The Seventh-day Adventist Church membership in Zambia has doubled in the past 10 years, growing from 500,000 members to more than a million. With a population of 15 million people, Zambia has the highest Adventist Church growth rate in Africa, and thousands are added to the church every year. What is the secret to the church’s success?
During a brief visit I made to Zambia on behalf of Light Bearers Ministry, one of the directors for the South Zambia Union Conference organized an advisory committee meeting which included directors from seven conferences and fields. We met in the small mining town of Mufulira, Copperbelt. Each director gave a short report on how the material from Light Bearers was used in 2016. One of the directors read the following statement:
“I was shown men and women studying with intense interest papers and few pages of tracts upon present truth. They would read the evidences so wonderful and new to them, and would open their Bibles with a deep and new interest, as subjects of truth that had been dark to them were made plain” (Ellen White, Christian Service, p. 149-150).
I realized these words perfectly described the influence of the literature Light Bearers is sending to Africa. Thousands of lives have been changed in Zambia due to the Bible lessons. In 2016, 1,420 Voice of Prophecy centers/schools were established. Over 45,000 sets of Bible studies from Light Bearers were used at the centers and 5,995 students graduated. Many students were baptized.
…he handed her the set of lessons, saying that someone told him to give her the papers and that she needed to read them.
But these were not the only ways that the Bible lessons were used. In the past, the church did public evangelism without leaving much literature with people. Now all who want to conduct public meetings have been advised to use Light Bearers literature as a seed-sowing tool before conducting any public outreach. The success rate has been astounding! Breaking the hard ground in unreached areas is much easier with the Bible lessons.
The higher levels of church leadership are encouraging the unions, conferences, and fields to work towards Total Membership Involvement (TMI). The team in Zambia claims that Light Bearers Bible lessons are the easiest and most effective way to achieve this goal. And it’s true. The studies are the best tool for evangelism in Zambia. Other countries are starting to realize the value of the literature through Zambia’s example.
The team in Zambia has set a goal for the next three years. They want to get as many as 16 containers of Bible lessons into Zambia by the end of 2020. They know the lessons’ value and they want to finish the work in Zambia. If the method is working successfully, why not capitalize on it?
Throughout that committee meeting, I could see that the Holy Spirit was working. Everyone on the team was united in purpose. Later in his car, the union director shared with me the secret of Zambia’s evangelistic success: Light Bearers Bible lessons. The church has trained people and established a good infrastructure to use the lessons for outreach. The team has refined the method even more and, by faith, has embraced the challenge for the next three years.
A Crazy Man Leads a Soul to Baptism
A Bible worker shared the following story with me:
A mad man came to my office one day demanding money. Just to get rid of him, I gave him some. However, he still would not leave. “What else do you want?” I asked. He then pointed to a set of Light Bearers Bible lessons on my table. I gave him the set and he left.
On his way, the mad man ran into a nurse he knew. When she greeted him, he handed her the set of lessons, saying that someone told him to give her the papers and that she needed to read them. She did not want to disappoint him, so she took them. At home, she decided to read them before disposing of them. The messages in the Bible lessons turned out to be too wonderful to toss away. She faithfully read all 26 lessons and answered the questions.
The last lesson had my phone number on it. She called me to find out how she could have her lessons marked and evaluated. When I visited her and went through her lessons, I saw that she had accepted Christ as her personal Savior and that she was looking for a Seventh-day Adventist church.
Literature is a way, as the quote said, to make truth plain and clear to people in darkness. As part of the Light Bearers team, I’m so grateful the Lord can use literature to shine a light on the gospel.