The Missions Coordinator of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia, Brother Nsenduluka, visited a struggling church plant in beautiful Eastern Zambia a few months ago. The report of his visit revealed a faithful shepherd who has a long history of serving quietly whenever struggling flocks need his care. When the church-planting pastor left the Magazine church last year, Brother Tembo stepped up to care for the scattered flock. The church is growing once again.
In the first half of this article, we hear from Brother Nsenduluka about the history of the Magazine church plant and Brother Tembo’s crucial role in continuing the work. Then, in the second half of the article, we hear from Brother Tembo himself how the Lord has used him again and again in struggling churches.
A Scattered Flock Re-Gathered and Growing
“In 2000 –2001, Calvary Baptist Church, an English-language church plant of Lusaka Baptist Church, started gospel outreach activities in Magazine Compound with the intention of starting a vernacular (local tribal language) branch there. Gospel response was good and a vernacular service in Nyanja was started at Calvary Baptist Church itself.
The first setback for the Magazine work was in 2007, when Mr. Tembo, who was the principal preacher, left town due to a work transfer. The work was in troubled waters until Pastor Sangwani Mtika came after graduation. The church then moved from Calvary Baptist Church’s building to a house in Magazine. Under him the work boomed until January 2020, when he abruptly announced his departure. The church members were not prepared to part with the man they had come to love so much. The majority of the members left the church for other denominations.
Providentially, Mr. Tembo had moved back to Chipata by then, and was already working with Sangwani. After the pastor’s departure, Brother Tembo labored hard and recovered all those who had left the church. The church is once again flourishing, with Sunday attendance numbers between 45 and 50, which is more than the house where they meet can take. At the moment some people have to sit outside and listen through the windows.”
A Shepherd Quietly Serving Struggling Churches
“I served as an elder at Chipata Calvary Baptist Church from 1995-2007, when I was transferred to another province by my employers. At one point during this period, I was left alone at Calvary Baptist to provide leadership to the church following the transfer of two elders to Lusaka, and the resignation of the pastor following his call to take up mission work in Malawi (former HeartCry missionary Percy Chisenga). The current church-planting work in Magazine began during that difficult and trying time.
Following my move to Lusaka in 2008, I began to associate myself with the local church work at John Laing. I supported our brother, Baleni Dube, who was pastoring the church then. When he later chose to leave the work, I stood in the gap til Kabwata Baptist Church found a replacement pastor for the church. We worked together with pastor German Banda (current HeartCry missionary), who took over the work, til I left Lusaka for Chipata following the end of my contract with my employers in 2013.
Upon returning to Chipata in 2015, I rejoined membership at Calvary Baptist, and soon returned to help the Magazine mission work, where I was persuaded that I would be more useful in the ministry of God’s word. I must say the Lord has been hugely gracious by granting me fairly good insight into the things of God in the local language, and I find it hugely delightful and exciting to participate in God’s work in this way. We soon developed a great partnership with Pastor Sangwani until, to our sorrow, he chose to leave the work. The church is still smarting from the impact of his sudden departure. But again, providence seems to have conspired that I should be around at a time such as this to participate in stabilizing the work until a more permanent solution can be found.”
Please pray for Brother Tembo as he graciously and faithfully serves the church in Magazine. Pray for the gospel to bear much fruit and for the church to continue growing. And pray that the Lord will provide a full-time pastor for Magazine. Thank you.