We want a Christ-centred church established in every community throughout Western Zambia. This can only take place through prayers, evangelism and the high priority we place on discipleship of believers and leadership training.
We face many challenges in order to be effective with our discipleship methods. The village churches are all spread out and remote which often requires more than one full day’s traveling to reach them. At certain times of the year the roads are flooded and the villages are isolated for months at a time. This forces us to truly rely on the Holy Spirit to continue His work in peoples lives. We once planted a church in a rural area along the Angolan border and were unable to return for 8 months! Due to the lack of infrastructure, we could not even contact them via ‘phone, or email. We prayed for them regularly and when we eventually reached there, we found the church had grown incredibly and people had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, without any prior knowledge of this! Trusting God for His faithfulness to this work is paramount in the success of our discipleship efforts as He builds His church!
We endeavor to carry out our responsibility to disciple believers, leaders and churches in the following ways:
Nothing compares to personal contact and interaction! This is even more so in the rural areas of Western Zambia. We believe in ‘relationship before ministry’ and regularly visit our village churches to build relationships. In spite of their poverty, the Lozi people are exceptionally hospitable and we are always welcomed into homes and churches with open arms. We spend individual time with men, women as well as with children and encourage each group separately in their walk with God. We also gather all the church members together and teach on relevant topics. The main language spoken is Silozi and we are all making an effort to master this language to improve communication and cultural understanding. Besides Silozi there are 26 other languages spoken in this area! We sometimes need to use as many as 4 interpreters to convey a message in a language the people can understand. This is a great challenge, but our ministry partners and interpreters do a phenomenal job in assisting us to communicate.
Volunteer teams from Hope Church and from abroad are of great assistance with discipleship when undertaking outreach trips to different areas. Our main purpose during outreaches is to get to know the churches and the people. We often get a group of ladies together and teach practical skills like sewing, or bead work while we discuss what it means to have a relationship with God and answer any questions they may have. Sport is a very effective tool with the youth and we see many of these young people grow in their relationship with God by spending time with more mature Christians who are interacting with them and modeling their own walk with God. Outreaches to children are always full of fun as we play lots of games and even do some art together, while teaching different aspects of God to the children in a way relevant to their age and culture. We place high emphasis on leadership development. The leaders and potential leaders of the church will meet regularly with our outreach teams to study the Bible and learn more about Godly leadership. The people in the villages always feel honored and are amazed that despite their remoteness, they are receiving a visit from us. Outreach teams leave lasting impressions on new Christians through relationship building, empowering communities, meeting of social needs, teachings and sharing of testimonies.
We also run a Bible School where church leaders travel to our Training Centre in Mongu twice a year for Bible and leadership courses. This formal training is in addition to a correspondence system to enable leaders to continue their studies from their villages. Due to the challenge of illiteracy our courses cater for different academic levels. Some books have been translated into Silozi to enhance understanding for different language groups. We are already witnessing church growth as a direct result of the leaders’ studies and we are very proud of our first group of students who completed their three year studies in 2010!
Click here to read more about our Training Centre