The 23rd Zambia Annual Reformed Conferences

The 23rd Zambia Annual Reformed Conferences, which host the Family Conference for ‘ordinary’ church members and the School of Theology for those with a call to the ministry, were held from August 27th to 31st, 2012. The theme was “MISSIONS—Not Beyond Our Reach.”

This was a clarion call designed to challenge us to the work of international missions as well as with church-planting efforts in the next neighbourhood or town. It was clear that the Lord is calling us to lift our eyes for missions further afield, even beyond the borders of our country. With William Carey of old, we truly need to “expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God”.

We had an attendance of 1,200. Almost all the ten provinces of Zambia were well represented. People also came from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Dubai, Wales, and England. We had five preachers: Voddie Baucham (USA), Kabwe Kabwe (Ndola), Choolwe Mwetwa (Chingola), Conrad Mbewe (Lusaka), and Ronald Kalifungwa (Lusaka).

The sessions of the conference were arranged in such a way as to fully utilise the preachers and allow them to thoroughly and biblically handle their topics. With the exception of Pastor Baucham, all our local preachers would preach an evening session and then follow it up the following day with preaching and teaching sessions in both the Family Conference and the School of Theology, ending with a seminar in the School of Theology. All the preachers acquitted themselves exceptionally well by faithfully and biblically discharging their responsibilities.

Pastor Kabwe Kabwe gave the keynote address. Expounding John 4:27—38, he preached on the topic “The church is a sent-out community.” He asserted that it was the very heart of missions. Pastor Kabwe pleaded with us to use our gifts in the positions they are meant for in order to push forward the work of evangelism and missions. We are a sent-out community. Like Isaiah, he wanted more and more of us to respond, saying, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” The following day, Pastor Kabwe took both the Family Conference and the School of Theology through a message on the call of the church to missions. He read the Great Commission passages in the last chapters of all the Gospels. It was very clear from this that Jesus gave the reason for the existence of the church. The King himself commissioned the church to go and make disciples of all nations. He also promised that he would be with the church during its evangelistic/missions labours.

On Tuesday evening, Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa brought the Word of God to us. He preached on “The call of the man to missions,” from Acts 13:1-3. He particularly showed us how the calling of men to the work of missions is a work of the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus the calling of men to this work included capacitation, motivation, and compulsion. He did not hide the fact that he wanted to persuade a few “Jonahs” to put their hands to the plough. Among the signs that God is calling a person, Pastor Mwetwa pointed out, (1) personal desire, (2) ministerial abilities, (3) moral stature, (4) spiritual satisfaction, and (5) the church’s affirmation. Pastor Mwetwa drew attention to the fact that despite these signs, everyone who is truly called of God still feels a sense of inadequacy. He urged those who are sensing these signs to prayerfully seek counsel, use any opportunities in the local church to serve God, and let the church finally usher them into a field of service. He warned against raising the bar so high that many despair and never come forward to serve God. It is godliness that must be the chief qualification.

Pastor Conrad Mbewe preached on “The call of ‘Macedonia’ today.” Basically, this message was meant to urge the churches to go further than the next neighbourhood or town in their church-planting efforts. Using Acts 16, 17 and 18, he showed how nothing short of spiritual obedience on the part of the apostle Paul enabled him and his team to go as far as taking the gospel into Europe. He also warned that there would be a price to be paid—a price of sacrifice and suffering—if we obeyed the Lord and took the gospel further afield. Finally, for the encouragement of those present, he showed from Paul’s example that our overall strategy need not change—that of going to population and economic centres first rather than starting with those people who, humanly speaking, would be easier to reach.  This we were already doing! The following day, Pastor Mbewe handled both the Family Conference and School of Theology. He basically handled the second part of “The Call of ‘Macedonia’ Today”. He dealt with statistics, showing how the Reformed Baptist movement in Zambia had grown from 4 churches to over 40 in 20 years. All the major cities in Zambia have been covered, with Lusaka alone now having 10 Reformed Baptist churches—and counting! This was work already accomplished. He then challenged us to consider two areas of Zambia that had the least Reformed Baptist churches—the western and northern regions of the country. He pointed out the rural areas, which are filled with ethnic religions and Christian cults. These were areas we needed to seriously consider entering with biblical churches.

