ZM's David Kanyumi
reports on the recent
pastors and leaders.
Thanks be to God for the Bookset conferences which took place at two venues in July Thanks also to Zambesi Mission and all the friends in the UK for the invaluable support and contributions which made these really significant events possible.
It is extremely helpful to the church leaders to have opportunities to benefit from teaching of this level. Over recent years these conferences have helped so many church leaders as they seek to build the church up here in Malawi.
The Assemblies of God Church in Liwonde was the venue for first conference which ran from 18th-20thJuly with 104 people in attendance. These leaders came from 26 different denominations, which is very significant because this is a Islamic area. It was a great encouragement to the pastors and church leaders to have a conference that taught them much from the Bible and also allowed time for questions and fellowship.
We had a number of different speakers over the three days with Rev Peter Grainger (former pastor of Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh) as our main teacher. His topic was ' Treasure in jars of clay '. 2 Cor. 4 v 1 -12.
We are thankful that we all travelled well and kept well over that first conference because on the day of our return there were disturbances in Blantyre largely relating to the shortage of fuel. This has continued to be an issue and it was a struggle to find diesel for the vehicle to get to the second conference. This was held in the Assemblies of God building in Dowa north of Lilongwe from July 24th-26th.
The format was the same and supporting Peter Grainger we had Pastor Connex Ijalasi (from ZEC Chilomoni, Blantyre) who spoke on leadership using the book of Nehemiah. Also Pastor Robert Yanduya (EBCoM lecturer) and Dr. Jonathan Groves (visiting from the UK) who studied the topic of 'Preaching that changes lives '. This time 87 leaders from 19 denominations were present.
In both conferences Peter sought to convey that as jars of clay we will face difficulties and crack at times, but the Gospel will still be made known in spite of our weaknesses. He also challenged us to remember we must rely on God's strength alone. After each session smaller groups were given prepared questions which enabled helpful discussion of what had been shared.
Each morning there was time for some pastors to share what God is doing in their area of ministry, This was very encouraging and helped us all to glimpse a little of what God is doing here in Malawi.
During the final session of each conference a small set of study and devotional books was presented to each participant. The pastors and leaders really do appreciate this mini library as most of them have very few resources and this helps them greatly in their personal devotions and in preparation work for sermons.
I was particularly encouraged to hear a comment from one pastor who said, 'The most important thing we need is good teaching, and indeed we have received it!' For him books were definitely a second blessing, not the main benefit of the conference."