which might not entail standing behind a pulpit and preaching) to glorify God in the work of the ministry.

May God bless all those that he used to make this event possible, the organisers, financiers, preachers, hosting couples, and all of his other un-hailed servants. To them I say a big “Thank you.” Please pray that the fruit which was realised at this year’s conference may be abiding and will result in the salvation of souls for the glory of God.

Kenneth Mbugua

Bible College student from Kenya

 2009 Antioch Youth Conference

 

The 2009 Antioch Youth Conference was held on 6th & 7th July at Kabwata Baptist Church. The theme for the conference was, “True spiritual investment.” We were seeking to show the youths that the investment that counts even to eternity is only that which is made in the work of the Lord our God. The preachers were Pastor Kendall Holley and Pastor Conrad Mbewe. Their respective texts were Haggai 1:4 and Mathew 6:19–24.

The titles of the sermons were as follows, with their respective Bible texts: “Why the house of the Lord lies desolate” (Haggai 1:4); “Why the building must not cease” (Haggai 1:4); “Treasures, masters and the location of our hearts” (Mathew 6:19–24); “Spiritual dangers of earthly progress” (Mathew 6:19–24); “Thieves of Spiritual Investment Part I—Worldliness” (Mathew 6:25–34); and “Thieves of Spiritual Investment Part II—Worry” (Mathew 6:25–34). It was a blessed spiritual feast.

We had over 300 youth on both days. Most of them seemed happy with the conference as a whole, appreciating the theme, the preaching, and how the conference was organised. After each morning session the attendees would break up into smaller groups for Bible study, based on what had been preached. The preaching and study sessions were intermingled with times of snacks, tea breaks, and lunch. Evergreen Bookstore was also on hand with books to sell. A number of the churches and colleges to whom invitations were extended had youth representatives attending.

Some youths even had presentations in the form of poems and songs. On the second day, which was the last day, there was a question and answer session with the speakers. This helped some young people get further clarification on the issues they had heard preached. Our only lament is that if we had had better publicity we would have received more youth than we had.

The psalmist says had it not been for the Lord our enemies would have swallowed us. Our hope and desire is that the Lord will be pleased to bless these feeble efforts for the salvation of his elect and the edification of his church. Soli Deo Gloria!

Billy Sakavuyi

The Birth of Solwezi Reformed Baptist Church

 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this (ISAIAH 9:7).

12th July 2009 on the Zambian calendar is just an ordinary day, yet in reformed circles it was the day that a reformed work commenced in the North Western Province town of Solwezi. It was a Sunday service with a difference. Being the first of its kind, it was well attended, a heaven drawing opening prayer, singing characterised by vim and vigour, and the preaching powerfully exulting! It really was a reverent yet joyous inaugural service held on the not-so-chilly winter afternoon.

Strictly speaking, North Western Province has been the only province in Zambia without a Reformed Baptist work. In a country where the Reformed work has been in existence for over twenty years, the burden to have a Reformed work in every province has been felt by every Reformed Baptist. For Chingola Central Baptist, being the nearest Reformed Baptist Church, the burden was felt a whole lot more. This burden for quite some time had been laid before the great throne of the Almighty, our gracious God. The more the burden was felt for this work the more passionate the prayers of the saints at Central Baptist Church, Chingola (CBCC), grew.

In 2008 the elders at CBCC started talks with brethren staying in Solwezi and Lumwana with reference to the commencement of this work. Early 2009 saw an initial team of brethren travel to Solwezi basically to scout for a meeting place and establish contact for this purpose. In the month of May, some brethren from the missions department travelled to finalise issues to do with the meeting place. From this trip it was clear that God’s hand and blessing, by way of open doors, was upon this commission. Not only was the meeting place in the centre of town, it was a commodious, high rate conference hall on hand, compliments of a local businessman, Mr. Chikoti. The brethren came back to Chingola rejoicing that the Lord had answered the prayers of the saints. Accompanying the prayers were preparations for the first service set for 12th July 2009.