Then he took us into the famous “10/40 Window” and showed shocking statistics of how so few people groups there were evangelised. The Jews, the Moslems, the Hindus, the Atheistic Communists, etc., were all in this region and they were the least evangelised on the planet. There was need for us to be relevant to world evangelisation by going to such places with the everlasting gospel.

On Thursday evening, Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa preached from John 6:22—40. He said, “‘This is beyond our reach’ is the average attitude of many churches towards missions. Many say this because of their small size or because they think they are too weak to be God’s instruments in missions. Others are merely lazy and see lions standing in the way of their dreams. Against all this, we must realise that missions is not beyond our reach—because God did not fail to lay the foundation of the salvation of the elect.” Pastor Kalifungwa exhorted us to see that nothing is impossible with God. We must reflect this image of God in the work of missions. We must be motivated to pay the price of missions because there is a reward. The reward is the heathen. We will receive the satisfaction of winning the heathen. The following day, in both the Family Conference and the School of Theology, Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa preached on the cost of missions.

Starting with Colossians 1:19-24, Pastor Kalifungwa explained what “filling up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ” meant. Ultimately, it pointed to suffering in the establishment of the church on earth. In practice, Pastor Kalifungwa showed that it demanded being willing to (a) lay aside comforts and security, (b) give our wealth for the sake of the gospel, and (c) lay down our lives. Pastor Kalifungwa also urged us to avoid a triumphalist mentality because preaching the gospel invariably brings suffering. Rather, we are to rejoice in our suffering for the cause of the extension of God’s kingdom.

Pastor Voddie Baucham preached every day in both the Family Conference and the School of Theology. He began the theme of missions from the Old Testament all the way to the Gospels in the New Testament. Drawing our attention to Matthew 23:15, he showed us “the great clue” about missions from the Old Testament. Pharisees, obeying the Old Testament, were crossing “land and sea” to make proselytes. That’s missions! He then went to Genesis 12:1-3 where he pointed out that “all the nations of the earth would be blessed” through Abraham. He then went on to show passage after passage in the Old Testament—from the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and the Prophets—that God wanted “all the nations” to know him for who he really is. Our God is truly a missionary God.

From the Old Testament, Pastor Baucham went into the New Testament. Starting with the Gospels, he showed how passage after passage showed that missions was at the centre of God’s purpose for his people. Thus, when Jesus gives “the Great Commission” he was not giving a new instruction! God has always been on a mission. God has always called, taught, and sent his people to be on mission. The whole of biblical revelation is missional in nature and scope. Pastor Baucham taught on the role of the family in the success of missions. His message was very clear: The family has an important role to play in the work of missions. It is the first mission field for any missionary because his children do not yet know Christ. It also plays an important role in validating his claims. He quoted John Stott, who said, “It is not enough to receive the gospel and pass it on; we must embody it in our common life of faith, love, joy, peace, righteousness and hope.”

We also had news about the work of Reformation from Kenya, Ghana and Dubai given by Pastors Sam Oluoch, Ferguson Kcofie, and Richard Ngwisha, respectively. It was heart warming to see that the Lord is also at work among his people elsewhere. Ken Turnbull spoke on the developing work of the African Christian University and Seminary, and James Williamson told us about the Copperbelt Ministerial College and the Lusaka Ministerial College. It is encouraging to note the biblical training going on and being planned for men called to the ministry as well as for Christians in general.

It was indeed a time well spent at the feet of men of God as they brought a word in season from the Lord. It was also an excellent time of fellowship and keeping the embers burning.

