Back in mid October Myles had an encouraging time supporting the ZEC Pastors Conference that was held at the Mitsidi headquarters of Zambezi Evangelical Church.
Some months before, the General Secretary of ZEC (Rev Luckwell Mtima) brought together Simon Chikwana (ZM Field Director), Myles, Connex Ijalasi (Country Direcctor of J-Life Malawi), and Waldemar Loewen (Training Coordinator in Malawi for To All Nations) with a view to building a conference programme that touched on the key strategic needs of ZEC.
This was the first conference of its kind (at least for many many years), bringing together all the pastors from across the country with the top-level theme of:
We are One – We are Not Alone
The primary aim was to recognise the challenges and isolation experienced by so many rural pastors, while beginning to build and articulate a renewed single vision and mission that the church can align behind; as well as providing practical coaching on key biblical leadership skills.
The event kicked off with sessions led by the Chair of Trustees (The Honourable Friday Jumbe) and the General Secretary. These sessions clearly set out both the challenges and the opportunities for ZEC. The GS then went on to envision how ZEC might better fulfil its calling to serve the spiritual and material needs of the nation. He, and other speakers, emphasised that there was no need to invent a mission when the mission of Christ’s Church is so clearly articulated in scripture, and then went on to neatly summarise the mission of the church as:
ZEC: Discipling a Nation for Christ
Other speakers then went on to outline the biblical principle of the church being driven by a clear purpose; identify the clear mission of the church that is highlighted in scripture; coach leaders on Godly characteristics such as integrity, accountability, personal discipline; proclaim the true nature of the servant leader; and demonstrate the imperative for the church to disciple believers who will in turn make disciples.
However, as Myles has found is usual in the past at such occasions, much of the value of the event came during the informal time when men and women normally dispersed around the country were able to catch up and share their experience and perspectives (often meeting for the first time since their college days).
And we all gained from the typically informal and joyous Malawian worship.
All in all, this was a powerful time of discussion, coaching, envisioning and worship. And our prayer must be that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in the hearts of everyone serving God in and through ZEC to revive His mission in Malawi.
Based on the smiling faces, enthusiastic chatter, and bouncing steps as the pastors left for their place of service Myles concluded there is much to be trully thankful and hopeful for.