Zomba is the fourth largest city in Malawi with a population of over 90,000. Zomba district as a whole has a population of approximately 750,000. This region is unique in Malawi in the sense that its’ population is divided between nominal Christians and Muslims. Zomba is located between the commercial city of Blantyre, where we are, and Mangochi, which is the Islamic hub of Malawi.
Southeastern Malawi, known as the lakeshore area, has the largest population of Muslims in Malawi. The greatest need for this area is sound, biblically ordered churches. Planting a Reformed Baptist church in Zomba gives our gospel work a crucial foothold in one of the most needy parts of the country. It also opens a door to reaching out to Muslims in this part of the country. While 50% of the people in this area profess faith in Christ, 80% of this group is nominal Christianity. By that we mean that most of them cannot articulate the gospel, nor do they seek to share their faith with their neighbor.
Zomba is also home to the largest university in Malawi, where we have enjoyed fruitful ministry over the past few years. We meet with students 3-4 times each month to teach God’s word and disciple them, as well as holding larger evangelistic events a couple of times per year. This led to what we are calling ‘Theology Boot Camp,’ an annual weekend event of intense doctrinal teaching.
We have been shocked by the response, with 180 students attending to study the ‘Doctrines of Grace’ in 2018, and even more coming to study the ‘Sufficiency of Scripture’ in 2019. From these interactions, we have had students, and even professors, asking when we were going to start a church in Zomba that faithfully teaches the Bible, rather than the false ‘prosperity gospel’ so rampant in our country. This has been our great desire for some time, but we have been waiting on God to make clear who should go.
Maya is a graduate of African Bible College, Lilongwe, Malawi. He graduated with a Degree in Biblical Studies and also completed a Masters of Divinity with the Central African Preaching Academy (CAPA). CAPA is a part of the TMAI training centers. After finishing his MDiv, Maya interned with International Bible Fellowship in Lilongwe. He had the opportunity to intern for 2 years, helping the elders with preaching, evangelism, and discipling young believers.
The plan is for Maya’s family to join Antioch Baptist Church for a period of one year. During this period, our elders will prepare him and his family for church planting. Among other things, he will be serving in various ways in our church – teaching in small groups and campus Bible studies, and, when called upon by the elders, preaching on Sunday morning.
This time in Blantyre will also give members of Antioch Baptist Church time to know Maya and his family, but also assess and confirm his calling and gifts for the ministry. Because the work of church planting is in Zomba, where we are already doing various ministries, Maya will be making weekly trips alongside Antioch elders to disciple, teach Bible studies, and conduct seminars on various subjects for students.
As we enter this exciting phase of new gospel work in Malawi, please be in prayer for Maya’s family, Antioch Baptist Church and her elders, and for the spiritually needy region of Zomba which seems ripe for harvest.