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!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bible Colleges Worth Attending In Zambia—The Copperbelt Ministerial College

Below is my second last instalment on Bible colleges in Zambia worth attending. I had chosen eight colleges and this is the seventh. It is about the Copperbelt Ministerial College. This college is headed by one of my closest friends on the planet, and probably the best mind that we have in Reformed Baptist circles in Zambia. I am, therefore, not surprised that the college is beginning to have an impact on the spiritual landscape of Zambia. I will allow the academic dean, Kabwe Maybin Kabwe, to give us a bird's-eye-view of this college.

Kabwe Kabwe (left) and Choolwe Mwetwa (right) standing with the
Jim Savastio (USA) and Austin Walker (UK) when the college opened in 2007
The Copperbelt Ministerial College (CMC) is a ministry of the Reformed Baptist Churches of the Copperbelt. The college was established in 2007 and had its first module in July 2007. The college offers a 4 year Bachelors’ degree program for theological study.  The Bachelors’ degree is certified by Reformed Baptist Seminary in the USA.  The primary focus of the college is to equip men for pastoral ministry; the curriculum has been developed specifically to fulfill that very purpose. The College offers intensive courses in all areas of study necessary for the men to be competent and well prepared for every good work in ministry.

The Method of Training

We follow a modular approach of teaching where two courses are taught in one week consisting of 12-15 lectures each. A module is conducted once per quarter, totaling eight courses per year. This flexible method, allows students to remain in their full time employment and still profit from live lectures. The college is hosted at Grace Reformed Baptist church in Ndola. During the one week students are hosted by members of Grace Reformed Baptist Church. A students’ guest house is currently under construction.

CMC students busy in class during a lecture session
We recognize that no school can or should take the primary role of ministerial training, which is the responsibility of the local church through experienced pastors.  Therefore, the college demands that students participate in supervised ministerial work during their training. An internship and mentorship program is integrated in the training. Students are assigned to church leaders for this very purpose.

All courses taught consists of  12 - 15 hours of lecture, 300-500 pages of reading, 10-20 pages of writing assignment(s), and a final exam. The assignments are taken home after each module and completed in between modules.
 Admission Requirements
 CMC is a college only for men committed to pursue pastoral ministry.  The following are the admission requirements:
·       Grade 12 or evidence of equivalent educational level.
·       Letter of request from the student explaining his interest in and desire for training at CMC and expressing an awareness of and willingness to abide under the doctrinal framework of the college.
·       A letter of recommendation and confidential reference from a church officer approving the student’s desire to study at CMC.
·       Completion of the college application form and submit a spiritual autobiography
We have a rolling admission, students can register at any time of the year

Joe Simfukwe lecturing on the subject of death and dying
Courses offered
There are four major areas of study: Biblical and Exegetical Theology, Systematic Theology, Practical and Pastoral Theology, and Historical Theology.  A minimum of 30 courses from these four field areas of study must be completed in order to graduate from the college.  A completion of 130 credit hours is required in order for a student to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree and each course completed earns 3 credit hours.

Details of the courses covered:

Exegetical Theology
The Pentateuch
Old Testament Biblical theology 1
Old Testament Biblical theology 2
New Testament Biblical theology - Gospels and Acts
New Testament Biblical theology - General Epistles
Biblical Languages- Greek and introduction to Hebrew

Systematic Theology
Introduction to Systematic Theology
Doctrine of God
Doctrine of Christ
Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Doctrine of man
Doctrine of the Church
Doctrine of Salvation
Doctrine of the last things
The Covenants

Mark Chanski, a pastor from the USA, lecturing
Practical and pastoral Theology
The call and character of the man of God
Biblical Counseling and Visitation
Evangelism and Missions
Christian Ethics
Apologetics and Polemics
Spiritual Disciplines
Biblical Government and Administration of the Church

Historical Theology
Church history – Early and medieval
Church history – Reformation
Church History – Early American Christianity and modern missions
African Church history

Other courses
Death and Dying
Cultural redemption

The Kayombo brothers, who are both students and pastors, with Sam Waldron (USA)
Graduation requirements
·       Passing a comprehensive exam at the end of the full program, which covers everything the student, has studied.
·       Presenting a thesis paper consisting of 20,000-30,000 words.  The topics are approved by the Academics dean and the principal before the student proceeds with his paper and should be written according to the outlined standards of the college. 

