Zambia is, in many ways, a blessed country. The Lord’s hand is clearly on our landlocked country. From the religious freedom that the church enjoys to the gospel fidelity and proclamation in numerous churches across the land, the Lord’s work is evident.
How to Pray for the Zambian Church
In recent years, evangelical churches have increasingly engaged in church-planting endeavors within and beyond the country. There is much to be thankful for in Zambia. So how can the global church pray for the church in Zambia?
The Need for Gospel Clarity and Advancement
Most people in Zambia would consider themselves Christians. The country itself is constitutionally considered a Christian nation. This has led to the rise of cultural Christianity. The phrases “born again,” “believe in Jesus,” “gospel,” and “repent of your sins” are used with frequency, but with little meaning or understanding.
Faithful proclamation of the gospel requires gospel clarity.
The church needs to know, believe, and live out the truth of the gospel. Faithful proclamation of the gospel requires gospel clarity and a gospel culture in the church. We desperately need to pray for gospel clarity in the church. There are provinces, towns, and villages that are in desperate need of the gospel. Further, Zambia is strategically placed to advance the gospel to other countries on the continent.
The Havoc of Prosperity Gospel Teachings and Practices
The prosperity gospel movement is syncretistic in Zambia, because it has found fertile ground among people who hold to an animistic worldview. Many of their practices and teachings are, in essence, African traditional religion.
Its teachings and practices must be aggressively exposed and uprooted before they eat up the entire church. These practices include deliverance services, viewing pastors as mediators between God and man, a hierarchy of offices not taught or practiced in the Bible, appointing pastor’s wives as assistant pastors, Christ-less gospel messages, worship services designed to entertain, and manipulative schemes to siphon money from the unsuspecting and vulnerable.
Sadly, thousands are captive to this movement and have been led astray. Pray that the Lord would expose the falsehood of the prosperity gospel.
A Rise in Atheistic Thinking
While there are not many atheists in our country compared to other nations, the number is rising. Atheistic thinking is more common than we care to admit. The number of people that deny the existence of God, either in word or deed, is alarming. Popular motivational speaking, for instance, is primarily based on evolutionary thinking.
In this thinking, people are no longer created beings who are totally sinful, but who are inherently good and who just happen to be in the wrong place with the wrong people. Atheistic thought is becoming very popular among young adult college students because it is viewed as progressive and intelligent. In light of this danger, the church cannot afford not to be clear about matters of origin and the implications of the gospel in people’s lives.
The Danger of Syncretism
Most people believe the Bible is the Word of God, and that it is good and helpful for one’s spiritual well-being. However, not everyone believes the Scriptures are sufficient for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). As a result, the truths of Scripture are constantly under attack, especially in recent times when the Bible is generally viewed as out of date.
It is therefore not uncommon to find people who are committed to the church and do not apply or even think about what the Scripture says about an issue. This is often reflected in marriage, family, births, funerals, education, entertainment, work, business, and our involvement in politics. For most people, the Bible is for Bible studies and preaching sermons, and not for actual life.
The Need to Train Men to Pastor Churches
The need for spreading the gospel through church planting leads us to pray for the need to train men for the work of pastoral ministry. We need men who are thoroughly equipped to handle the Word of God and shepherd the people. This training is needed on at least three levels.
First, we need formal, high-level graduate and post-graduate training for the few who will become the trainers of men. Second, we need undergraduate-level training that will provide a solid foundation and thoroughly equip the students for the work of ministry.
Third, there is yet another level of training, and it caters to those who are already in ministry but lack training – and do not have the luxury of moving for school. These training programs would come to them. The teaching is done through block classes over a period of time in specific places and provides these men with resources while they are in the trenches of pastoral ministry.
The Discipleship of Young People
Zambia’s population is predominately young people. Most of the vibrant and thriving churches are basking with youth in their ranks. Many of these young people would, in many ways, be first or second-generation Christians. There is a great need first to reach the youth with the gospel, and then, secondly, to disciple them diligently so that they may also teach others. Christians in the home and the church must take on this mantle with the diligence and patience that it requires. This is important both now and for the generations to come.
Seeing what the Lord is doing in and through the church in Zambia is exciting. I am eager to see the church’s impact on the country and the continent in the coming years. I pray that we may be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in our labor for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). Please pray for the people of God in the country of Zambia.