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!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bible Colleges Worth Attending In Zambia--Covenant College

[Last week I forgot to add my usual introductory statement at the commencement of the blog post on a Bible College worth attending in Zambia. This week I should not commit the same omission. I represent Kabwata Baptist Church on the board of trustees of the Covenant College and so have been involved in this college at a policy level. We have also reaped quite a number of missionaries from the graduation podium of this college. So far, all these men have proved themselves very capable for the work of church planting. I will let, Dr Heinrich Zwemstra, their recent principal, tell us about this college in the heart of the Eastern Province of Zambia. Heinrich, over to you...]

Covenant College is part of Covenant College Zambia Trust, registered with the Registrar of Societies in Zambia.  It is situated 400km east of Lusaka on the Great East Road, close to the town Petauke.  The College was started in 2001 because in the Eastern Province there are a lot of lay pastors who are enthusiastic about preaching the word of God, but they never had the opportunity or means to go and study somewhere.  Some of them did not even have the opportunity to finish school.  They are a lot like Apollos in Acts 18:24-28.  

Many of them are good preachers, but they have never learned how to use their God-given gifts and knowledge.  The work which Covenant College does, through the grace of God, is therefore very important. They equip pastors (like Priscilla and Aquila did with Apollos) so that they understand the gospel in the right way, and preach it in the right way.  In this way there are more and more pastors who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their own people, and consequently the church of Zambia grows in quality and in quantity.

David Lachman, presently the only full-time lecturer, with his wife and child
Mission Statement
Covenant College strives to glorify God as an interdenominational training institution, on a Reformed basis, which assists local churches with the training of their pastors and men who have pastoral responsibilities, mainly focusing our efforts in the Eastern Province of Zambia, seeking to strengthen the church of Jesus Christ and extend the Kingdom of God.

Who do they train?
They aim to train male church leaders who have not received adequate pastoral training. These men must already be involved in pastoral work. Their church must recommend them for training.
They value a good relationship with local churches. They encourage them to send students to Covenant College and accept the graduates for ordination in their respective churches.   

Why do they train?
The college’s desire is to assist churches by training their leaders. They pray that the training the students receive will lead them to increasingly glorify God, grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, show true faith and sanctification, become better witnesses of the Gospel by their words and example, and enable them to equip the members of their churches for ministry inside and outside the church.
The college believes that the Word of God should take full control over religion, culture, and the daily life of every Christian. For a pastor to lead his people into this reformation of life, he needs to be trained in explaining and applying the Bible.

Students in class during a normal day of lectures
What do they teach?
Their curriculum focuses on the main theological subjects. They aim to give the students a thorough understanding of the Bible as a whole and as individual books. Using Systematic Theology, they stimulate a consistent understanding of Biblical truths. They teach the students about the history of the worldwide, African and Zambian church. They concentrate on practical subjects: preaching, pastoral work, missions, and governing the church.
All the teaching is based on the Bible. Their interpretation and application of Scripture is guided by several Reformed Confessions. These are the Westminster Standards, the 1689 Baptist Confession, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Three Forms of Unity. They do not force these confessions on their students. Instead they show the students the value and usefulness for their theological development.

The character of their training
Covenant College approaches teaching comprehensively. Teaching should encourage spiritual growth, instil a servant’s attitude, develop intellectual gifts, and shape practical skills. Under practical skills they concentrate on farming, so that pastors are better able to support themselves and their families.  When they develop such skills, their life and business becomes an example of Christian stewardship and responsibility for their church and community.  They are also mentored with pastoral sessions and visits to the churches in which they are serving.
We offer three year courses at Diploma and Certificate level. For the Diploma, we are accredited with Mukhanyo Theological College in South Africa.  For the Certificate some teachers teach in both English and Chinyanja.

Children being taught in a community school supported by Covenant College
Other ministries
Each year there are women’s meetings at the College for the spouses of the students.  The wives of the missionaries discuss the women’s work in the churches and other relevant topics.  These meetings are very special for the women.

Not only is the training of pastors important, but also to bring the gospel to children.  Every Saturday children from the villages around the college come for the children’s ministry.  Miss Marjanne Hendriksen takes the lead in teaching them songs based on Scripture, telling them stories from the Bible and helping them to colour a picture about the story. During the semester some students and teachers from community schools help her.

Together with Zambian helpers Miss Hendriksen also visits community schools in the area and gives the teachers training in how to give Christian education to the children.

Most of the pastors training at Covenant College are tentmaker pastors who make a living through farming.  Because of this they are also given training in farming.  The College itself is situated on a farm and provides food for the students who live there and receive training during the week.  The farm is also a good example of how to farm, and they are privileged to have a good agriculturalist, Mr Phil Bailey, who takes the lead in this ministry.  Recently Jackson Kasolo, a Zambian from the Copperbelt, joined him in leading this ministry.  He also stays on the farm with his family.  They do not only train the students, but also teach the rest of the community good farming methods.  A lot of people from the nearby villages are employed as pieceworkers on the farm

Phil Bailey with his "Farming God's Way" team on the farm
The college tries to keep contact with the students who graduated.  Therefore they have conferences where they provide them with further training.  They also invite pastors who have not yet studied at the college to encourage them to come for studies.

Currently there is one permanent lecturer at the College, Rev. David Lachman.  He is sent by the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) and also stays at the college with his wife and two children. He is assisted by 3 local teachers.

For more information contact Rev. Lachman at dlachjr@gmail.com or visit the website http://www.cczt.org

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