Into the Wild, Armed with a Bible
Spreading the gospel does not simply end with a sermon at the pulpit within a church building. It is more than that. It requires walking out of the church and into the outside world, away from one’s comfort zone and into the wild.
Ministering the word of God to the world is not supposed to be restricted to one’s main church or just the congregation one preaches to. The gospel is a service that needs to be delivered to all types of people – from different communities, different races, different tribes or different languages. One needs to break the monotonous tradition of preaching within the same confines and to the same people.
But one cannot simply rise up and start preaching in communities outside the church, without fully understanding how that works. In order to properly carry out outreach ministries and preach to an outside congregation different from the one someone is used to, the preacher needs special training in that area.
Welcome to Missions.
Missions is one of the courses taught at our Bible school. It provides church leaders and students with the necessary knowledge regarding how to preach the gospel door to door in the outside world. Pastors, Filias Nkhoma and Zawad Kibumba are two church elders who give strong testimonies of how Missions completely changed their perception of preaching the gospel. The two recently completed their training at our Bible school.
“At first, I thought that preaching to my congregation was enough. Little did I realize that there are more people out there that need salvation.” Pastor Filias started. He is a church elder at Malawi Pentecostal Assemblies Church in Dowa. The Pastor wanted to learn the strategy of reaching out to more people outside his church because, as he explained “the Bible teaches us to bring the gospel to people from all walks of life.” Pastor Filias admitted that although he was a Pastor, he did not have the required knowledge to conduct outreach ministries. This was one of the reasons that prompted him to join our Bible school.
The situation has changed now. Following completion in Biblical studies, the pastor intensified outreach programmes at his church. The church even conducts evangelisms in Dzaleka Refugee Camp. This, he explained, is part of his new vision of taking the gospel to displaced people who have lost hope.
“We want to provide emotional support to refugees to comfort and reassure them that God is still there for them in their troubled times. We want to encourage them not to despair.”
Pastor Zawad is a refugee from DR Congo and lives in Dzaleka Refugee Camp. He is a church elder at African Christian Worship Centre. Like Pastor Filias, Pastor Zawad too has been greatly shaped by Missions. He disclosed that prior to the theological training from our Bible school, he was conducting his duties without proper guidance. He explained that he thought that by virtue of being a Pastor, he could simply delegate the tasks of ministering outside the church to any member of his church.
“I believed that it was not a pastor’s responsibility to lead outreach ministries. I was naïve but then I did not have the proper training on this subject.” He said. As a result of this, his church suffered in that area.
He has a different story now.
“After been taken through Missions, I fully understand that Pastors should not simply rely on their congregation but they have to lead by example. They have to go out there, search for lost souls and bring them to Christ.” He continued, adding that Pastors should not be mere patrons in such important activities. During one of the Missions assignments, Pastor Zawadi and his group baptised 24 people and helped to plant a church in a neighbouring community.
Through Missions, the Bible school students also evangelize in prisons and hospitals. The purpose is to provide spiritual and social encouragement to those in distress. Last year the students visited a prison in Dowa district.
“The word of God is the best method of rehabilitating prisoners. When you preach to prisoners, they remember what you taught and this acts as an agent of positive change.” Pastor Zawad said.
There is more that our Bible school students are trained in. Missions is part of the major courses that have greatly shaped the men and women in the Bible school. Missions strengthens the students and encourages them to go into the wild, armed with nothing but a Bible.