Next year’s conferences, 26th-30th August, will be taken by none other than Don Carson and Thabiti Anyabwile. Registration will begin in May 2013 on the Kabwata and Lusaka Baptist Church websites. Plan to be there!

Charles Bota

Conference organising team chairman

My Experience During the SOLA 5 Conference in Swaziland

It was a joyous experience to have been part of the 2012 SOLA 5 conference in Manzini, Swaziland, a picturesque kingdom-country with a surface area of 17,363 square kilometres, of which 160 is water. The conference took place at Emafini Christian Conference Centre, between Mbabane and Manzini. It took place from the 6th to the 9th of September. The last day of the conference was held at Manzini Fellowship Church in Manzini.

Zambia was represented by four churches; namely, Lusaka, Mount Makulu, Kabwata, and Bonaventure Baptist churches. It was such a glorious time for me, especially because my going to the conference was a last minute decision. If only I had known what blessings awaited us there, I would not have even waited for the elders to ask me to accompany the other members of Mount Makulu Baptist Church.

The theme of the conference was “Loving Christ in all of life”. It was a time of God’s providence for me, for who knew how I was going to get to Swaziland? I could not book myself on the coach from Johannesburg to Mbabane as it was full. I needed to have made the bookings seven days before departure but was only doing it thirty-six hours before departure. I thank God for Hein Strauss who arranged a family to pick me up from the ORT International airport in Johannesburg, en route to the conference. Fellowship began from there until the end of the conference.

Dr Coetzee and his wife made sure that I was at home as we travelled. Even during the conference time they would look out for me to ensure that all was well. This for me was “Loving Christ in All of Life” being put in practice. Here were people meeting me for the first time, but the shared bond in Christ was like we had known each other for a long time. The sermons were already being preached before the conference even began, through this kind family. This same kindred spirit was to be wonderfully manifest throughout the conference among the rest of the brothers and sisters who were in attendance. I truly wish the conference had gone on for a little longer. The sessions were so spiritually enriching that I wanted to permanently sit at the feet of those godly men, listening to them faithfully expound the word of God. The Manzini Fellowship Church members were just another lovely group of God’s people who made our stay memorable.

The theme was subdivided as follows: “Loving Christ because he first loved us” by Peter Sammons; “Loving Christ at home” by Doug van Meter; “Loving Christ at work” by Sybrand de Swardt; “Loving Christ at play” by Gus Pritchard; “Loving Christ at church” by Irving Steggles; and “Loving Christ in the world” by Christo Beetge. At the end of each session, I was left searching my heart to see whether I was practicing this kind of love. I was made to see my shortcomings and prayed that God would mould me into the right kind of man for his work. Oh, that the world might see the love of Christ in us, being put into practice in all areas of our lives!

Then there was the time for reports. The report from Mozambique was so moving, touching to the core of our hearts. Listening to reports, one could not imagine what our brethren were going through just to get the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the remote areas of that vast country. The area sounded not only very impassable but remote as well. This commitment and service to the Lord Jesus Christ fitted in well with the theme of the conference. Without realising the extent of the love of Jesus Christ even our commitment to the things of God would be mediocre. This indeed was “Loving Christ in the world” truly manifested. This spoke to me, and to think of what I put into the work of the Lord as being nothing. This was a time for the challenge to the entire church. I wished more members from our churches were there in order to appreciate what had been learnt in all the sessions. We were challenged in one of the sessions to stop dividing our lives into sacred and secular portions, if we were to love Christ at work.

During the general business seesion, membership applications of two churches were approved and they became part of the SOLA 5 family. These were Antioch Bible Church from South Africa and Fellowship of Believers in Christ from Mozambique.

Dan Mukutuma

Mount Makulu Baptist Church, Lusaka

The 14th Copperbelt Annual Women’s Rally 2012

The 2012 Women Rally on the Copperbelt, was the 14th annual rally to be held. The theme of the rally was Raising Teenagers in our Homes’, and was hosted by Fairview Reformed Baptist Church of Mufulira. The planning had started a good ten (10) months before the date of the rally on 3rd November. Prayers for not only the success of the event but meaningful reunions and biblical instruction were solicited from all the ladies in the fraternal. The rally is usually a joint co-operation among the Reformed Baptist fraternal on the Copperbelt.

