Sunday, April 13, 2008

A weekend of insight

I have been feeling pretty sick with a cold over the past weekend, so hence, not much writing. But, I have a moment to write now, so I thought I would catch you up!

On Thursday, we had a Pastor's Leadership Development meeting with the Action Zambia guys. There are six people in our group who are committed to working with pastors and churches. We were assigned a job to interview five pastors with a list of questions. I interviewed five pastors:

PLD Pastor Interviews

Peter Zulu – Garden, Pillar of Truth (PZ)

Jere – Kalikiliki, Valley View Baptist Church (J)

Mark Mwale – Chaisa, Chaisa Church of God (MM)

Bruce Kaunda – Kanyama, Sanctuary of Grace (BK)

Alfred Manza – Garden, Light Eternal Church (AM)

And here were the questions and the summed up answers:

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by Zambian churches today?
PZ – No plots to build churches on and not adequate facilities – Training and knowledge of Bible

J- No adequate structures and lack of finances

MM- Lack of good teaching of word of God and poverty

BK – 1. Lack of materials, 2. Lack of adequate buildings and 3. Materials for training

AM – Progress is a challenge when Pastors have no time to pastor because of no money

How could AZ best help pastors?

PZ – Training and support community schools to help with evangelism.

J – Training in Bible

MM – Teaching us so we can teach in rural areas- prayer for the pastors

BK – Training in Bible colleges, resources and books, financial help and building help and helping families

What challenges do pastors face in building leadership teams?

PK – We need a vision to know how to build leadership teams.

Jere- Lack of training/finances/training other church leaders

MM – Help to have a heart for the world-giving them a heart for the hurting

BK – Discipleship programs to help train our leaders

AM – Training

What aspects of Zambian culture make it difficult for Christians and churches to grow?

PK – Idol worship, traditions

J – Physical needs because of poverty and disease

MM – Lack of correct doctrine – and rivalry among churches

BK – witchdoctors and tradition – looking for power encounters wherever they can get them

AM – different background and cultures make it difficult to understand the Word

We then met with a group of pastors on Friday from Ng'ombe who shared many struggles and areas of need to help them meet the needs that exist in their churches. Struggles like poverty, HIV/AIDS, battles with witchcraft and animism, a lack of education for women and men to understand the word and their own family pressures of trying to make money for the family to live on. Almost all pastors have to work in addition to pastor.

The challenges are incredible for these pastors. In addition, the word is out that a governing body might be requiring pastors to have a degree from an accredited seminary. While this is a good for creating accountability, it is also difficult for these godly, committed pastors who have no formal training. The niche of Action Zambia is to work and train these forgotten compound pastors who can't aafford an accredited bible college much less a seminary. I am seeing that training pastors is a much more holistic process than I realized and it will require networking and lots of prayer. These brothers are sacrificing so much to pastor. I can't even begin to describe their lives. It just doesn't seem possible the commitment they give.

We had a Action Zambia team meeting on Saturday, led by our board chairman, Betsone Chileya. It was a chance to look back and look forward to a new time. We are continuing to refine our vision and our philosophy. There is so much that needs to be done and we are continuing to refine that vision so we can do what God has called us to do. Bestone shared a devotion about Mary and Martha and his challenge to us make sure your soul is serviced in Christ before you engage in service. Great words!

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