Although 75% of Zambians identify themselves as "Protestant" and another 20% identify as Roman Catholic, witchcraft and domestic violence are culturally acceptable practices.
Let’s stop and think about that for a minute. How could this be?
Many sincerely want to follow the Lord, but aren't sure where their culture contradicts His ways. So they keep doing what they've always done.
Few know any different. And that can include leaders and pastors.
Many do not have their own copy of the Bible.
Continuing education and discipleship materials are difficult to come by, so they do the best they can.
Without a copy of God's Word to read for themselves, well, it's tough to know who God is, what He’s done, who that means we are and what God lovingly asks of us. And it's tough to equip others, too.
Without discipleship or training to understand it, God’s Word becomes subjected to the lens imposed by the culture around it.
This is why it is crucial for pastors to understand the implications of God’s Word for the social issues faced by his culture.
But few have this opportunity.
One of the main functions of the ministry of ITMI’s Timothy Keller is providing training and support to pastors, church leaders and chaplains.
1.Timothy’s seminars start with the discipleship basics: Gospel, repentance, grace and forgiveness.
Timothy Gives a Seminar in a Remote Village in Zambia
At the seminars, pastors have the opportunity to learn, ask questions and discuss issues they have faced. The knowledge they gain from the more formal teaching is enriched by discussing the issue with their peers.
The seminars foster Christ-centered, Biblically-based forums for pastors to learn and help each other lead their communities in Christ.
2.Timothy’s seminars equip pastors to be instruments of God’s grace and provision to the less fortunate.
The Bible clearly implicates the Church to oversee the care of widows and orphans. However, if mercy projects are not done properly and Biblically, it can be detrimental to the community.
The church needs to wisely, gently and graciously shepherd the provision for those who truly are dependent on others. It also needs to foster and build dependance when that is possible.
For example, education initiatives, distributing seeds for planting or backing micro-businesses can bolster the independence of some, if done wisely.
3.Timothy gives about 8-10 seminars a year.
Given that extensive and challenging travel over dangerous terrain that masquerade as roads is a requirement for many of these seminars, this is quite impressive!
An African "road" through Timothy's windshield.
The seminars cost $800 USD on average, including fuel for transport. When you support Timothy and Ashley Keller, this is one of the things those gifts accomplish.
4.About 30-50 people attend Timothy’s conferences.
Timothy’s seminar in Eastern Province is an exception. It usually has 70-180 in attendance! That means 240 - 500 pastors and leaders are benefiting from these seminars in any given year!
Timothy teaching in Eastern Province, Zambia.
5.Timothy’s Seminars are Reaching Beyond Physical Limits
Timothy’s live seminars are effective, but he can’t get to everyone. Many pastors do have access to laptops or phones with audio or video capability.
Because electronic resources are easily shared with others, their impact will be far-reaching. The Kellers are expanding their ministry to include audio and video discipleship tools that can be made available to many.
Timothy is an excellent candidate to develop such resources.
He has been mentoring and discipling pastors all over Africa for over a decade. He has seen first hand the issues they face and discoursed with them on their challenges.
Timothy has been mentoring and discipling all over Africa for over a decade. (South Sudan, 2002)
He has given seminars in Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and Malawi. He has seen how to present the truth of God’s Word in a way that is effective for Africans.
Pray for Pastors in Africa is Critical. Their Challenges are Enormous.
“Pray for pastors in Africa. I can’t overstate how critical this is.
There are many amazing men and women across Africa who have a heart to spread the Gospel, disciple others, and bring the light of Christ to their communities.
Their challenges, both physical and spiritual, are immense. Please keep these people in prayer.
Ask God to equip them with discipleship materials and teachings that are Biblically sound and help them grow in Christ.
Pray they would be given courage to stand up against socially accepted practices such as witchcraft and domestic violence. They need God’s grace in their lives so they can provide for their own families while being God’s instruments in Africa.”
We are so thankful for your prayers, faithfully offered.
Your prayers and partnership with ITMI is making a difference in the lives of these pastors and the people they are ministering to in Zambia and beyond.
The Keller Family