When the actual date arrived, the mood of the women at Fairview Reformed Baptist Church was one of excitement and great expectations. Cooking started around 05:00AM and the guests started arriving around 09:00AM. The commencement of the programme was slightly delayed. However, when the sessions started, they all went on well.

The first speaker was Mrs Irene Singogo from Ndola Baptist Church, Ndola. She gave a description of teenagers in terms of physical development, mental and sensual changes that adolescents go through and the implications of these changes in the lives of teenagers. She focused her expository thoughts on Luke 2:41-52 and Luke 15:11-20 to give biblical examples of teenagers.

The second speaker was Mrs Loveness Chabu of Eastlea Assemblies of God Mufulira. She ably highlighted the signs and signals to look for in teenagers, which may indicate they have started going in the wrong directions, and how we are to address them effectively.

The third speaker was Mrs Alice Simfukwe from Ndola. She was the one tasked to teach parents of teenagers on the effective remedies and measures to prevent teenage “delinquency”. Faithfully expounding Deuteronomy 6:4-9, She compassionately guided parents of teenage children and gave them hope that all is not lost when their teenagers have kind of messed things up. She spoke from the wealth of biblical teaching and parental experience, as one who has ‘been there’. She showed that the preventive tools lay in Christian parents living godly lives and the teenage children finding salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.

The last session was a Q and A session, which was marked by deep concern over the extent of involvement of teenagers in illicit sexual activity and drug abuse. Due to the limitedness of time, many questions were not asked or indeed answered, but the hope is that the women will continue to interact with one another and tackle these challenges in their various fellowships back in their home churches.

The total attendance was 107 registered guests, beside the women from the host church. The record speaks for itself that the rally was a success. The women came not only from the Baptist Churches but also from the Chapels, Pentecostals and other evangelical churches from as far as Kabwe, Chililabombwe, Chingola, Luanshya, Ndola, Kalulushi, and Kitwe. Our sister Kakonde Siamutela-Simbeye, manager of Evergreen Bookshop of Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, was at hand with a book table, providing very good books meant to strengthen Christian women in their faith and role in the family and church.

The venue for the 2013 Copperbelt women’s rally is set for Chingola and the host will be Central Baptist Church of Chingola. Women, lets mark our dairies.

Margaret Sakala

Fairview Reformed Baptist Church, Mufulira

 

The 2012 Christian Business Seminar

It is a well-known fact, that many Christians face many challenges when attempting to engage in some form of business as a livelihood. The environment for doing business is fraught of unethical practices, which tend to cause so many Christians to falter in their spiritual walk with the Lord, as success in business, especially on our continent, is spelt with words that begin with the letter ‘C’: compromise, corruption, crookedness, criminality, and so on. Is it possible then to run a successful business solely on principles of Christian morality and integrity?

These and many other issues became points for discussion at the business seminar, in October 2012, under the theme, ‘Christians conducting business in the secular world’. The guest speaker was Bheki Macwele, one of the largest poultry farmers in Swaziland. The seminar was held at Dream Valley Lodge, and had over 80 participants from different churches within Lusaka.

Mr Macwele was born in 1948 and has lived his whole life in Swaziland. He pursued a diploma in mechanical and electrical engineering. His journey into the business world started when he was 48 years, after retiring from formal employment. His working experience saw him work for the Central Transport Department and thereafter at the Electronic College in Swaziland. Later, in 1972, he joined Coca Cola Company working as production manager until 1980, when he left to join Shell Oil as distribution manager. He studied commercial subjects and was later promoted to the position of managing director, a position he held until retirement in 1996.

