From Doug Hayes, Pastor in Covenant Fellowship, PA, and Executive Director of Covenant Mercies…
Way back in 2006, I made my first trip to Ndola, Zambia, to visit Wilbroad and Zicky Chanda in my capacity as director of Covenant Mercies. They had recently founded Lighthouse Christian School with a mission to serve orphans and vulnerable children in their own community. A formal partnership quickly ensued, and I have been a regular visitor to Ndola ever since.
Wilbroad had become familiar with Sovereign Grace while studying at Reformed Theological Seminary in the U.S. After returning to Zambia, his desire to be part of the Sovereign Grace family grew, eventually leading him to plant Christ Community Church in Ndola.
As we have gotten to know Wilbroad through the years, his gifting/calling to train and equip other pastors for the work of ministry has become increasingly clear. As a result, Sovereign Grace (especially the Northeast Region) has stood with him in his vision to formalize a Pastors College in Ndola modeled after the Sovereign Grace PC. Thus was born the Copperbelt Pastors College (named for the Copperbelt province in Zambia, of which Ndola is a part), with the initial goal of equipping a small group of aspiring pastors who may be called to plant churches in the region.
As word of Wilbroad’s pastoral training efforts spread, an increasing number of students expressed their desire to be involved; many of them already functioning as pastors, but with very little training. Rather than turn these men away, Wilbroad decided to absorb them into an ever-growing class, eventually dividing into morning and evening streams so that all could be accommodated (classes are typically held on evenings and weekends, since most students occupy full-time jobs and/or carry significant ministry responsibilities). In time, the class grew to more than 60 committed students. Five different Sovereign Grace pastors have flown in to teach weeklong modules. In the end, the class received the essential theological content of the Sovereign Grace PC curriculum over the course of about three years.
Earlier this month, I had the great blessing of participating in the graduation ceremony for this inaugural class. It was a joy to commend them for the diligence, hard work, and sacrifice I have observed over the past three years. They have truly “studied to show themselves approved.” While this won’t result in 60 Sovereign Grace church planters, a few graduates will have internships at Christ Community Church in the months to come, and we pray that some will plant churches and play a part in the formation of a new Sovereign Grace region in Zambia/southern Africa.
It has been a humbling and inspiring experience to observe the diligence and commitment of Wilbroad and these students for the past several years. We pray that this “day of small beginnings” will continue to grow into a work that equips many more pastors and leaders in the years to come, for the glory of God and the strengthening of His church in this region of the world.