Day 1 of the Bi-Annual Church Conference was encouraging from the start. This year’s theme is, "Things Most Surely Believed among Us" and we had Pastor Choolwe Mweetwa preach the introductory sermon on, “The Place and Importance of the Local Church."
He started by first outlining the popular views people have about the local church. How to some church attendance is for social reasons or to fulfil a societal norm. He, however, then took us into the scriptures and showed from Psalm 122: 1 - 9 and Ephesians 5: 19 – 21 what the local church really is and its vital role in enhancing our understanding and our love for God. He defined the local church as the House of the Lord.
The local church provides a place where we can: be personal with God; hear from Him through the preached word; speak to Him in prayer; participate in giving for the benefit of His work; help each other through mutual edification and the bonds of fellowship; and offer worship through sinning from our hearts as a body of believers. We were encouraged to exploit every opportunity to meet with God and to encourage one another to “go to the house of the Lord”. Like Kind David may we be very glad to go to the house of the Lord and meet with Him and His people. May God help us to share this enthusiasm and joy as we grow together as Lusaka Baptist Church. The Conference continues tonight at 18:00hrs and we look forward to hearing about the “Things Most Surely Believed among Us”.
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LBC Church Conference
Day 2 of the annual church conference was helpful as we walked down memory lane through our histroy. Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa was dealing with the topic, " Things most assuredly believed among us". In this very topic he unpacked the Baptist Confession of Faith and why we hold to it. Its origin begun in 1689 with the influence of John Calvin, the Presbyterian Church and many more Reformed teachings which we as a church still refer to even today. We went through sections of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith to understand it's purpose and how we should respond to it. Pastor Kalifungwa emphasised that, "The Confessions of Faith is not ment to divide, but to unite." (Eph 4 : 4 ). So may we be broken as a church and allow God to unite us together as one body.
Day 3 of the annual church conference was a very heart felt sermon delivered by Pastor Choolwe Mweetwa. His topic of interest was, "Relating to our leaders". He used 1 Thessalonians 5 : 12 - 13 as his passage bringing out the importance of leadership which is for organisation and structure just like in the God head. We have the eldership, the diaconate and all sorts of other leaders in the church who the church must; recognise as being chosen by God, submit themselves to their authority, esteem them highly by how we talk to them or talk about them. We must also pray for them and love them deeply. Pastor Choolwe stressed the need for the body to love the Pastor. We must be at peace with them. ( 1 Timothy 5 : 17 ,1 Timothy 5 : 19 , 1 Peter 5 : 5). The elders provide guidance and protection in our lives. "Leaders are gifts from God to the church." May provide reverence in our relationship with the elders.
Day 4 of the annual church conference had three sections. We were blessed to have Pastor Choolwe Mweetwa lead the first two then finally Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa.
The role of men, women and young people
In the first session, Pastor Mweetwa dealt with the various groups of people in the church (young, old, male and female) and showed from the scriptures how they coexist in harmony. Every individual in the church has a role to play and God has given them ability to function in sync.
The practice of worship
In the second session, Pastor Choolwe Mweetwa lead the congregation through the bible once again and asked very important questions that everyone needs to think through. "Why do we come to church?" What's your reason? There is only one important reason for people to come to church. Other reasons can be valid but this one is the most important and we should take note of it.
" No greater privilege can mortal man know than to be in the presence of God".
Lunch and Fellowship
The church broke off for lunch and there was deliberate action taken to feed every individual. It was a warm environment for old friends to catch up, people to get to know each other and just spend extra time with each other. It was a wonderful time.
The fellowship of the church
The third session was lead by our very own Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa. He was dealing with fellowship as members of the church. We don't just have fellowship with people because it feels right, it is an instruction made by God and it's seen in the God head as well.
The Christian life needs community and that is what fellowing enables. Pastor Ronald said, "Fellowship is a partnership between individuals with a similar goal." Identifying yourself with the community and the activities of the community. Participating in the shared life of the church. Do you as a person have something like this? Do you share in this community?
Take note the only thing that makes this community possible is Jesus.
Discussion and Group Study
This was a time to give our response to what had been learnt. The congregation broke into 4 groups with some questions from all the days. This was our opportunity as a church to give feedback to the eldership.
We immediately had presentations after the study from all the groups then Pastor Kalifungwa closed the event for the day.
Day 5 of the annual church conference, which was the final day was a wonderful end to the conference. We had two groups being; the children's group and the group in the main sanctuary. Elder Hibanjene lead the former and Pastor Mwetwa lead the latter.
Home Sweet Home
Elder Hibanjene brought to the children the idea of how you make home sweet. The general idea was on how children should obey their parents and by doing so, they will be sweetening the home.
He was tackling this by working through a few passages but his focus was Ephesians 6 : 1 , Colossians 3 : 23. Obeying your parents is pleasing to the Lord. He urged the children to obey their parents. He highlighted that Jesus's obedience made Him grow in wisdom. If this is not followed, if disobedience is followed, you will be punished by your parents and worse off by God . It was a relevant message and we thank the Lord for this.
Maintaining the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace
Pastor Choolwe's focus was on the unity in the church and that a divided church witnesses to the lordship of Satan.
To honour Christ we ought to exhibit oneness. A sense of family and the beauty of this invites a possibility of working together despite the differences we have. God's redemption brings us together giving the church one hope and giving the church ability to function solely through the Spirit of God as one.
Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa reminded the church that we as a body have to maintain this bond that ties us by being of one mind, being of the same love, being of the same spirit and being of the same purpose.
This unity brings people together by strengthening them, validates Christ's main mission and it provides a divine level of serenity.
It was pleasant to receive such a timely message.
Discussion and Study
A few questions were distributed to the study leaders and the congregation was broken into four groups. A few questions were handled and finally a time to present was given to get the response from the congregation.
Elder Mwansa gave the conclusion of the discussion and re emphasised the general topic of unity and how to deal with things that break unity by knowing what God says about unity.
Elder Chiwele gave some acknowledges to the necessary groups, individuals and finally the speakers (Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa and Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa). They really did a tremendous job and it was sad that the conference had to end today.
May the Lord keep using them for great works. May God be eternally praised and glorified by this.