CMC Administration

We believe that the men providing theological education should be the men Christ has gifted to be pastors/teachers with pastoral experience. (Eph 4:11; 2 Tim 2:2)

The lecturers are pastors with vast rich experience, published authors, and men with advanced theological degrees. The following are some of the current faculty members and past lecturers. They include Sam Waldron, Austin Walker, Rich Barcellos, Ronald Kalifungwa, Mark Chanski, Choolwe Mweetwa, Jim Savastio, Stephen Gambil, James Williamson, Robert Elliot, Conrad Mbewe, Gordon Taylor, Ronald Baines, Dave Merck, Brian Borgman, Jeremy Walker, Alan Dunn, Lou Sloger, Joe Simfunkwe, Lazarus Phiri, Victor Kanyense, Salvador Gomez, Kabwe Kabwe and others

The CMC student guest house under construction
Administrative Structure
Principal - Choolwe Mwetwa - Pastor of Central Baptist church - Chingola
Academic Dean - Kabwe Kabwe – Pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist - Ndola
Assistant Academic dean – Mondesters Hakanyanga - Pastor of Luanshya Central Baptist Church
Mentorship Dean –  Ndonji Kayombo - Pastor of Trinity Baptist church – Kitwe
Internship Dean  – Emmanuel Sakala – Pastor of Fairview Reformed Baptist – Mufulira
International Coordinator – James Williamson of Kabwata Baptist church
Administrator – K Katongo Kafuko of Grace Reformed Baptist Church - Ndola

After 4 years of intensive work the first group of students will graduate on 28th April 2012.

The graduating students are:
Emmanuel Sakala, pastor, Fairview Reformed Baptist of Mufulira
Dr Grave Singogo, pastor, Ndola Baptist church
Ndonji Kayombo, pastor, Trinity Baptist of Kitwe
Mondesters Hakanyanga, pastor, Luanshya Central Baptist of Luanshya
Albert Ngoma, pastor, Calvary Baptist of Chipata
Marshal Kasongo, pastor, Mapalo Reformed Baptist of Ndola
Francis Nyati, pastor, Lubuto Central Baptist Church, Ndola
Jacob Mwila, pastor, Solwezi Reformed Baptist Church Solwezi
Nickson Chipozo, pastor, Mine ECZ  of Chililabombwe
Cephas Phiri, Bethel Apolistic Church, Ndola
Kasango kayombo,  Pastor of Ibex Hill Reformed Baptist Lusaka
Mr Peter Mukalula, a deacon at Kalulushi Baptist Church  
Mr Cosmas Simaunda of Fairview Reformed Baptist Church,
Mr Dennis Phiri of Anglican church of Ndola

How you can contact us
K Katongo Kafuko - Administrator            
(cmcndola@gmail.com)                 097 7 872994  or 0212 611612     www.copperbeltcollege.org  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two New Interns At Kabwata Baptist Church

Kabwata Baptist Church has a one-year internship program through which we seek to mentor men preparing for pastoral ministry. This is because we are convinced that men need to have a three-dimensional view of what pastoral ministry looks like in a well-ordered church before one can expect them to be ready to take on such a big responsibility. Classroom theological training, as important as it is, is not enough. This year, our two interns are Chopo Mwanza and Sydney Kombe. I will allow them to introduce themselves.

My names are Chopo Chikomekome Mwanza. I grew up a very angry and bitter person, because my father refused to take responsibility over me, having been conceived out of wedlock. That meant I had to move from one house to another since my mother was not in a position to support me. I was angry with God, my father, and the world. I thought I deserved better. In 1998 I heard the gospel at a camp, were I was shown that I deserved nothing but hell. I gave my life to Christ that day. Throughout secondary school I would teach and preach the word but never thought about ministry. My goal was to become a lawyer.