The management of the two companies led Mr Macwele to believe that he was sufficiently prepared to run his own firm and his love for farming led him to consider poultry farming. He started two businesses at the same time, a commercial poultry farm, handling in excess of ten thousand chickens every eight weeks, and a wholesale and retail LPG distribution business, the second largest in his home country.

Mr Macwele ably handled the theme of the seminar, ‘Christians conducting business in a secular world’, delineating some of the pitfalls that Christians should look out for and avoid, if they are to do business in a way that glorifies God.

One of the pitfalls he discussed, which in many ways has led to the downfall of so many businesses, was that of the employment of family members. He noted that despite the good intentions people had in doing so, most businesses have been known to have been run aground, as most of these family members have been employed without due consideration to whether they are suitably qualified to do the job.

He also noted that once the Christian kept his stance not to engage in any forms of bribery, soon the word would make its round and people would know that your dealings in business are fashioned by Christian ethics. He argued that the defining goal of one’s business, as a Christian, was to conduct it in an excellent way so as to glorify God, and that the business would speak for itself. Speaking from personal experience, Mr Macwele also advised the participants on handling matters of unfaithfulness among those who were employed.

After the seminar, those who had specific interests in poultry farming held another meeting with Mr Macwele, who gave them valuable tips on how to rare chickens.

Another business seminar is scheduled for October 2013, and our guest speaker will be a local entrepreneur. These business seminars started as bi-annual seminars in 2004, born out of a concern by the elders of Kabwata Baptist Church, as a way to encourage and offer counsel to Christians in business. Many were convinced that these seminars were to become a tremendous source of encouragement and as a place to nurture one’s faith. This persuaded the elders of Kabwata Baptist Church to have these business seminars on an annual basis.

The first speaker was Nico van Der Merwe in 2004, the author of What does God know about business? It is an autobiographical account of a successful South African businessman’s conversion to Christ, and of his steadfast determination to involve God in all aspects of his business and personal life. This moving testimony explores the ways in which each of us ought to bring God into our everyday lives, and touches on such deep personal and spiritual issues as integrity, adversity, the fear of failure, lust, materialism, pride, debt-free living and burnout. This book provides practical guidelines on how to counteract some of these “red lights on the dashboard of life”, and is supported by the author’s own inspiring experiences of God’s influence in his life. Whether you are tired of spiritual mediocrity or are just looking for down-to-earth answers to some of life’s many challenges, this excellent book will certainly motivate and energise you. This story, of one man’s journey with his God, will encourage you to develop the kind of faith that puts God at the centre of your life, both at home and in the workplace.

The second seminar was held at the Dream Valley Lodge speaker in 2008 was John Temple, a businessman and author of Be successful, be spiritual. The book deals with issues that hinge on building a Christian worldview. It handles themes such as: a Christian lives out his faith on a 24/7 basis; how do Christians glorify God through their lives; and pointing others to Christ. It also handles issues to do with a Christian worldview that governs the economy and the Christian’s behaviour at work. It discusses how Christian managers ought to fulfil their responsibilities, whether they accept current secular views taught at the business schools. It also handles issues of how public companies are to be run; issue of pension; dealing with stress and problems at work; a Christian attitude to wealth, etc.

The third seminar 2010 was also held at Dream Valley Lodge and was handled by Musa Phiri, a Zambian running a successful architectural business in the diaspora, in South Africa.

Kakonde Simbeye

Evergreen Christian Bookstore Manager

 The Kabwata Baptist Church Pastoral Internship Programme

(From A Letter From Kabwata Blog of Pastor Conrad Mbewe)

et me begin this blog post by allowing our current interns, Chopo Mwanza and Sydney Kombe, to tell us how they have found the programme as they come towards the end of their one year with us. (Scattered across this post will be photos of some of the other men who have been through our internship programme).

