Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 Annual Reformed Conferences – Day One

The day began with a prayer meeting at 08.45 hours. The main prayer items were related to the work of God in Kenya and in the African Christian University here. These prayer points were shared the previous evening. For the purpose of this blog post, I decided to attend the Family Conference today.

At 09.30, Pastor Kabwe took the Family Conference through a message on the call of the church to missions. He read the Great Commission passages in the last chapters of all the Gospels. It was very clear from this that Jesus gave the reason for the existence of the church. The King himself commissioned the church to go and make disciples of all nations. He also promised that he would be with the church during its evangelistic/missions labours.

Kabwe Kabwe preaching to the Family Conference
Pastor Kabwe urged all in attendance to think again as to our relevance to this work of missions and, therefore, the need for us to invest into this work. He urged us to embrace a simple life-style, putting all that we can spare into the work of the kingdom. There was need for us to stop thinking of missions as something “over there” but that we should think “mission” when dealing with anything in the life of our churches. It was certainly an impassioned plea.

After tea break, at 11.30 hours, Pastor Baucham took the Family Conference through a message that began the theme of missions from the Old Testament all the way to the gospels in the New Testament. Reading Matthew 23:15 he drew our attention to what he called “the great clue” about missions from the Old Testament. Pharisees, obeying the Old Testament, were crossing “land and sea” to make proselytes. That’s missions! Pastor Baucham then went to Genesis 12:1-3 where we saw that “all the nations of the earth would be blessed” through Abraham. He then went on to show passage after passage in the Old Testament—from the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and the Prophets—that God wanted “all the nations” to know him for who he really is. Our God is truly a missionary God.

Voddie Baucham preaching to the Family Conference
From the Old Testament, Pastor Baucham went into the New Testament and started with the Gospels showing how passage after passage showed that missions was at the centre of God’s purpose for his people. Thus when Jesus gives “the Great Commission” he was not giving a new instruction! God has always been on a mission. God has always called, taught, and sent his people to be on mission. The whole of biblical revelation is missional in nature and scope.

I missed the afternoon seminars in order to attend to other matters. There were two seminars. One was on evangelistic strategies in mission fields by Pastor Lichawa Thole, and the other was on giving towards the work of missions by Mr Cheta Musonda. I am sure those who attended these seminars greatly benefitted.

Ferguson Kcofie sharing about the Reformed Baptist work in Ghana
Paul Lupunga led the evening meeting. Pastor Ferguson Kcofie shared with us about the Lord’s work in Ghana. He took us region-by-region and then talked about the Reformed Baptist churches. He talked about the four conferences that they have, which are still small. He also briefly spoke about his own testimony and how the Lord had led him up to this point in his life. He ended by giving some prayer needs. He ended with a reading from 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2.

James Williamson came onto the platform to speak about the Copperbelt Ministerial College (CMC) and the Lusaka Ministerial College (LMC). He drew attention to the first graduation of the CMC that had 14 graduates. The CMC presently had 25 students. He talked about how this college operated. He also spoke about the LMC and its slightly different model of operation. He drew attention to the fact that all the Zambian preachers at this conference were lecturers in these two colleges. He ended with some prayer pointers.

James Williamson sharing about the CMC and LMC work in Zambia
Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa brought the Word of God to us for the evening. He preached on the call of the man to missions from Acts 13:1-3. There were essentially four lessons that he showed us from this initial text. (1) It is God who calls men to the work of missions. (2) The Lord calls men whom he has endowed with gifts appropriate for the work. (3) The Lord sends men into the ministry through the instrumentality of the church. (4) The Lord calls men to his work.

Pastor Mwetwa particularly showed us how the calling of men to the work of missions is a work of the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus the calling of men to this work includes capacitation, motivation, and compulsion. He did not hide the fact that he wanted to persuade a few “Jonahs” to put their hands to the plough. Among the signs that God is calling a person, Pastor Mwetwa pointed out (1) personal desire, (2) ministerial abilities, (3) moral stature, (4) spiritual satisfaction, and (5) the church’s affirmation.

Choolwe Mwetwa preaching during the combined evening meeting
Pastor Mwetwa drew attention to the fact that despite these signs, everyone who is truly called of God still feels a sense of inadequacy. He urged those who are sensing these signs to prayerfully seek counsel, use any opportunities in the local church to serve God, and let the church finally usher them into a field of service. He warned against raising the bar so high that many despair and never come forward to serve God. It is godliness that must be the chief qualification!

Pastor Mwetwa asked a pertinent question: “Why is it that so few young men are answering the call to missions?” He suggested a few possible reasons. He began with inner factors. The first was that of worldliness. Another was that of unrealistic standards or perfectionism. Yet another is the fear of failure. He went on to refer to external factors. The first was that of poor remunerations. Another was the suffering of those already in ministry. Yet another was that of those who have previously disgraced the ministry. They do not want to be part of all this.

Part of the congregation during the combined evening meeting
Pastor Mwetwa ended with brief exhortations meant to encourage both the men sensing God’s call and the churches represented in the meeting to go forward and do God’s bidding in the work of missions, while awaiting the Lord’s reward.

It was on that note that we ended the first full day of the Family Conference. God willing, the next instalment will be the School of Theology. Watch this space!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update, Pastor Conrad. I am keenly following the conference through your blog. To God be the glory!