Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Praying People—2019 Sola 5 Conference

A glimpse of the attendance at the conference
The 2019 Sola 5 Conference in Manzini, Swaziland, has come to an end and we are all getting ready to head home. The theme of the conference was “A praying people: The centrality of prayer in the life of the church.” We are still processing the bountiful spiritual meal we have feasted upon. From him to whom much is given, much more shall be required. These are sobering thoughts…and rightly so.
"Yours truly" with Karabo Msiza at break time
Karabo Msiza (of Central Baptist Church in Rustenburg, South Africa) preached on the pattern of prayer on the opening night (on Wednesday), using what we call “the Lord’s prayer” from Matthew 6. The following morning, Chipita Sibale (my fellow pastor at Kabwata Baptist Church) preached on the purpose of prayer from 1 Timothy 2.

Chipita Sibale preaching on the purpose of prayer
That evening, Charlie Ramfumedzi (from Christ Seminary, Polokwane, South Africa) preached on the priorities of prayer. Essentially, he dealt with what issues we need to address as a priority in order to ensure answered prayer, e.g. genuine repentance from sin, faith in God, forgiving others, and a pure heart.
Charlie Ramfumedzi preaching on priorities of prayer
Today (Friday), was the last day of the conference. In the morning, Richard Peskett (from Nelspruit Bible Church, Nelspruit, South Africa) preached on the people of prayer. This was the only session I missed because I had to work on my newspaper article and send it in to beat the deadline. References to it afterwards confirmed that I missed a rich meal.
Richard Peskett preaching on the people of prayer
Thankfully, there was a second preaching session this morning. It was handled by Desmond Cramer (from Coastal Bible Church, Muisenberg, Cape Town, South Africa) and it was on praying in the will of God. He expounded the experience of our Saviour in Gethsemane.
Desmond Cramer preaching on praying in the will of God
Finally, this evening, Desmond Venter (from Grace Baptist Church, Amanzimtoti, Durban, South Africa) preached from Psalm 25 on peace through prayer. He showed us from this psalm how trust encourages peace, obedience breeds peace, grace ensures peace, hope awaits peace, and faith petitions for peace.
Desmond Venter preaching on peace through prayer
On Thursday, prior to our lunch break, we held the Sola 5 annual business meeting, which gave us a bird’s-eye-view of the last one year in terms of both activities and finances. We also voted in 4 new member churches and saw two new individuals voted into the steering committee to replace two others who were cycling out. Churches shared about their church-planting and revitalization efforts. I had the opportunity to share about the African Christian University during this slot. Finally, we heard about sister churches that had pastoral vacancies.
Chris Mnguni sharing about progress in Daveyton, South Africa
Before each sermon, we heard church planting and church revitalization reports from various parts of southern, central, and eastern Africa. This was in addition to the ones we had heard about during the business meeting. It was most encouraging to see that the churches were not just talking doctrine but were indeed busy extending the kingdom of God through such efforts.

Dubeka Milandu sharing about church planting in Tanzania
What I found most refreshing was that at the end of all the preaching sessions, we divided up into small groups and spent time praying for one another, for the missions reports and for the messages that we heard. So, we not only heard about prayer, we actually prayed!
Stuart Chase making announcements at the conference
Let me thank the steering committee of Sola 5, and Stuart Chase as the coordinator, for putting together such a short and sweet conference. Manzini Fellowship Church also went out of their way to look after all of us in terms of transport, accommodation, and meals.
Conference attendees enjoying a meal together

Next year’s conference will be in South Africa in the first week of September. The specific venue and theme of the conference will be announced in due season. I cannot wait for yet another soul-enriching time. Until then, au revoir!

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