The annual and fifth Sola 5 conference was expertly hosted this year by the Brackenhurst Baptist Church in Alberton, South Africa. Brackenhurst indeed needs to be commended by us all, for their hospitality and fellowship were exemplary!
Having said that, I must stress that this fact has characterised all our conferences thus far. Local churches may be stretched on such an occasion (Brackenhurst Baptist Church catered for 450 hungry stomachs on Sunday, 6 September) but such an exercise always brings a rich blessing for the hosting church.
Representatives from Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, a large contingent from Zimbabwe and a handful from other countries in the world enjoyed rich fellowship for these few days. There was indeed a sense of elevated worship at these meetings as we heard, sang, prayed the Word of God which was received by all with much gladness.
Our theme—“Six Attributes of God-Centred Churches”—was based on Acts 2:42–47 and was expertly handled by our six speakers within the Sola 5 fraternity.
- Peter Sammons from Germiston Baptist Church: “Energised Fellowship”
- Jeff Gage from Free Grace Baptist Church, Boksburg: “Elevated Worship”
- Isaac Makashinyi from Emmasdale Baptist Church, Lusaka: “Empowered Prayers”
- Grave Singogo from Evangel Baptist Church, Lusaka: “Enriched Service”
- Doug Van Meter from Brackenhurst Baptist Church, Alberton: “Expanded Joy”
- Nico van der Walt from Antipas Reformed Baptist Church, Pretoria: “Enflamed Evangelism”
The conference was punctuated with exciting missionary reports on India, Germany, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. Sola 5 churches are involved in these countries. The Zambian churches have also responded to Macedonian calls from Ethiopia, Kenya and Sierra Leone. We look forward to energized fellowship with churches in these countries in years to come!
Annual Business Meeting
The Annual Business Meeting went smoothly and was characterized by a peaceful and contented spirit. Two new churches were received into our fellowship: Newcastle Baptist Church (South Africa, represented by their recently inducted pastor, Japie van Kampen) and Monte Christo Baptist Church (Windhoek, Namibia, represented by student intern pastor Tony Mbundu).
The Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary (SGTS) has now been moved to Lusaka, Zambia and will operate under the watchful eye of the Reformed Baptist Churches in Lusaka. Bruce Button and his family will move to Lusaka (DV) in October 2009. We are so thankful that the period of uncertainty with respect to the future of SGTS now seems to be something of the past. The Zambian churches are known for strong leadership initiatives. We are reminded that our participating churches are called to be faithful in their financial giving, remembering that this ministry will serve us all! The Secondary Training Program (or Basic Pastoral Training [BPT] program), which is led by Kobus van der Walt (Antipas, Vereeniging) was also highlighted. This program, I am convinced, has great potential in the development of pastors in our sub-region.
The Steering Committee consists of those that are currently serving in their second year of office: Roland Eskinazi, Doug Van Meter, Peter Sammons and Brian Stone, and those that were newly elected or re-elected: Dr Grave Singogo, Conrad Mbewe, Ronald Kalifungwa, Joachim Rieck and Christo Beetge. Christo Beetge is the newly appointed chairman of the Steering Committee.
We plan to hold our next conference (2010) in Harare, Zimbabwe. This is guaranteed to be a great encouragement for our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters. Plan now to be there and start saving for an experience of expanded joy!