A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Welcome 2011—A Word from our Pastors

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

As the year 2010 draws towards an end, I have asked my fellow editors of our local magazine, Reformation Zambia, to share with my regular blog readers something of their observations about 2010 and also something of their burden and challenge to us for 2011. They are all pastors of churches here in Zambia and, therefore, are sharing what is very much part of their oversight over God’s people. Not all of them have been able to beat their deadlines and so this blog entry will grow until, hopefully, it has seven contributions. So, until you see all seven of us, keep peeping on this page!
ISAAC MAKASHINYI—Pastor, Emmasdale Baptist Church, Lusaka

On the last Saturday of each month, members of our congregation go out for evangelistic outreach in the community around the neighbourhood of our church. Through these evangelistic efforts, it is becoming increasingly clear to us that the number of Moslems in our area has been growing as we have continued to encounter professing native Zambian Moslems. I think Islam is undoubtedly gaining remarkable momentum in Lusaka and parts of Zambia. Due to poverty levels in our country, Islam has made significant and conspicuous inroads into our religious landscape through the construction of mosques, schools, orphanages, and other development projects. By these means, there has been a subtle Islamization of native Zambians, posing one of the greatest challenges to Christians in Zambia.

As we move into the New Year, we cannot afford to ignore the growth of Islam in Zambia. We need to acquaint ourselves with the Islamic faith’s presence in Zambia and the various methods it uses to proselytise native Zambians. We must emphasise the exclusivity of the Christian faith in our witness of Jesus Christ. I pray that the Lord will open wide the doors of opportunities to witness to the Moslem community, to build a robust apologetic towards Islam, and for the salvation of some of our native brothers and sisters who have been caught up in the web of deceit that Islam weaves.

KENNEDY SUNKUTU—Pastor, Kafue Reformed Baptist Church, Kafue

As a pastor, what I find most challenging is getting church members to regularly participate in the work of evangelism. The year 2010 was no exception. Our evangelistic efforts in the past few years have been centered around “the Book Table”, on the first Saturday of every month. This is when we display Christian Books and Bibles for sale at a strategic point in the town centre and engage in street evangelism. We also distribute a monthly bulletin, which has a gospel message and some information about church activities that month. The year started off with most members turning up to participate in this activity, but as the year went on, sometimes only two people would turn up to engage in this important work. I am sure other pastors will testify to a similar experience!

Therefore, as 2011 commences, I appeal to those of us who are pastors to teach our members the importance of consistently participating in the work of evangelism. At KRBC, there is a seminar on evangelism planned for January. Other seminars and Bible studies on evangelism are also planned for later in the year. Let us not give up training members in this important work because, as the saying goes, when we stop evangelizing we start fossilizing!

KABWE KABWE—Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Ndola

One great challenge in the life and ministry of the church during 2010 is the clear absence of the transformative power of the gospel in our communities and a strange silence from the church on several issues affecting society.  This obviously suggests that there is something amiss. The church may still be embracing a compartmentalized Christianity, which separates personal salvation from the rest of life’s activities. I say so because many Christians have entered the corridors of powers at political, economic, social, and civil levels. Ordinarily, we expect to see great social transformation, but alas, we continue to hear reports of increased malpractice and corruption. One wonders, where is the salt and the light?

John Stott once said, “You cannot blame the meat for going rotten. That’s what meat does. You should blame the salt for not being there to preserve it!” I believe the church is largely responsible for the moral, political, economic, and social decay of our society. Why should the gospel, which is the power of God [Rom 1:16-17], have such a weak influence on our world? Maybe it’s time to take stock of our gospel. There could be a hole in our gospel, in our lives, and in our churches!

VICTOR KANYENSE—Mount Makulu Baptist Church, Chilanga, Lusaka

2010 is speedily coming to a close and 2011 is right at its heels. It is easy to become so used to beginnings and endings such that we lose sight of spiritual realities. It is easy to allow other concerns of life to cloud our vision and we become so insulated to those things that ought to weigh heavily on our hearts as of primary concern: evangelism and missions. Let us always hear the voice of our Saviour calling us to the unique mission He commissioned the church to carry out (read Matthew 5:13-16).

Let us also not become insensitive to the plight of people around us. By plight, I mean both the spiritual and physical conditions that people are in. Let us not close our hearts to them as though they didn’t exist. Let us beware, as Reformed Baptists in Zambia, of the danger of reinventing ourselves from a spiritual force for evangelism, missions, and biblical reformation into a middle-class social clubbing society of friends, insulating ourselves from the disconcerting realities that stare us daily in our eyes. Let us not withdraw into our middleclass comfort-zones. Beloved ones, let us get out of the saltshakers!

CONRAD MBEWE—Pastor, Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka

As 2010 draws to a close, I am reading Mark Dever’s book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. I am realising afresh what effect healthy churches have on the entire fabric of a nation. To begin with, they produce a generation of Christians who are God-centred in their personal, family, community, and professional lives. Isn’t this our nation’s greatest need? If each town had one or two robust churches that have a regular diet of solid and powerful expository preaching, and ensure their evangelistic and missions zeal is at white-hot heat, imagine what difference this would make to our nation.

Therefore, let us pray and pay the price to plant churches across Zambia that are robust and truly God-glorifying. Let us also ensure that churches thus planted maintain their evangelistic and missions fervour. Let us see to it that the pulpit ministry in such churches challenges Christians to “subdue the earth” as part of their daily worship. It is such churches that will be fertile nursery beds for godly families, professionals, politicians, and businessmen and women. Since only God can give birth to such a spiritually robust movement, let us be much in prayer for this across 2011. Amen!


Ronald KalifungwaPastor, Lusaka Baptist Church  

2010 engendered a fourfold concern for me: The first relates to the pressures our church members are living under in our increasingly sophisticated society. The more they are caught up in the web of career advancement and the trappings of modern society, the more their churchmanship is being eroded. Next comes the apparent lack of interest in reading, in theology, and in the vocational ministry in a growing number of our young people. Furthermore, some of our more prominent churches were unable to adequately support their ministers. And finally, the inadequacy of our witness and influence in our society and culture, as a church at large, is a matter of great concern. 

Going forward, I don’t think that the answer lies in imbibing the strange spirit of much of the modern church; rather, we need to re-emphasise and contextualize, not just the old time theology, but also the old time devotion that went with it. If we would avoid becoming a society of the theologically and spiritually stunted in days to come, we must urgently reverse the above mentioned trends and pray and work for a second reformation that is firmly rooted in Christ and in that form of sound words that reformed theology so eloquently expresses and which, under God, can transform not just our churches but also our society at large and the largely godless culture that shapes it.

2 comments:

  1. May next year be a good year, of teaching and learing. May God bless you with wisdom and increasing faith.
    May God gaurd you from the world that so easily intangles.
    God bless

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great men of faith!!!!!!!! May the LORD continue to add Grace to your ministries.
    Aka

    ReplyDelete