Some brethren travelled on Friday 10th July as an advance party. They were tasked with publicising the first service of this work via banners and posters. They were joined by a second group on Saturday the 11th. With the aid of a ZANIS public address system, part of the team drove around Solwezi in the morning for four hours announcing this great invitation, while the rest of the team went to extend the same to the students at Solwezi Teacher’s Training College. In the afternoon the team did a door-to-door invitation in the immediate neigbourhood of the meeting place. After the second group had left, the first group attended a Nurses’ Christian Fellowship meeting at the Nursing School and was given an opportunity to extend this invitation through the fellowship.

More than 10 families from CBCC travelled to Solwezi to attend this first service, using a bus belonging to one of the church members. While in Solwezi the bus was used to pick up students from the Nursing School and the Teachers’ College. The service, held at Mr Chikoti’s Chiko Inn Conference Hall, started at 12:00 hours. If the volume of singing by the throng of fifty-six bears any relation to the blessing people receive, then the floodgates of heaven had certainly been opened—the roof was raised several times! Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa (of CBCC) preached from Isaiah 9:6–7 and passionately exulted over the increase of Christ’s government! Indeed this afternoon was a clear testimony of this increase! After the service there was a fellowship meal during which there was affable interaction.

Even if the 12th of July was an ordinary day on the Zambian calendar it was indeed an extraordinary day in the increase of God’s kingdom in Solwezi!

Mlingo Mwambu

CBCC Chairman of the Missions Department

 Southern Province Regional Reformed Conference

The Southern Province Regional Reformed Conference was held at Trinity Baptist Church from the evening of Sunday 5th July 2009 to mid-morning Tuesday 7th July 2009. Apart from a few invitees from within Livingstone, the bulk of the people that attended the conference came from the three Reformed Baptist churches in the Southern Province. These are: Central Baptist Church of Choma, Central Baptist Church of Mazabuka, and the host church, Trinity Baptist Church of Livingstone. This was the second such conference in the Southern Province, the first one having been hosted by Central Baptist Church in Choma in 2008.

The theme of the conference was “The Five Solas” (i.e. Sola Scriptura, Sola Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gracia and Soli Deo Gloria). One marked feature of this conference is that while the inaugural event of 2008 was held over just one day (24th October) and all participants from outside Choma made a day trip on the day of the conference, this second one was held over three days with participants from outside Livingstone arriving on the first day of the conference in time for a presentation of the historical background to Sola 5.

 Organisation

In terms of organisation, the hosting church worked tirelessly both before and during the conference to ensure that the visiting brethren were well catered for and to ensure minimum disruption to the flow of presentations. The Lord, and the Lord alone, attended to all our needs such that when the conference ended no complaint was heard about either the visitors’ stay or the soundness of the presentations. Accommodation was arranged in homes of Trinity Baptist Church members and also at Chimilute Trust Academy, where the male youths stayed. To allow for full attendance of all sessions by everybody (particularly ladies), an external caterer was engaged.

Attendance

The conference is meant to introduce those who are outside the Reformed Baptist fraternity in the province to the things most surely believed among us. Hence it was gratifying to note that, apart from the members of the three Reformed Baptist churches in the province, there were also a few people from within Livingstone and five men from Sesheke, where a mission outpost is being established. Altogether, more than 150 people of various ages attended the conference. The preachers were Victor Kanyense, pastor of Mount Makulu Baptist Church in Lusaka, and Ronald Kalifungwa, pastor of Lusaka Baptist Church also in Lusaka. The two men did such a good job that the people in attendance eagerly anticipated every session.

Conference Outcomes

As Trinity Baptist Church we are thankful to the Lord that he allowed us to host this conference and feel what it is to go through such an activity. One clear outcome was that the sister churches in attendance decided that even the conference for 2010 should be hosted by Trinity Baptist Church. We praise God for this honour. Secondly, it was resolved at the end of the conference that we make the July long weekend break the regional conference time. Thirdly, the conference was enjoyed by everybody because of the way presentations were done, while of course admitting the fact that a few young Christians had difficulties conceptualising the Five Solas. 

Lessons Learned

Organisation requires an early start to avoid last minute panic. Admittedly, the organising team did the best they could, considering that they had their usual secular jobs to attend to. It also helped to have a cross-section of talent and experience involved in the process of organisation.