In 2006, a cousin offered me an opportunity to do nursing with a goal of joining her in Scotland. It was during the same time I was seriously sensing the call to ministry through my devotions, sermons, and people giving advice. I tried my best to ignore the call and avoid it but I eventually submitted and surrendered my life to work for the Lord. I have done my theological training at Central Africa Baptist College, and graduated this year (December 2011). I am still seeking the Lord’s leading as to what step I should take ministry-wise. I, however, think the ministry experience and exposure to be gained at Kabwata Baptist Church will be very valuable.

* * * * * *
My names are Sydney Bwalya Kombe. I was brought up a religious person. If morality was one of the qualifications for heavenly inheritance; I was one of the qualified candidates. At the age of eighteen, in 1998, I heard the gospel preached after watching a Jesus movie. At the end of the movie, the presenter proclaimed the unadulterated gospel, and also answered my question. He said that unless I repent and believe on His sufficient death on the cross unto salvation, I would suffer from the eternal damnation. I could not remember how the whole thing happened, but I just found myself on my knees pleading for the Lord's mercy and forgiveness.

In 2008, I was called for training to South Africa at a Baptist seminary - Christ Seminary. Coming from a Charismatic background, I had theological struggles. But in due season I found my own theological stance founded on the infallible truth of God’s Word. Then, I had the privilege of doing my internship in South Africa at Antioch Bible Church under Pastor Tim Cantrell whilst undertaking studies at Christ Seminary. Pastor Cantrell, along with my seminary professors, advised me to find a like-minded church, so that my personal and ministry life could be nurtured. Praise be to God for the unceasing love He has shown me in enabling me to serve at Kabwata Baptist Church as a pastoral intern.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Charles, I can see why our wives married us.
My mirror makes me wonder these days!
I think that this is the first time I am writing a tribute on my blog to someone who is still alive. I am doing so for two reasons. Firstly, Charles Bota’s birthday party is one that I should never have missed if I had the gift of prophecy.  I am away on a preaching trip. Secondly, this is a friendship that has lasted almost as long as I have been a Christian. Outside the circle of my friends who are fellow pastors, my friendship with Charles is perhaps the closest and has been that way consistently for some thirty odd years.

In our early years
My memory of our friendship, Charles, goes back to our student days in the early 1980s. I was studying at the University of Zambia while you were studying at Evelyn Hone College. I admired your musical talent and cherished every opportunity to hear you sing, while playing the guitar. When your first music tape came out in the early 1980s I quickly bought my copy and played it again and again and again. To me, Prodigal Son is still the best piece of music ever written. I still play it repeatedly on my iPod.

When I came to take up the pastorate at Kabwata Baptist Church (KBC) in the second half of the 1980s, I often wondered who among my friends in Lusaka would ever leave the comforts of Lusaka Baptist Church (LBC) to come and help me. I determined not to ask any, lest it looked as if I was poaching people from across the hill. I was thoroughly touched when I heard that you had announced at LBC that you were moving to KBC.

In the early years of my pastorate, I always thought God had plans for the two of us to be the Zambian equivalent of Dwight L Moody and Ira Sankey—or Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows! Whereas I did not think I had the preaching gifts of Moody or Graham, I knew that you would easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Sankey or Barrows. Hence, our Christmas evangelistic tour across Lusaka in the late 1980s was a small fulfilment of that longing. However, I soon discovered that my calling was to the pastoral ministry and not to crusade evangelism. And so the dream was nipped in the bud.

One characteristic I remember about you in those early days of your working life was your friendliness especially with young people. Even after you got married to Mavis, it took a long time for them to see you as “Mr Bota”, i.e. as someone with whom they must now keep some safe distance. It was always “brother Charles” whenever they needed something—money, transport, essential commodities, etc. I am not sure how Mavis managed in the midst of all this, but I can well imagine that it was not easy since she is more of a private person. Well, that was then. Now that you are the deputy general manager of the largest chain store in the country, we all feel the distance. Hahaha!

