It was necessary to hold a seminar on leadership for leaders of rural congregations in eastern Zambia in order to improve their service culture. The seminar was held at Madzimawe UCG Community Center, Kasenengwa District; which is quite a sizeable facility constructed by the Church in 2020 with financial support from LifeNets International, LifeNets-Australia, and Good Works. Secured inside a wall fence, this facility depends on solar lighting and solar-powered running water, and a commodious hall. Support from Home Office also made it possible for a good number of camping tents to be purchased.
Previously, leadership seminars were organized by Home Office and executed by Regional Pastors and/or members of the BT team. However, since the incidence of COVID-19 in 2019, this has not been possible and it became necessary to organize from the local level. Although never done before, the seminar was immediately approved by the Senior Pastor, Mr. Aaron Dean and received material and moral support from Home Office and Mrs. Beverley Kubik, the President of LifeNets International.
In attendance were nine brethren from the Ngilile Church in Petauke, who included Messrs. Arnold Phiri, Mike Jere and Patrick Nyirenda; all with their spouses. Mr. Musa Phiri and his wife came from Chiwoko in Katete accompanied by Mr. Zecharia Njobvu while seven participants came from Chipata. These were Mr. Grevazio Banda and his wife Evelyn, Mr. Jeff Daka and his wife Dorcas, Mr. Winford Msoni and his wife, Joyce and also Deaconess Christine Tonga.
Most of the participants are in charge of remote congregations that only receive periodical visits from the Pastor. Consequently, an earlier opportunity had given them tentative training on how to conduct Sabbath services which occasioned the giving of sermonettes and sermons. Unfortunately, this appeared to give some of them false aspirations and they started to call themselves pastors, a dangerous harbinger for the possible breaching of the line of authority that could lead to fragmentation. It became obvious, therefore, that training in Church doctrine and servant leadership was an urgent need.
- Training Resources
The main resources used for the training were the Bible, relevant resources of the Church, which included Sunset to Sunset, God’s Sabbath Rest, Fundamental Beliefs of the United Church of God, and the training document of the Pastoral Development Program of 2018 which was attended by Filius Chalo Jere and his wife, Chosiwe.
- Course Coverage
The program started with an outline of the history of the United Church of God, from the time of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, the Radio Church, The Worldwide Church of God and now the United Church of God. It then emphasized upon the mission of the Church in preaching the Gospel and preparing a people. This brief outline appeared to mesmerize the participants and increase their self-confidence. Many confessed that they had never imagined that the Church was anchored on such a firm foundation.
Other theory lessons also covered voice projection techniques, songleading, and how to prepare and deliver good sermonettes and sermons. This was followed by a whole day of practicals whereby each participant gave a sermonette on any topic of personal choice. The group critiquing that followed each presentation was most thrilling and educative. Also included in the training was the approved structure of Sabbath services and Bible study sessions and song leading.
Sabbath saw an attendance of seventy-eight brethren from Chipata and the surrounding community and the participants performed excellently.
“This was a most wonderful experience and we are definitely going to do the right thing from now onwards,” said Arnold Phiri from Ngilile congregation in Petauke.
Such enthusiasm was a very big assurance that the performance of these brethren is definitely going to improve and, in unison, the United Church of God will surely Preach the Gospel and prepare God’s people in the remotest parts of eastern Zambia.
Compiled by Filius Chalo Jere, Pastor
United Church of God aia
16 October 2021