This eldership report is presented on behalf of all the elders at EBC. In this report we give you an idea of what has happened and our way forward from an eldership perspective. Needless to say, this covers events from January 2010 to December 2010.
The Lord has been very gracious to us and we have been able to meet and pray for the church and members at our eldership meetings. The current elders are: Elder W. Tembo (Chairman); Pastor C. Sakalunda (Youth Pastor/Secretary); Elder L. Nkhoma and Pastor G. Singogo. We are grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for the unspeakable and humbling privilege of serving as his undershepherds. We are conscious that we are not perfect and needless to say we may have failed you in one way or the other.
May we also report the traumatic road traffic accident on 7 November, 20km east of Nyimba (Eastern province of Zambia), which nearly claimed the life of our elder Nkhoma and his family on their way to Lusaka. We were greatly afflicted as a church, when we heard of the accident but we thank God that he graciously preserved the lives of the Nkhoma family. Were it not for the Lord, we would have been severely dented as an eldership, as well as seen the loss of a gift to the church.
We also report that eldership has not done very well in the last two years in terms of pastoral visitation of members. We hope that this coming year you will see a difference in this area. May we also take opportunity to remind members that due to the heavy demands on the church pastor, it is not always be possible for him to visit each and every member in the congregation, but he will always endeavour to do so. The elders help the church pastor in this matter and therefore, eldership visitation must be construed as a visit by the church pastor. Further, members should feel free to request visitation by the church pastor, if they feel it is long overdue. Beginning this year, the pastor will avail himself in his office on Wednesdays as far as humanly possible, from 11:00 to 16:30 for any pastoral issues, discussions or prayers etc. without necessarily making prior appointment. Please make use of this opportunity.
This is a very challenging part of leadership. But the elders would like to give a very big thank you to the diaconate. They have worked tirelessly to meet many membership needs placed upon them from the eldership; sometimes, these demands have been immense and have been given at very short notice. And yet the deacons have responded and executed the request of eldership. May we also extend our congratulations to our deacons who have managed in the space of one year to replace 170 plastic chairs with wooden benches. This has improved our seating capacity and comfort.
We have seen an increase in church membership, which is fast approaching 150, and is expected to exceed this by the end of the year 2011. We had 15 people join us through the waters of baptism and some through church transfers. We are delighted that three of the church members were converted as a result of ministry here at EBC. Currently, we have people in the baptismal and membership class seeking membership, as well as people who are waiting to enrol for the next class. This has been a cause of rejoicing in the eldership, but we are concerned that whereas there is growth in quantity, we pray for more qualitative growth spiritually. To this end we urge members to indulge in the reading of worthwhile Christian literature. We believe there is a great dearth in this area among members.
Our Church constitution allows for previous members who, for one reason or other, are meeting at a church outside the country, but wish to identify with the ministry here at EBC; they are given “double” membership. We report on these members.
Firstly, Pastor and Mrs Ngwisha, who you may recall were members here, but responded to a call to go to Dubai where Pastor Ngwisha serves on the eldership there in charge of discipleship. They are doing well. Their church has opened up another small but growing church, and Pastor Ngwisha, who previously served on the eldership here, is quite heavily involved in that work.
Secondly, Mr Clement and Mrs Ruth Mugala, who are based in Canada, have been a great encouragement to the church here. It was very stimulating to hear from Ruth when she shared concerning the grace of God upon them in Canada. They are expecting to permanently move back to Zambia, God willing this year.
Thirdly, we report on Mrs Lillian Nyirongo and Ms Mwiche Sichula, who are expatriate nurse and teacher respectively in Kisani, Botswana. They fellowship at a non-Reformed church, but their prayer perhaps with the help of Pastor Michael Bwembya, current Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Livingstone. Please do continue to pray for these our brethren.
