Director, Mike Beresford , uses his New
Year message to outline the principles and practices of zm
I thank my God every time I remember
you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with
joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first
day until now, being confident of this, that He who began
a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the
day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1: 3-6).
Partnership in the Gospel
At the beginning of a new year, it seems appropriate to take stock of who
we are and what we are doing so I want to reiterate some of the foundational
principles of zm .
does zm even exist, when there
seems to be such a proliferation of different mission organisations today?
Especially since zm's main focus is upon Malawi, which
has a higher proportion of Christians than the UK! See http://www.operationworld.org/countries-alphabetically ).
zm exists to proclaim the Gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ and extend and strengthen His Church in Malawi,
northern Mozambique and the UK. The mission's work is effectively a “partnership
in the gospel” in which we work together with our African brothers and sisters
in Christ to help extend the Kingdom of God – not only in Malawi and northern
Mozambique, but also in the UK. But it is zm's approach
to mission that is particularly distinctive.
“Africa for the African”
zm was established in 1892 as a
self-supporting, self-propagating mission in Malawi (formerly Nyasaland):
a place then described as “beyond
the habitation of white men”. The mission's founder Joseph Booth was
years ahead of his time: writing in 1897 in a paper called “Africa for the
African”, he shared his views about equal rights for Africans, who he regarded
as best placed to spread the Gospel in their lands. The once revolutionary
idea of “Africa for the African” is central to the mission's practice today.
Although sending missionaries to Malawi has been a vital part of zm's history,
this is no longer the case today. Instead, the mission relies upon a small
team of African workers in Malawi; furthermore, zm is
now an enabling mission, working solely through local partners, supporting
them in their Gospel ministry. It could therefore be said that zm does
mission by proxy.
zm has five partners in Malawi and northern Mozambique:
Two of the mission's local partners
are independent church denominations: the Zambezi Evangelical Church (ZEC) and River
of Life Evangelical Church (RoLEC).
Congregation at Migowi ZEC
zm's partnership with the Evangelical
Bible College of Malawi (EBCoM) is unusual since zm is
also a co-owner of the college. Based in Blantyre in southern Malawi,
EBCoM is run collaboratively by five different Malawian evangelical church
denominations and three overseas missions (SIM, Brethren in Christ US
EBCoM Students Oct 2017
zm has a local partnership with J-Life
Ministries, who we collaborate with to provide Biblical leadership
and discipleship training.
Finally, zm also partners with Children
for Christ Ministry (CFCM), who have two focus areas: firstly,
running Bible clubs for children; also training Sunday school teachers
how to present the truth of the Gospel to children in an exciting and
interactive way, particularly recognising the lack of resources available
in Malawi. In 2017 CFCM trained over 1,000 Sunday school teachers.
Training of Trainers
The mission adopts three key principles:
We aim to work with our partners in a sustainable way – helping
them without creating unhelpful dependency.
Our relationships with our partners
will be equitable. We will avoid treating some lavishly, whilst others
Our relationships with our partners will be inter-dependent.
Instead of adopting a concept of “Westerners” helping the “needy” in Africa, zm believes
that our working partnerships are two-way relationships between equals:
those who are “all one in Christ Jesus”. In other words we need the church
in Africa, just as much as they need us - we are
mutually dependent on each other. As part of this aim, zm has
invited Pastor Mvula Mvula from the River of Life Evangelical Church in
Malawi, to visit the UK this year to see what God would say to us and our
supporting churches through him.
Worship at Chinguwo River of Life Evangelical Church
Partnership Focus Areas:
zm's work with our partners in Malawi and northern Mozambique
covers the following primary focus areas:
Pastor and elder training;
Increasing access to Scripture;
Supporting pastors and their churches
as they do the work of the church: evangelism, church planting, discipleship
and children's and youth ministry;
Supporting the church in its education
and healthcare activities, regarding these as part of the church's integral
Assisting our partners' leadership with
strategic and administrative development support;
Providing help to the most vulnerable
amongst our partners when necessary;
Worship at ZEC Fellowship of Youth