* * * * *

 CHOPO MWANZA:

 

I came to Kabwata Baptist church for my internship in January this year with several expectations. The first one was to experience and be part of a church that has an evangelistic thrust and fully committed to missions. The second expectation was to witness and learn biblical church government. I was eager to see how an eldership functions. I further wanted to see how a pastor can have a sustained and effective ministry for a long time.

come to the end of my internship I can confidently say my expectations have been met. One of the first things that were made clear to me was the fact that Kabwata Baptist is “outward” looking. Every ministry is evangelistic; the church is always looking for ways to reach out to the world. Providentially, I came at the time of the missions conference. The church’s heart for missions was clearly evident, through the giving, the prayers, the concerns and the support towards missions and the missionaries. It was clear to me that the church exists to reach out to lost souls.

Working with the elders at Kabwata has been a learning curve for me. It has left me convinced that plurality of elders is the biblical church government. What made my internship even better was the fact that it was done in partnership with Lusaka Baptist church. Not only did I learn from probably the biggest reformed churches in Zambia but also two experienced pastors, in pastors Conrad Mbewe and Ronald Kalifungwa. It was a privilege to have them pour their lives in my life.

The four years of theological training gave me the tools to work with while my internship was a workshop where I actually used the tools. It’s my prayer that I will continue using what I have learnt till “the church is built and the earth is filled with God’s glory.”

 

 SYDNEY KOMBE:

I came to KBC as an intern on 21st January 2012. It has proved to be a fruitful experience. I came having a stereotyped mentality with regards to ministry. I never knew that pastoral ministry goes hand in hand with administrative traits. I have learnt this in my internship. Observing and participating in the running of the church and its ministries has sharpened me.

When the internship program commenced, I was on an observing side. In the second quarter, participatory strands got extended under observation. In this last quarter, I am more in the running of the church programs and other ministries reporting to me.  My duty is to update elders of the happenings.

KBC has served me the way in which Antioch Bible Church did while I was studying at Bible College in South Africa. KBC is a viable and reliable launching pad to reaching Africa with the gospel. It is well vested with the manpower to equip men like me to do effective ministry. The essential place of godly character and devotion to the spread of the gospel is what has been passed on to me.

During my internship, I have observed that my commitment to the work of ministry and the word has really developed. Cardinal administrative skills have been developed—and I am still developing in them. This is because you are given very clear areas of responsibility as an intern with the purpose of shaping your focus on what is important. Thus you are helped to do the Lord’s work with excellence.

As my time at KBC draws to an end, I can say that it was time well spent, which will have an effective impact in my ministry for many years to come, through the fruitful discipleship and edification of the saints, to the glory of God.

* * * * *

Our pastoral internship programme has continued to grow. Next year (2013) we are expecting three interns—Matthews Fikati from the Copperbelt Province, Kuyumbana Poniso from the Western Province, and David Chibanga from the Lusaka Province. These men commence their stay with us in January 2013. God has also given us a former pastor with vast experience to coordinate this work.

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that we were purchasing two houses to accommodate our interns. In fact, at the time of that post, the purchase of the first house had been concluded. We have struggled a little to find an appropriate second house but we are almost there.  This will enable us to accommodate a maximum of six interns at any one time.

Our idea is to make our internship programme open to anyone across Africa who is preparing for pastoral ministry and who would like an exposure in how a Reformed Baptist church functions in its membership, its meetings, its ministries, its officers, and its missions work. This is meant to augment the training that such a person has already received in his Bible College training. We are willing to consider anyone, as long as they have commendation from their church leadership and are willing to learn. We provide a small pocket allowance and accommodation for the entire period of the internship.

I would like to urge readers of this blog to pray for these men who come to us that God will use our church to hone the gifts that these men have so that they can blend what they have learnt in the classroom with what they experience in the context of a lively congregation whose life and ministry is fashioned after the New Testament. We have no doubt that it is when these two things come together in souls that are filled with the grace of God that we shall see well-trained men go out and lead churches that will truly impact the world and glorify Christ, the head of the church.

If you know anyone who is interested in such a programme, or you are interested in such a programme yourself, get in touch with us at tulip@iconnect.zm.