Preparing workers for the harvest field

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Sponsoring Africa Evangelical Church students is supported by SIM Malawi project # MW 96454 Project Name Church Leadership Scholarships

Ensuring the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC), SIM Malawi’s partner Church, has well trained, theologically equipped, and well mentored pastors is central to its work in providing scholarships to trainees coming through this route.

 

The AEC has around 150 congregations spread across the whole of Malawi. For these 150 churches there are only around 50 trained pastors and evangelists – roughly the same as an assistant pastor or an assistant pastor awaiting ordination. Each year SIM Malawi takes a small number of prospective candidates from the AEC and, after a rigorous interview procedure, sponsors them through training at the Evangelical College of Malawi (EBCoM) in Blantyre.

The vision behind this important ministry is that: ‘By faith we see trained pastors and church leaders equipped to lead the Malawian Church. We see the Church growing both numerically and, most importantly, into deeper personal relationships with Jesus Christ.’

Outdoor Evangelism: EBCoM students engaged in outdoor evangelism in a Blantyre market area

“These scholarships generally cover tuition fees, boarding fees, and transportation to and from college each semester,” said Revd Wadi Chamambala Head of Christian Education in AEC.

“Without assistance like this, nearly none of the students or churches would be capable of financing a substantial, Christian education. Students are expected to provide their own funds for registration fees, books, and other personal expenses.  Upon completion of their studies, students are expected to undergo a one-year internship programme under an experienced pastor, in order to gain some practical and first-hand experience of ministry.”

Revd Wadi sees his role as Head of Christian Education for the AEC as wide ranging. “Christian Education looks at making sure training for pastors, and other departments which don’t have co-ordinators, is happening through facilitating recruitment of pastors, literature development, refresher course etc.,” he said.

Prayer requests

Please pray:

for increased passion for the interns to serve people wherever they are placed and a willingness to learn the practical skills of being an effective pastor.

for provisions for EBCoM to continue providing meaningful Biblical training.

that, in the midst of COVID, God would give wisdom in planning courses when a new college semester starts in

January 2021.

for Rev Wadi in his triple role as pastor, head of Christian education for AEC, and also the SIM office treasurer.

This year has proved difficult for the students and the college itself. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, EBCoM had to close its doors to lectures in March. Students have been trying to study from their homes. For many, however, this has not been an easy process, not least because of unreliable internet access, especially in more rural areas.

“Theological education provides skills for one ably and efficiently to interpret the Bible, making it possible for churches to be fed with sound teaching. It equips pastors with skills like counselling, preaching, evangelism, discipleship and others necessary for the health of the church,” said Revd Wadi.

Triple Role:  Local AEC Pastor and AEC’s Head of Christian Education, Revd Wadi Chamambala, picture in the SIM Malawi office where he is also our Treasurer

“But that is only part of the training we help to sponsor. Pastors ‘in the field’, as it were, are faced with many problems which theological training on its own may not help them to deal with. Problems such as members’ marital issues, drug abuse, school drop-outs due to early and unplanned pregnancies, just to mention a few, are common issues they have to deal with. This is where having a year as an intern can help the newly graduated student grasp vital life lessons.”

Pastor Wadi’s comments were echoed by Phillip Matemba, an EBCoM graduate who is serving along the lakeshore of Lake Malawi in Nkhotakota, which is Muslim dominated. 

“By the grace of God I have been able to minister to some individuals whom I am praying about that the Lord would convict their hearts to respond to God’s word.  If it were not for the training I had at EBCoM, it would have been very hard for me even to attempt reaching out to these people as they are very tough to reach out to.  Keep on praying for us,” he said.

 

The Final Test?: EBCoM students preparing for their final examinations (photo from exams in pre-COVID times)