The Christian Nation
Zambia is officially a Christian Nation. There are approximately 11.5 million Christians, which means that 86.95 % of Zambians would at least claim to be Christian. Zambia shares her border with 8 other Countries and is in a very strategic place to be a missionary sending country. These statistics seem positive, yet instead of being a nation primarily focussed on being a blessing to Africa, Zambia has more missionaries going into the country than going out. This seems strange for a nation which has so many Christians.
During our Mission to Zambia, we scratched below the surface of much of what is called "Christianity" in Zambia. We found warm hearted, devoted Christians, as well as many lukewarm church members. As we ran courses in different areas of Zambia it became apparent why the statistics of Zambian Christianity are so puzzling.
Labouring in the Word
"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" Colossians 1:28
At all the conferences we ran throughout Zambia, we focussed on the message of Salvation. In some of the areas we went to, it was not the first time that we emphasised the message of Salvation. In one town we visited, we were able to preach two Sunday sermons, give two Sunday morning Bibles studies and run a three day Discipleship Course. We made sure that the message and meaning of Salvation was preached and expounded upon. After all the emphasis we place on the message of Salvation, we were sure that, even if they were not Saved, they would know how to become Saved. To our shock, there were still those who had no clue as to what Salvation means or how to partake of it.
One missionary had the opportunity to speak to a group of youth on a Sunday afternoon after church. Some of the youth were part of all the meetings we held. The missionary gave them a Gospel presentation and then proceeded to ask them questions to gauge their understanding of what was said. It seemed as though all the youth who were listening still had no clue as to what Salvation is. Most of them either could not give an answer when asked "what must someone do to be Saved?" Others answered that you must obey Christ in order to be Saved. It was apparent that all these youth had at some point been fed a works based salvation, and that is where their hope was lying.
Preach the Word
“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37
True Gospel preaching seeks to awaken people to the sin in their lives. It cuts their hearts and makes them plead: "What must I do to be Saved?" Unfortunately messages like these have apparently been neglected. Most people are not coming to the realisation that their sin is so vile that they need the cleansing which only Jesus can offer. Instead they think that they are not such bad people and with a little help from God they can live good lives and attain their Salvation through their own abilities.
While we were running a Biblical Worldview and Discipleship Seminar, we taught people how to Evangelise using the Ten Commandments to show a sinner his need for a Saviour. Sadly, however, when we heard report backs from those who had gone evangelising, we saw that many were using the Law and leaving Christ out of the picture.
Once again, we could see that people had been indoctrinated into believing a works based salvation and were telling people that in order to be saved they need to do more works. After the frustrating report backs, the next day we continued to explain Salvation by Grace alone. We sent the participants out and the report backs significantly improved. People were being led to Christ!
“Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” Galatians 3:24
Pastors and Pew Warmers
“be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15
During one of our Discipleship conferences we had the participants write a Bible Exam. This included pastors, church members, elders and Bibles students. The Bible Exam contains 128 multiple-choice questions. After marking the Bible Exams it was evident that many pastors, Bible students and congregant members do not read their Bibles. We hope that the results will encourage all the participants to read their Bibles more. The task of Discipleship is far from complete in Zambia, where a love for God, for the Word and for prayer should be more evident. A Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ should have a Biblical worldview. One of the bishops we were working closely with during this time, shared his concern regarding these results. He told us that: "People can tell you anything you want to know about the world but they cannot tell you anything that is in the Bible!"
Eager to Evangelise
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” Romans 1:16
At one course, we laid an emphasis on the need for Evangelism. We took the participants on a practical evangelistic outreach. One woman said that she was "afraid to speak to strangers at first but, after I had started, I realised I had nothing to fear". After an outreach,one bishop expressed that he "feels like a fulfilled Christian". The excitement about the Evangelism was contagious and people couldn't stop talking about their experiences and how much they enjoyed sharing the Gospel. A pastor's wife said that "The women in our church always get together and moan. From now on we are going to gather in the streets instead of the church and focus on the lost instead of moaning."
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" Romans 12:2
Some of the messages we presented were: Full salvation and Repentance, What is a Christian?, God and Government, Rediscovering the Christian Work Ethic, Suffering and more. Many people were so grateful for the lectures and teachings. It was apparent that some people were really taking the Scriptures and principles we shared to heart and that is always a highlight in any Mission. After presenting "Rediscovering the Christian Work Ethic", one man was inspired to take his job more seriously. We saw him at a shopping centre and he was full of joy when he saw us. He greeted us warmly and showed us the place where he worked. He told us that he is working for the glory of God and that even if someone throws rubbish on the ground he will pick it up to the glory of God. After hearing the presentation on "Reforming our families" one man said "this is something that the people need to hear". At a Pastors Conference we spoke on "The Greatness of the Great Commission" and a pastor stood up and declared that "We have not been taking the Great Commission seriously… I believe that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us through you…"
Fellowship with Pastors
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1
During our Mission, we had the privilege of staying with local pastors. We were able to build relationships with them and learn more about their history, vision and struggles. Some of our best ministry and counselling was during this time. To be sure, there were barriers we had to overcome, like different cultures, languages, customs and food. Thankfully these were obstacles which could be overcome and sweet fellowship could be shared with our brothers and sisters in Christ. This makes one convicted about the petty challenges we allow to come between us brothers and sisters at home.
Part of our Mission was to plan for the Livingstone Bicentenary events happening in November. We will be running a Missions Conference for leaders from Zambia during 13-18 November where we will look at the Extraordinary Life and legacy of Dr David Livingstone as well as commemorate the discovery of Victoria Falls. Missionaries from Frontline Fellowship, as well as Dr Peter Hammond the Director of Frontline Fellowship will be presenting lectures to the attending leaders. By God’s grace we were able to meet with the Chief of Livingstone, the Zambian Tourism Board, the manager of Victoria Falls, as well as many leaders, pastors and bishops to help promote this event. We hope that this event will inspire pastors in Zambia to take the great Commission seriously and be encouraged by the extraordinary example set before us by Dr David Livingstone.
Items for Prayer
Please pray for the continual growth of Zambian Christians, who need solid Biblical teachings. Please pray that those who are not truly Saved will come to the Saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Please will you also join us in prayer for the upcoming Livingstone 200 events to be held in November. We are trusting God for the success of this event.
"…Repentance and Remission of sins should be preached in His Name to all Nations…" Luke 24:47
David Frew and John Clifford
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa