Zambia – wish you were here!
This year the Zambia Reformed Family Conference and School of Theology lasted from 27-30 August, ending a day earlier than usual. This was to accommodate the earlier Sola 5 Conference (see p.7). Since many were interested in attending both, it was like attending one seven-day reformed conference – a rare treat indeed!
The keynote address was given by Emmanuel Sakala, pastor of Berean Reformed Baptist Church, Chililabombwe, Zambia. He emphasised that we need to keep the cross of Christ central in our preaching, as the heart of God’s message to the world.
The main preachers at this year’s annual feast were Jeff Noblit and Voddie Baucham from the USA. They preached on ‘Biblical evangelism and discipleship’. Jeff Noblit majored on the need for formative and restorative discipline in the church. Voddie Baucham expounded sections of the Pastoral Epistles.
The preaching was so good that, after the first day, pressure began to mount on the organisers to increase the evening preaching from the usual one session to two. And so ‘due to public demand’ on Thursday night there were two sermons instead of one!
One special feature this year was the presence of a lady speaker. Martha Peace, celebrated author of The excellent wife, spoke on ‘how to be a Titus 2 woman’. She challenged the women (who attended her sessions in droves) to be those that God uses to mould other women into godly followers of Christ. The singing gift of Pam Noblit, Jeff’s wife, was put to maximum use, especially in the evening meetings. Her songs blended in beautifully with the messages.
Attendance at these conferences continues to grow. During the day it was 500-600 while in the evening it shot up to 800-900. Again, as was the case last year, eight of the nine provinces of Zambia were represented.
There were many from Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – and others from Australia, USA and UK. To cater for the large evening crowd, a big screen was installed outside the main hall, where more than a hundred people sat listening to the preaching of the Word of God. It is clear that a larger venue must be found for next year’s conference.
One special and encouraging feature this year was that for the first time all the English-speaking Reformed Baptist churches in Lusaka came together to organise the conference and share the financial load. Many of the international guests, and even the couples who came in from other towns in Zambia, were accommodated in homes across Lusaka.
What a joy it was to see like-minded churches working together for the cause of Christ! If anyone is still in doubt that the reformed faith has come to stay in Zambia – and that it is spreading like wildfire across this sub-region of Africa – all we can say is, ‘I wish you were here!’