Unfortunately, we had one member put on church discipline in the last year. But it is our great joy to report that this member and one other, who was also on church discipline from the previous year, were restored back to full membership. What was heartwarming was they both cooperated and submitted to eldership throughout their time of discipline.
We are delighted with this program, particularly with the Holiday Bible Week, which culminated in a presentation at the Christmas Guest Service. Our concern, however, is that we note that there are individuals within the congregation who are gifted and can assist with Sunday school but have not applied themselves to this area. We would urge all such church members to exercise their Sunday school gift. Further we note that a good number of guardians have not made available their dependants to this very important means of grace. We recommend that all guardians with young dependants to give priority to this ministry this year.
Youth Ministry / Senior YP
We were and have been very encouraged with the work of the youth pastor regarding this ministry. It was heartwarming especially to see the successful renaissance and launch of the Holiday Youth Bible Week in August 2010. This is something we would certainly encourage. However, we believe that improvement needs to be made in the area of time keeping, and again some guardians deliberately making efforts to avail their youths to be at the meetings.
Media and Music
This ministry has achieved remarkable milestones. We are now able to record sermons on both CD and DVD. The sound system is now upgraded and the acoustics are much better, to the point that even if one sits at the back of the auditorium they are now able to clearly capture what is being said from the pulpit. The church, however, is encouraged to advertise and purchase the CDs and DVDs not necessarily for personal use, but also for evangelistic and teaching purposes by making them available beyond the borders of EBC.
We continue to be inspired by this ministry which, despite innumerable discouragements, has continued to date. A lot needs to be done in the area of men at EBC in taking deliberate effort to support this ministry not just by attending the meetings but also assisting and meeting set financial obligations.
Eldership wishes to take cognisance of the wonderful input this fellowship has made and is making. We are encouraged by their constant availability in helping out at major church events such as the Christmas Guest Service. We are conscious of the biblical background work they do in preparing the women folk for marriage and similar work. Eldership however, requests, that the syllabus of what is being taught to these women who are being prepared for marriage is made available to eldership.
Eldership recognizes the importance of this ministry. We would like to see at least two more meetings scheduled by this ministry this year. Otherwise, we appreciate the great effort and planning that appears to go in the preparation of the meetings.
This ministry, which caters for singles of marriageable age, has had many challenges and continues to do so. We are happy that this ministry, which had demised, has been resuscitated in the last year by our Youth Pastor, Collins Sakalunda. Please continue to pray for this ministry.
Eldership wishes to express their continued support and desire to see this ministry grow and mature.
Eldership are delighted that this class has received a lot of support through increasing attendance by members. The meeting place at the back of the church has grown too small and we hope that this year that the deacons can seriously budget for chalets to accommodate the rising number of attendees.
Eldership places great emphasis and importance to Sunday school, both as a Bible study class and as a ministry. Eldership is concerned at the low numbers of dependants availed to this seemingly insignificant but prime ministry of the church. We believe the evil one has blinded the church into ignoring this part of church ministry. May we plead with church members to make Sunday school a priority this year, and demonstrate this not only by availing their dependants at 09h00 each Sunday, but also by volunteering to teach at Sunday school as well. However, eldership conveys gratitude to all the teachers who have been selfless in giving themselves to Sunday school despite the discouraging challenges. Please do not waver in serving the Lord in this way.
We have been going through the book of Job in the mornings and in the evenings through Old Testament Bible characters.
The church still needs to learn to accommodate and relate to visitors at church.
The church still needs to grow in the area of one to one evangelism especially after the ministry of God’s Word on Sunday.
FUTURE PLANS / PRAYER ITEMS
- Training for church members on one to one evangelism.
- To finalize and implement the church strategic plan.
- Elders to put in place a more aggressive visitation program.
- To build chalets particularly in view of the expanded adult Bible study group; the current meeting place has become too small.
Overall, church has made good progress and eldership is pleased with the peace and fellowship members enjoy. Pray for us at Evangel Baptist Church.
Compiled by Pastor G Singogo