“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).
Last 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 (photo above) will still continue working with Seke in the eldership, and it is hoped 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.
It was on 1st October 2000 that Kafue Reformed Baptist Church had its first church service 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 and started renting a room there 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. 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 arsenals 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 (seen saying his ordination vows, being prayed for, and also with family on the photos across this posting). It was not long before the church recognized 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 (whose congregation and buildings can be seen above) 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 put 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 on 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!