'Opening Up to Open Out’


Follow-up meetings resulting from the 2016 Pastors’ Book Set Conference are starting to show a greater commitment by Malawian Christians to cross-border and cross-cultural mission

The account of “The Transfiguration” (Matthew 17) shows two different ways in which we can respond to major events such as this. We can be like Peter who wanted to build shelters and stay put. Or we can be like Jesus who knew He had to come down the mountain and get stuck into life again after that amazing encounter.

In some ways the Pastors’ Book Set Conference (PBS) can be a little like this, and PBS 2015 was no different. But how do we as an organisation and the delegates who attended the conference move on from that great week of teaching?

Underpinning teaching

One response could be to say “that is good” and leave it behind as we pick up the threads of everyday life. Another is to see if it leads to something more for the future.

Thankfully, it was the latter course that was taken, and follow-up meetings have been held in Mzuzu and Lilongwe to underpin the teaching of the conference itself and to look forward to what comes next. And what comes next is a source of excitement, because we are seeing a group of men and women who have been opened up to God’s Word ready to be opened out and take that message across Malawi’s borders.

“It has been very encouraging to see the response to the follow-up meetings,” said Watson Rajaratnam, SIM Malawi’s New Initiatives Consultant (pictured above), “not only the number of people who attended, but the number who responded to a call for greater involvement in mission.

Top: Speakers and delegates at the Lilongwe event

Bottom: Speakers and delegates at Mzuzu event

Desire to move outside Malawi

“The two follow-up meetings have shown that there is a real desire to move outside of Malawi and spread the good news further afield!”

In all more than 90 pastors and church leaders attended the meetings in Mzuzu in February and in Lilongwe in March.

Wide range of countries

The range of countries in which they showed interest to serve was remarkable. In addition to neighbours such as Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa and DR Congo, people expressed an interest in serving in India, Afghanistan and China too. Some delegates even said they were happy to go and serve anywhere – truly a call to “go into all nations”!

The depth of feeling and commitment to this calling was expressed by two of the delegates. One commented: “I accepted Jesus in 1983 on 3rd July. Since that time I have always had a very strong passion and conviction for evangelism and missions. This is where I find my joy in service. However, I have had no opportunity for training in this field. But I attended the Billy Graham evangelism meeting in Amsterdam in 2000. Currently I am serving in the government as Chief Human Resource Management Officer but still have the passion for evangelism.”

Momentum encouraged

The other said: “Thanks for the great presentations on missions! This is an answered prayer for the Malawian Church. Some of us have been praying for a missionary movement in this country for the past 20 years and your coming is really godly and timely.”

So how can this momentum be encouraged?

“We have set up a number of Task Forces and Prayer Groups to keep on top of this desire to take things forward,” said Watson.

Commissioning Pastors for mission at PBS2013 in Lilongwe

“These groups will help the people in their area to encourage and develop individuals as they work out their calling.

“Obviously, as a mission, SIM Malawi will continue to take a very keen interest in ensuring things keep moving, and the Malawi Mission Initiative, which was born out of the 2013 PBS and which has a number of key strategic partners, will also monitor and develop this and other initiatives.

Breadth of vision

“What is exciting is the breadth of vision not just for Malawi, not just for Africa, but for the world. Our prayer is that the Malawian Church can live up to this expectation and we would ask you to join in these prayers as we move forward.”

The Pastors’ Book Set Conference is supported by SIM Malawi Project

MW96558 Pastors’ Book Set Conferences