Langham Preaching in Southern Africa
Zimbabwe remains a country with deep social, political and economic challenges. Yet in Harare a small team has now established a monthly Saturday training event, gathering pastors from around the city to strengthen their commitment to Biblical preaching.
John Bell, pastor of Central Baptist church in Harare, writes: ‘I sense a growing desire amongst some of our younger pastors to seek to be more committed and effective in ministry. I am involved in teaching principles of expository preaching. In partnership with Langham Preaching we have held several preaching seminars and are currently running one involving over 50 people, which will run monthly for the rest of the year.’ The next event is June 5th.
Zambia and South Africa
Two new projects have been launched in southern Africa, both of which were well attended and warmly received. In Zambia, John Bell and Conrad Mbewe taught a Level 1 seminar in Ndola, with over 40 participants from across the country and for various denominations.
Pastor Conrad Mbewe, from Kabwate Baptist Church in Lusaka, saw that the reports that came from the groups working on Bible passages demonstrated a strong capacity in grasping the material. It is hoped that small preachers clubs will be established, and that the preaching movement will gradually take hold in the churches.
In neighbouring South Africa, in the northern province of Limpopo, a new LP programme was launched at the end of April. The province has a population of 6.5 million, over 97% of which is black. The majority of people are young, and under 25s make up more than 50% of the population. It is a typical developing province: the unemployment rate is extraordinarily high, and poverty and HIV/AIDS affect at least one third of the population.
Many of the parishes of St Mark’s diocese cover a huge area, and there are relatively few trained pastors. One parish stretches for more than 100kms, with only one paid pastor and four volunteers to care for 19 congregations. Churches are local because people cannot afford to travel, so many lay preachers are needed. ‘Growing the Word’ is a new initiative launched by local leaders in Limpopo in fellowship with Langham Preaching, because equipping a new generation of preachers is their top priority.
Last month some 52 pastors and lay preachers gathered from across the province of Limpopo for a week-long seminar, hosted by the team at St Mark’s, and led by LP facilitators Jorge Atienica (from Colombia, Latin America), and Sam Njenga. During the week, small grous were established, and were given assignments to encourage them to continue to meet during the year ahead. Bishop Martin Breytonbach, who established the programme, summed up at the end of the seminar with the simple expression: ‘it was fresh, it was challenging, it was hard.’ The response to the event was extremely warm, with enthusiasm for the seminars to continue and, at the South African level, the bishop reports that ‘there is tremendous enthusiasm for the process to continue and expand.’ Several participants found the study process demanding, and so the work in the small preachers clubs will be the key to the seeing steady growth in their preaching.