On a Sunday morning in Chirundu, Zambia, a symphony of voices worshipping in various church buildings pours out into the streets. But even though there is a strong Christian presence here, people haven’t always been receptive to hearing the story of Jesus.
Pastor Peter Lengwe, who leads the Apostolic Church of Zambia, noticed a hostility to his evangelism in rural communities. “I used to go door-to-door preaching,” he said. “But people were not accommodating. They wanted me to leave.”
Pastor Lengwe was frustrated because he knew the power that the message of God’s love has to transform lives, but his audience didn’t want to hear this good news.
However, his ministry strategy evolved after attending a pastors’ training—hosted by Living Water Zambia’s Church Mobilization and Gospel Proclamation Coordinator, Collins Halwindi.
Faith leaders from 25 nearby churches came together to network, discuss their challenges, and learn best practices on how to more effectively reach their communities with the hope of Christ.
Using methods like Bible storying to reach oral-preference learners, Pastor Lengwe has seen a noticeable difference in the way people receive the gospel message.
“Now we share stories from the Bible, and everyone wants to hear,” he said. “Even those who don’t know how to read and write are able to understand and then share the gospel with other people.”
During this training, Living Water staff also introduced these pastors to the concept of integral mission. Modeled by the public ministry of Jesus, the integral mission approach addresses the needs of people holistically, including their physical, social, and spiritual well-being.
Now Pastor Lengwe teaches sanitation and hygiene lessons while preaching on a local radio station. During their Sunday service, his wife, Dorothy, shares life-saving hygiene education with the congregation and connects these healthy practices with wisdom from the Bible.
And when the Apostolic Church of Zambia made plans to move into a new building, the first structure they built was a latrine!
When churches become advocates for the physical and spiritual health of their communities, they can foster sustainable, lasting behavioral change and improve the quality of life for an entire region.
Today, in Chirundu, pastors are mentoring one another and joining together to find solutions to the unique challenges their communities face.
“We realized that as the Church, we had concentrated more on preaching the gospel than demonstrating the gospel,” Pastor Lengwe said. “The church cannot grow if people are sick.”
In July 2018, 470 pastors from across Africa met in Lusaka, Zambia, for a Genius of One Conference hosted by Living Water and The Crossing—a multi-site church in St. Louis, Missouri.
Leaders from different nationalities and denominations came together to worship and learn about God’s heart for unity in the body of Christ.
In Zambia and across the globe, Living Water is equipping the local Church to better testify to God’s love—in word and deed—and mobilizing the global Church help our thirsty sisters and brothers thrive.