Church leaders and mission co-workers share respect and understanding
By Sevatt Kabaghe | Mission Crossroads
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – When the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Zambia was established in 1984, it had four ordained ministers, 16 congregations and two presbyteries with fewer than 10,000 members.
As of 2016, the synod had grown to 78 ordained ministers, 83 congregations, 15 presbyteries and more than 80,000 members. To address a shortage of pastors, the church opened Chasefu Theological College in eastern Zambia in 2007.
Partnerships with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and others are important in the work and lives of people in Zambia. As children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ, we are invited to partner through God’s global mission. We may have different gifts and outlooks, but we have the same goal — to work for God and achieve what God has put on our hearts, for God’s glory.
In Zambia, we say that “two cannot walk together without agreeing.” We love to be connected, networked and involved! The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Zambia has enjoyed partnership with the PC(USA) for many years, and we value the commitment and love we have witnessed through this partnership. When a relationship is grounded in God’s love, then we can share ideas of our vision for our church.
The CCAP Synod of Zambia is thankful for the mission co-workers who have come from the PC(USA). Relationships have been enhanced due to the work of Nancy Collins, regional liaison, who provides guidance and gives us support, spiritually and physically. We are thankful for Charles and Melissa Johnson’s service as our development specialist and facilitator for health education programs and for Sherri Ellington, the Zambia Young Adult Volunteer site coordinator.
While we have respect for each other, sometimes lack of understanding of the structure of the church and the culture can lead to challenges. We ask that our mission co-workers always work in collaboration with us and consult with us on any major work-related decisions. Our aim is that the mission co-workers will train our Zambian leaders to take over from them when they leave, so that the work they do will be sustainable.
What do we expect from our overseas partners?
- It is vital that the partner church work through the Synod office before connecting with the congregation. Partnership agreements should be church-to-church, as between the CCAP and the PC(USA), or congregation-to-congregation, but not individuals partnering with congregations or departments.
- As people with few resources, we tend to look at people from the U.S. as money givers. This can create a dependency syndrome; then when the money stops, the project may stop. It can be wise to train and equip people to continue a project, regardless of whether the partnership continues or the cash stops. It is also essential that we enhance cultural understanding to help visitors such as Young Adult Volunteers and others.
- Communication and understanding among partners is key to any relationship. In the CCAP Synod of Zambia, the general secretary handles all the correspondence for the synod, so we ask you to be patient with us when it comes to reporting. We want as much as possible to be transparent in all we do.
As the CCAP Synod of Zambia, we are very thankful for the partnership with the PC(USA). Assistance and relationship are much appreciated, and we respect any help rendered to us. The respect and love that we have for each other reflect God’s glory as we strive together to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that together we can serve Christ within and beyond the borders of our land.
The Rev. Sevatt Kabaghe is general secretary of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Zambia. This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Mission Crossroads magazine, which is printed and mailed free to subscribers’ homes within the U.S. three times a year by Presbyterian World Mission. To subscribe visit pcusa.org/missioncrossroads.
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