Pastor Lawrence Lama on one of his preaching assignments

[Late last year, Pastor Lawrence Lama made a pastoral move from Bethel
Baptist Church in Kabwe to Ndola Baptist Church. Below is the testimony he gave during his induction as to how the Lord had led him and prepared him for the pastoral move.]
My pastoral journey started on January 1, 2000, upon graduating from the then Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA), which is now the Evangelical University (EU). Mansa Central Baptist Church called me to be their third pastor after Pastors Michael Bwembya and Evaristo Mutoya. I served the Lord in Mansa for five and a half years. Mansa Central Baptist provided an opportunity for the growth and nurturing of my preaching and leadership gifts beyond theological school. When we sensed that our work in Mansa was done and the desire to relocate and be near the family grew, I joined the Zambia Baptist Association (ZBA) on the Copperbelt Province as General Secretary.

While at ZBA, I served as an elder at Kansenshi Baptist Church. This
role in the church helped me to fill the void that I felt for not serving the Lord in full time pastoral work. The ZBA provided opportunity for me to consolidate my theological convictions and to widen my ministry as I interacted with the various pastors in the association. The challenge with the work at ZBA was the frequent travels that I needed to undertake. By the fourth year at ZBA it became clear that the frequent travels were having a negative impact on my family as an absentee husband and father. We felt led to move back to the local church from the association. Therefore, in August 2009, I accepted the pastoral call to Bethel Baptist Church (BBC) and we relocated to Kabwe.
We enjoyed our ministry at Bethel Baptist Church (BBC) with a supportive eldership and diaconal team. The membership was equally supportive and appreciative of my ministry among them. This was seen in their desire to learn and apply the biblical truths that were taught and preached. We further appreciated the friendship and generosity that they showed us as a family while we laboured among them.
We never anticipated a move to Ndola Baptist Church. We had been convinced that we would retire at BBC and be buried in Kabwe. When we accepted the call to pastor BBC in 2009 our resolution was to serve the Lord
and retire at Bethel Baptist Church. My personal conviction is that the pastorate is not a short-term assignment and it is not a hit-and-run business, but rather it is a long-term labour among God’s people. My wife and I resolved that we would not entertain any call to the Christian ministry away from Kabwe, and from Bethel in particular.
However, from about 2016 a popular question from many saints was whether we would consider leaving Bethel or we would never leave the church at all. We understood this as an indication that perhaps it was time to re-think our prior conviction and resolve about the ministry at Bethel Baptist Church.
Another strange providence happened a while back. A brother from Bethel informed me that while visiting Ndola Baptist Church (NBC) with his daughter, he told her that I would be the pastor of NBC. I reminded the brother that the gift of prophecy had ceased. So, where in the world was he getting such unscriptural assertions from? Nonetheless, he was convinced that one day I would pastor Ndola Baptist Church. I think he was careful not to say, “I sense it in my spirit,” as spiritual Baptists do. Well, we agreed at that time that I would prove him wrong. From hindsight, perhaps, I should have left the matter in the hands of God who is sovereign. Ours is to submit to his sovereign control.
In May 2017, when I was teaching at the Copperbelt Ministerial College, I received a phone call from one soft-spoken elder of Ndola Baptist Church (NBC). My initial assumption was that he was going to request me to preach at their church. To my utter surprise, he was asking me if I would consider the NBC pastorate. Upon my return to Kabwe, my wife and I discussed, prayed and sought counsel over the issue for some time. As months went by,
my wife and I had a sense of peace over the issue and we informed the elder of NBC to present the name to the church for consideration. I was informed on May 25, 2018, that the members had voted affirmatively for me to take up the pastorate at NBC. The elders at BBC, while sad and emotional about the development, responded that they would let God do his thing and not stand in what they understood as God’s providence unfolding. Some members were not impressed with the elders. They regarded the elders’ response as non-persuasive and a failure to convince me to stay.
Nevertheless, the elders were convinced that this was the Lord’s
working. With much struggle, emotion and sensitivity, they explained that they would not stand in God’s way as he was accomplishing his purposes in the wider body. In due course, the members reluctantly gave us their blessings. The reading of God’s providence, the counsel from friends and mature saints, the reading and conviction of God’s word on the matter, the peace experienced, the unanimity as a family, the response from the BBC eldership and, of course, the call from NBC have been some of the indicators that the step we took was the right one. God had led us on that path and our conviction is that he will continue to do so. We pray that the purpose for which God has led us this way will be realised as we individually and corporately submit to his will and leadership.
May we by his grace be enabled to serve him diligently and faithfully for his glory in his church. Thank you.