In my times of crisis
There were two periods when your friendship rescued me from sinking in my pastorate.

The first was in the late 1980s and early 1990s when we had serious shortages of essential commodities in Zambia and you were working for NIEC Stores. I have never forgotten how you would call to ask if there was anything we needed—salt, sugar, cooking oil, mealie meal, etc.—and then you would ensure that these were delivered to our doorstep. This certainly ensured that my wife and I did not spend whole days on long and winding queues outside shops waiting for these essential supplies. It meant that I could concentrate on pastoring and preaching. Felistas certainly appreciated this help because it meant that her much-needed household supplies were always at hand. What more can a wife ask for from a husband’s friend?

The second was in 2003 when the KBC eldership got stuck in mud and I was ready to quit the pastorate altogether. There were things I could not even tell my wife because I needed her to maintain relations with my fellow elders and their wives, but I needed an outlet for my emotions lest I go mad. You came in at just the right time. I particularly recall the outing when you took me for dinner and I cried like a baby. I knew I could be vulnerable in your presence. I dared not do so with my wife or I would have really spoilt her relationship with the other elders. That remains etched in my memory. Thanks a lot.

In the KBC eldership
Well, now you are in the eldership at KBC. I have never forgotten being told that when you bade farewell at LBC, you jokingly said something like, “I am leaving for KBC because at LBC I do not think I can ever even be chosen as a deacon, let alone an elder.” Well, you have certainly waited patiently and in 2008—almost twenty years later—you finally made it. I think that you can compete favourably with vultures in patience.

There are three attributes that you’ve brought to the KBC eldership that are worth being mentioned here. In these three areas I would want to believe that we are like two peas in a pod, but I must admit that I sometimes feel threatened (smile!):

Order: I thought that I was the most organised guy around until you came along. I have since noticed that you have a place for everything and everything in its place. All the work that we throw onto your plate soon finds its place in your labyrinth of activities and never falls through the cracks. Hence, our eldership continues to be very organised.

Efficiency: When I need something done “yesterday” I know exactly who to ask in the KBC eldership. In fact, sometimes you are like God. I mean, you seem to answer just before I ask! I recall once or twice when I have blown the offside whistle and, thankfully, you have gracefully taken a few steps backwards so that I still think that I am leading.

Care: In our oversight work, i.e. door-to-door visitation among the flock, you are light-years ahead of all of us. When there is an illness or a funeral or a newly born baby, I know that if I do not get there quickly I will hear that you have already been there. You take time to pray for and to pray with both the strong and the weak among God’s flock.

And in conclusion
Well, brother, I can go on and on, but that will not do your ego much good. So I must end here. All I can say for now is, “Welcome to the fifties, Charles!” Half a century on God’s planet is no mean achievement—especially in urbanised Africa. Too many of our friends, especially those without Christ, have already kicked the bucket. So, this is a time to thank God for his saving and sustaining grace.

And now a word to the two most important human beings in your life—your wife and your son: Mavis, many thanks for being the companion you have been to Charles. What a gift you are! Taonga, if there is one birthday present you can give to your dad, it is your yielding your heart to Jesus that Christ may be your Saviour and Lord. Amen!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The 2nd Zambian Baptist Historical Society AGM

“He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God” (Joshua 4:24).

The Zambian Baptist Historical Society (ZBHS) held its 2nd Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 10 March 2012, at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Lusaka. The current ZBHS chairman, Paul Mumba, led the meeting. In this blog post, I will report on a few highlights from this event. In other words, I will skip the boring administrative stuff!

Paul Mumba, the chairman, leading the meeting
Rev Misheck Zulu shared from Joshua 4:1-7, 24. He emphasised God’s concern that despite our short memories we should still remember his mighty works in history. God knows how we think and so he instructed Joshua to put up the memorial. This shows us the importance of history. Therefore, we too need to put up such memorials to remind us of God’s faithfulness and grace to us as Baptists in Zambia. We have a multi-generational task. We need to inform generations yet unborn about our God. Rev Zulu urged all of us to renew our commitment to the avenue that this Society gives us to secure the memories of the Lord’s grace to us as his people.

