Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SOLA 5 CONFERENCE 2011 - Livingstone , Zambia

The ' Vic Falls'  seen  from the Zambian side

This annual  conference  of God centered Evangelicals in Southern Africa  was held at  the Livingstone Institute of Business and Engineering Studies . It    was well organized  in terms  of everything. Zambian hospitality , as always    was excellent . This   conference  was  held under the auspices of the Trinity  Reformed Baptist Church  in Livingstone . 

Hein Strauss & Christo Beetge  chairing  a session
After  the   steering committee under the leadership of Christo  Beetge ( Brackenhurst Baptist Church)  and our ever efficient  administrator , Hein Strauss ( Antipas Baptist Church – Pretoria) had   met on Thursday afternoon , 1st September  to ensure that  everything was  in place to commence with the  conference ,  the conference began with an evening fellowship supper followed by the first address .

The theme for this  year’s  conference  was , “  Living God’s Way  in God’s World : Christians impacting culture” .  
Six topics were assigned for the conference , all centering around  the cultural mandate  given to us in  Genesis  1:28  . I shall  make mention of the  topics and the speakers  only. (The messages  may be downloaded, I believe,   from the SOLA 5  Website   in MP3 or DVD format )

1 . Bruce Button ( Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary)  : The biblical basis for the cultural mandate
2. Jeff Gage (Free Grace  Baptist Church – Boksburg)  :  The theological  basis for the cultural mandate
3. Joachim Rieck  ( Eastside Baptist Church ) :  The historical  outworking of the cultural  mandate in western civilization
4. Conrad Mbewe ( Kabwata Baptist Church) : The place of Christian education in the fulfillment of the cultural mandate
5.  Ronald Kalifungwa( Lusaka Baptist Church) :  The place of  a biblical work ethic in the fulfillment of the cultural mandate
6. Choolwe Mwetwa  : ( Chingola Baptist Church)  :  The application of the cultural mandate in Africa . This  message  was preached in the context of a worship service held at  Trinity Reformed Baptist Church .
Three of our speakers  (l-r) Conrad Mbewe , Ronald Kalifungwa , Choolwe Mwetwa

The messages were  all thought provoking  and  challenging. The subject  at hand is  one that  needs to be  mulled over and discussed in our churches . The nature of  this conference was intensely practical  since it   dealt with  the application of the gospel  which frees us   to do good works  ( Eph 2:10)  in every sphere of our existence .

The preaching sessions  were interspersed with mission reports  and reports on  new church planting initiatives  ( e.g. Richard Raven in  Bloemfontein)   from  all the regions . It is wonderful to see how missionary minded our movement is !  
On Saturday  afternoon there  was  an elective  on youth ministry  offered by  Nick and Sheila Court of Stepwise Youth ministry .

On Friday afternoon , 2nd September  we held  our Annual Business Session .   Since SOLA 5 is not a denomination , but an association of churches , this session   was uncomplicated  and quickly accomplished .  A new steering committee was elected.  Peter Sammons  ( Germiston Baptist Church/ RSA)  was elected  as the chairman . The  Steering  Committee  consist of Hein Strauss ( Administrator) ,  Ronald Kalifungwa (alt.  Isaac Makashinyi)  Conrad Mbewe ( alt. Grave Singogo) , Christo Beetge , Pieter Slabber ( Eastside / Namibia) , Jeff Gage , Roland  Eskinazi; OB Macwele ( Swaziland) , Kobus van der Walt .

New  churches were received into membership : Kafue Reformed Baptist Church (Zambia ); Midrand Chapel (RSA) and  Birchleigh Baptist Church ( RSA)  .  
Pastor  Kennedy Sunkutu and wife  from Kafue Reformed Baptist Church

An encouraging  report  was given by Dr Ken Turnbull on  the development  of the African Christian University  in Zambia  and  Bruce  Button of the  Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary  ( Zambia ) . SGTS will hopefully  become the theological faculty  of this new Christian University.  

On Saturday afternoon, 3rd of  September   we had a bit of free time  and visited the majestic Victoria falls . The ever  efficient  Col. Phiri  had organized a Zambian Airforce bus for us and had negotiated a reduced entrance  fare  for us. Instead of paying U$ 20.00  we only had to pay U$ 10.00 .

This is now the 7th  SOLA 5 Conference  ,  since  this  Association of God Centered Evangelicals in Southern Africa was formed  in 2004 .

Looking Ahead  
Next year’s conference ( 2012)  will be hosted   by the Manzini Fellowship Church in  Swaziland , before the conference hopes to return once more to Namibia in 2013 .


John Mthetwa said...

Thanks for the update, and sad that my wife and I missed it when it was too close to us. We keep praying that this forum continues to grow both quantitatively and qualitatively. we pray that we make it to Manzini next year, the Lord permitting.

Conrad Mbewe said...

If the photo of the Victoria Falls was taken during this visit, then it confirms why I was hesitant to go and see it. It looks like it would have been of greater interest for a geologist!

Please come again in April to June. You will see the Falls in its "full bloom"--i.e. if you will be able to see it at all.

All the same, it was a great conference. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the messages and the fellowship. We look forward to the next treat in Swaziland.

Joachim Rieck said...

Conrad , I think that the Vic falls are more than just the amount of water that pours over the precipice. The geology and the entire surrounding is breathtaking .

As for the conference in Livingstone - I thought it was superb . It has left me with a lot of food for thought.

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