This is a BIG vision and I think one that is worthy of our expectations of our BIG God “who desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” It was William Carey who said “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” This is a worthy aspiration for all true disciple making believers of Jesus Christ.
To accomplish this vision we must believe not only that God can do it (He Can!), but that it is also His desire to do it. I believe it is. The Lord has established His Church as His ambassador on earth. The local church is that ambassador in any given locale. A healthy local church makes a better representation than an unhealthy church.
Healthy churches must be bible centered and need pastors whose priority it is to teach and preach “the Book.” This is especially critical in a place that has very few Bibles per believer. Zambia is “saturated” with cults and false prophets, but not Bibles, nor Bible centered churches, nor Bible trained pastors. Many churches will have only one or two old copies of the Bible. Many rural churches will not have Bibles in their “heart” language. Many churches will not have a trained pastor. Well trained pastors are crucial to Christ’s Church because they have the mandate to “equip the saints to do work of the ministry, building up the church to become unified in THE FAITH and in THE KNOWLEDGE of God’s Son, GROWING into mature believers who looks like Christ” (Ephesians 4:12 – 13 paraphrased). This can only happen as believers love, learn and live the Word of God and trained pastors are an integral part of this spiritual equation.
Christ Jesus Himself gave “some” gifted men to the Church for this very purpose. Gifted men need to be trained. Disciple-making and training does not happen in a vacuum. The individual mandate is for pastors to “be diligent and study” to become good workers in the Word. The corporate mandate is to “make disciples/train followers.” Pastoral training should not be the exception but the rule for God-called men. The pursuit of training approves the “call” and accomplishing it qualifies the called. Learning the disciplines of good Bible study and pastoral care as well as a thorough understanding of the Word of God are part and parcel of being an Ephesians 4 pastor-teacher or evangelist (church planter). Jesus, our example, Himself being “called” “learned obedience through the things He suffered”. In fact, training should be the life long pursuit of the “God-called” man.
This “corporate” mandate to make disciples is the driver to accomplishing the mission in Zambia. Jesus said that the “disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained (discipled) will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Paul instructed the Corinthians to “follow/imitate me as I follow/imitate Christ”(1 Cor. 11:1). HBM Zambia pastors in the pastoral training program are all being discipled and becoming disciple makers with the goal that all look like “Jesus”. The goal of the District Leader is to be discipling at least 10 “HUB” leaders who in turn are discipling their “Peter, James and John” who will also make three disciples to the 4th generation (2 Timothy 2:2). It is the goal of each District to develop and train up to 400 pastors and plant and/or build up 400 churches in a 6 to 7 year period using the “1 to 3” HUB Model. Today Zambia has 22 Districts and 147 HUB leaders training hundreds of men. In late 2008 there was 1 LARGE district and 35 HUB leaders and churches. The Lord is blessing the “disciple making” process.
It is the dream and vision of HBM Zambia that the 22 Districts become 9000 trained pastors and churches by 2020. I fully expect to have over 30 districts by 2015.
This follows the motto of Hope Builders Ministries, “Equipping Disciple to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples”. The “1 to 3” HUB Model is the method HBM uses to accomplish its mission.
This year 400 new pastors have been brought into pastoral training and discipleship. In November another 600 will join the training.
HBM Zambia has a BIG Vision and we are confident that our BIG God will continue to empower us and YOU to “Saturate Zambia with Bible believing churches with trained pastors.”
Jeff Hawkins is the HBM Zambia Coordinator working with Hope Builders Ministries, Greenwood, VA.
(If you would like Jeff to speak to your church, missions team or small-group contact him at: Jeff@HBMin.org)