Later in the program, Rev Thomas Lumba gave the historical presentation. I always look forward to this because it is what the ZBHS is all about—history! Rev Lumba told the meeting that he was inspired to write about the history of Baptists in Zambia by the doctoral thesis of Rev Saunders that he found in the library of the Baptist Theological Seminary when he came to study there over twenty years ago.

Misheck Zulu sharing from Joshua 4 about the importance of history
Rev Lumba spoke of the early Baptist work in Zambia, which was started by the British Baptist missionaries in 1905, followed by the Australian, South African, and Swedish Baptists. He then spoke more specifically of the start of the Southern Baptist work in Zambia after 1957. He gave the background of what happened in Southern Rhodesia, which finally gave birth to the work in Zambia. The first Southern Baptist missionaries were Tom and Mary Small, and Zeb and Evelyn Moss. He mentioned the fact that when these missionaries initially came their aim was to start schools and health centres, but when they arrived on the Copperbelt they were moved by the number of lost souls and hence they commenced church planting work instead.

At that time, in 1960, the missionaries in the Congo were suffering persecution and many had had to leave. Some came down to the Copperbelt and their stories of horrendous suffering melted the hearts of their fellow missionaries. They also contemplated leaving until Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 strengthened them: “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” Hence, they proceeded with the work that we are all beneficiaries of.

Thomas Lumba sharing on early Baptist history in Zambia
Rev Lumba highlighted about eight lessons that we could learn from the missionaries and indigenous leaders from this early period. Some of the lessons included recognising the prior work of others, focusing on church-planting, accepting separation from brethren for doctrinal reasons, recognising that our wills may not be God’s will, learning the local customs and language, recognising the strength of team work, depending on God through prayer and study of God’s Word, and involving local leaders as much as possible. These lessons were evident from the historical narrative he shared with us.

Rev Lumba ended with the story of a young missionary wife, Thelma Kite, who was tragically killed in a car accident on 13th October 1970, barely six months after arriving in Zambia as a missionary. He urged Baptists present to honour such lives because it was due to their sacrifices that we are where we are today!

Money matters - Seke Lupunga giving the financial report
In the chairman’s report, Paul Mumba informed the meeting about the donation of Trekking in South Central Africa by Clement Doke, which was being sold in order to raise funds for the Society. We were also told that the Society organised a day of historical lectures in Kitwe last December. Similar days of historical lectures were to be organised in 2012. The chairman also talked about the visit of the leaders of the Society to the place where the first Baptist work commenced. He ended by appealing to those present to renew their membership, donate towards the projects to be undertaken by the Society, and to deposit any documents of relevance to Baptists with the Baptist archives.

I had the privilege of presenting a five-year project proposal for the ZBHS to adopt. The first Baptist church building in Zambia was completed and opened in December 1916. So, in December 2016 it will be 100 years old. The SBHS executive committee, on which I sit, was proposing that we organise centenary commemorative activities at Kafulafuta Mission on that occasion. Our goal was to raise K150 million ($30,000) between 2012 and 2016, i.e. K30 million ($6,000) per year. Then we would hire a contractor to refurbish the building and the gravesite in time for the commemorative activities in December 2016. Thankfully, the project was adopted by the AGM.

Part of the attendance at the Zambian Baptist Historical Society AGM
One last item worth mentioning on this post was that before the AGM ended, two individuals were remembered for their service among Baptists in Zambia. The first was Percy Chisenga, who had gone to be with the Lord on 29 February 2012. He had planted three churches, with the last one being in Malawi. The second was a couple, Franklin and Paula Kilpatrick, who had retired from the mission field in the course of last year. They had served with the Baptist Mission of Zambia since the 1970s. The ZBHS expressed gratitude to God for the service these brethren had rendered to the Lord.