  1. As we are basically young churches with many youthful members and seekers after the faith who are not so well-grounded, we need topics that will also disciple such ones.
  2. The programme was so packed that there was hardly space for one-to-one interaction in between sessions, especially on the second day, which was a full day. 

Challenge & Prayer Request

We were seriously constrained by sanitary inadequacies on the church premises. We are thankful to the Lord that two homes within our vicinity allowed us the use of their facilities.

Please pray:

  1. That we shall have an ablution block to provide adequate sanitation to all our guests next year. Pray with us that the Lord may provide resources for the construction of the same.
  2. That the organisation of the next conference will be even better than this year’s.

Michael Bwembya

Trinity Baptist Church, Livingstone

 Kafue Reformed Baptist Church comes of age

(From Conrad Mbewe’s blog post of 6th July 2009)

 “Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust” (Acts 14:23).

On Sunday, the 5th of July 2009, one of our elders, Mwamba Chibuta, and I spent the morning in Kafue at an ordination service where Seke Lupunga was being set apart as an elder of Kafue Reformed Baptist Church. What made this event so special was that Seke was the first elder of the church to be ordained since its inception in the year 2000. Also, now that the church had its own eldership in place, Kabwata Baptist Church also weaned it so that the church would no longer be a daughter church. Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu will still continue working with Seke in the eldership, and we hope that the church would soon call him to be its pastor. We would appreciate your prayers as the church begins to work in this direction.

Kafue Reformed Baptist Church had its first church service on 1st October 2000 after members of Kabwata Baptist Church did a blanket visitation in town to introduce the church and the missionary pastor. Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu had just moved from Luanshya where he had resigned his job as a lecturer at a college in order to give himself to the establishment of this church in Kafue. The first service was held in his home with almost the entire congregation being made up of his own family. A few weeks later, the church moved into a building called Vision House. Here a rented room was used for their worship services.

For the first few months of Kennedy’s labours in Kafue, an American missionary, Frank Maxson, worked with him to see this church off the ground. Frank and his family, however, soon moved to Malawi. Due to the paucity of labourers in these early days of the planting of this church, a number of members at Kabwata Baptist Church literally changed churches and started driving all the way to Kafue town to attend Kafue Reformed Baptist Church (a distance of about 45 kilometres). They essentially helped with the leading of worship services so that the pastor could concentrate on preaching. On Saturdays, these individuals also helped with following up people who came to church the previous Sunday. In fact, one home group at Kabwata Baptist Church even turned all its evangelistic arsenal in the direction of Kafue and for over a year spent their Saturdays helping out with the work there.

In 2004, the church acquired a piece of land and started to put up a meeting hall there in 2005. Although the hall is not complete, it is habitable enough and the church has been meeting there since 2006. In the last few years, Pastor Sunkutu poured his life into three men, with a view to help them mature into leaders for the church. One of them was Seke Lupunga. It was not long before the church recognised this man’s eldership qualities and chose him to serve in that capacity. Thus, it was a real joy to be part of the team that set him apart as the first resident elder of the church.

Kafue Reformed Baptist Church has over the years developed a number of ministries to reach out to the inhabitants of Kafue. They have the usual ministries found in most churches that target children, youths, women and men. They also have a monthly book table that they set up along one of the corridors in town and use that to make vital contacts with those who express interest in the literature on display. Using Pastor Sunkutu’s background in education, they also run a college on the church premises where they train teachers for kindergarten schools in town. They use this as an evangelistic opportunity to the young adults who attend the college.

Kabwata Baptist Church is particularly grateful to HeartCry Missionary Society who faithfully helped us with finances to meet part of the financial demands that kept Kennedy in the mission field. Now, Kafue Reformed Baptist Church should soon be taking over this financial task. A light has been lit in Kafue for the gospel of Christ and this light, the Lord willing, will continue to burn brightly until the Lord returns so that the people of Kafue can know the truth of God and the way to heaven. We thank God for this partnership that has given birth to this church. To God alone be the glory!