The challenge now is for us as Baptists in Zambia to put our shoulders to the wheel. The ZBHS should not be a once-a-year affair but should work towards the preservation of the history of Baptists in this country. The project that has been adopted will go a long way in this respect, but it will demand a lot from all of us. If we can restore the state of the old battered flagship of Baptist work in Zambia, we will show that the ZBHS is truly a living force among us. May the Lord help us to put our money where our mouths are!

The old battered Baptist flagship that needs some serious repair work

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pastor Percy Chisenga goes to be with the Lord

Percy and Betty Chisenga during our missions conference in 2010
I returned from a preaching trip to the USA last Tuesday night and, after a day of rest, I was greeted with the news of the death of one of our missionaries, Pastor Percy Chisenga, around 04.30 hours on Thursday morning. I had left him very sick and had kept enquiring about his health while I was away. It had been my hope that once I was back and rested I would visit him and know how he was doing, but God had other plans—he took him away. His funeral service took place at Kabwata Baptist Church on Saturday, 3rd March 2012.

Alfred Nyirenda leading the funeral service of Percy Chisenga
Percy was converted while studying electronics in Great Britain in 1972. He came across a book by Pat Boone, whose music he loved. However, the book was about how God in Christ had saved Pat and restored his broken marriage. This shook Percy to the core of his being and caused him to get a Bible and start reading it. He literally read it from cover to cover and in the process came under deep conviction of sin. This went on until the very last day of that year when he knelt down in his college room and gave his life to Christ. He was baptised on March 25, 1973, at Gipsy Road Baptist Church, West Norwood, London.

A friend from Malawi bringing messages from there during the funeral service
Percy trained in electronics and worked for the Zambian police until 1986. He then became a college lecturer in the same field until 1989 when he became a missionary pastor. He had been involved in planting three churches—one after another—in Kasama from 1981 to 1986 (while he was in secular employment), in Chipata from 1989 to 2002 (where he was a fulltime missionary pastor of the Lusaka Baptist Church), and more recently in Zomba, Malawi, from 2007 (under the oversight of Kabwata Baptist Church).

Joe Simfukwe preaching during the funeral service
Percy was ordained as a missionary pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in August 2008. His task was that of establishing Grace Baptist Church in Zomba, Malawi. This was at the invitation of an American missionary, Frank Maxson, who had already been labouring there for a few years. However, it soon became evident that he needed our oversight and support. That is how we got involved in the work in Malawi. 

The congregation during Percy Chisenga's funeral service
Percy laboured faithfully in Zomba, together with his wife Betty, until his demise. His last year was spent valiantly battling cancer. Despite the help of doctors, the care of his wife and family, and the prayers of God’s people, the battle was lost. God used this to bring his servant to his eternal reward.

The KBC elders carry Percy Chisenga's casket out of the funeral service
Those who testified about Percy’s life as a Christian spoke of three virtues that made him stand out head-and-shoulders above other Christians. Firstly, he was a man of unfeigned humility. He handled the most menial work among God’s people even when he was a pastor. Secondly, he was a man of inexhaustible patience. Where many would have given up on others, he would still give them chance to grow and mature. Thirdly, he was a man of persevering endurance. He worked with joy in the most difficult situations in his church-planting work.

Watson Mutemi conducting commital, with KBC elders, and Stembiso Daka
Please pray for the fledgling Grace Baptist Church in Zomba, Malawi, that the leaders Percy was grooming would rise to the occasion and take the church forward. Frank Maxson moved to Blantyre to start another church there, but the two continued to work very closely together. Pray that he may be able to help in Zomba until a new man is found to fill the void that Pastor Chisenga left.

Betty Chisenga and their first born son, Reuben, at the grave side
Pray also for Percy’s wife, Betty, as she now faces the future without a husband she had lived with for most of her adult life. Although all of their children are now grown up, for a number of reasons two of them were still financially dependent on their father before he died. That task is now left in the hands of Betty. KBC will be looking for resources to ensure that she is well looked after until she joins her husband in the world to come. 

KBC missionaries laying wreaths on the grave of their companion