Thrive

As the Field Director with the Zambia Center for Biblical Understanding with The Word Is Out, Rev. Sam Lael Mwase Zulu dreams of reaching the continent of Africa with the truth of Jesus Christ. Using the Inductive Bible Study (IBS) method, Rev. Zulu trains pastors and church leaders to observe, interpret and apply scripture so they can teach orthodox faith. Rev. Zulu believes that only a true understanding of Scripture can combat the heresies and unorthodox practices currently found in Africa.

“Inductive Bible Study has given me the tools and the skills to infer from the holy scriptures not only the character or the goodness of God and the inspiration contained in it, but His voice as well,” Rev. Zulu said. “It never occurred to me that God would speak to me through studying His word. Through this process, I have come to appreciate God and the love of The Lord Jesus Christ more. By getting to know the source documents of my faith, I have gotten to know God and allowed myself to be fully known by him.”

Although the church is growing rapidly in Africa, Rev. Zulu found that biblical teaching was not. False teaching and questionable “revelations” from God often damage the faith of young Christians.

“If in the next five to ten years the current status quo does not change, these unhealthy preaching practices being taught from the pulpits in the church across my nation and perhaps the whole of Africa, will make the church irrelevant to the African community,” Rev. Zulu said. “So the mission of our Center is exigent, and we need to provide the required IBS resources to the clergy with the utmost urgency it needs or deserves.”

Rev. Zulu had led cell groups within his church for several years and knew he was called to preach the gospel. In 2008, he met Dr. Alan J. Meenan, president and founder of The Word Is Out, at an Inductive Bible Study conference hosted by Ndola Baptist Church in Zambia. This conference became an annual event and Rev. Zulu became actively involved with the preparation and organization. In Rev. Zulu, Dr. Meenan recognized aptitudes and character traits needed to found a new Center for Biblical Understanding in Zambia.

In May 2011, The Word Is Out, who works in partnership with Asbury Theological Seminary, awarded Rev. Zulu a full scholarship to study at Asbury Seminary as part of the Champion Program. As part of this program, leaders receive funding to study at Asbury Seminary and after graduating return to their home country to plant a Center for Biblical Understanding that will train new leaders. The Word Is Out believes that the right understanding of the Bible will transform the teacher, and impact those they teach by bringing a deeper understanding of biblical literacy. To date they have taught in 12 different countries across North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and India.

After graduating with an M.A. in Biblical Studies in 2015, Rev. Zulu returned to Zambia in January 2016 and started sharing his vision with church and city leaders in Lusaka, Zambia. The International Center for Biblical Understanding began in 2016 with 24 students. Since the Center commenced its operations in 2016, 43 students, the highest enrollment ever, signed up in March 2020. In 2021, 40 students enrolled. One student Bishop Bright Kombe was especially zealous to study the Bible and share its truth. Bishop Kombe is now part of the Center’s staff and lecturing team. He is also an annual speaker at conferences, exhibits, and annual seminars.

Rev. Zulu and his wife Susan live in Zambia with three children, Leorah, their only biological child for now; and Daliso and Lillian Zulu that the Lord brought into their care. Zambia is derived from the Zambezi River, the fourth-longest river in Africa. Zambia was officially declared a Christian nation on Sunday, December 29, 1996, and Christianity is the state religion according to the preamble of the 1996 constitution. Most Zambians (95.5% as per statistics of September 18, 2021) are Christians of various denominations, but many other religious traditions are present. The church in Zambia has made great strides in reaching the unbelievers since the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation.

As you think about leaving a legacy for others, what advice would you give to someone just beginning ministry?

Don’t give up no matter the challenges you face as you serve the Lord. Challenges will always be there as you go about serving the Lord, but always remember you are not alone on this journey. I would tell them to learn to trust God in all that they do. The Lord who has called you into the Ministry is faithful to see you through. Secondly, look out for people within the circle of your ministry to help you fulfil your vision and help you with the burden of your work as a minister of the gospel. Sometimes, the work of the ministry will overwhelm you; it is in such moments, your fellow workers would help you through trying times. Thirdly, never neglect your family, attend to the needs of your wife and children. But, most importantly, don’t mix your ministry time with your family time. Manage your time prudently and leave the rest in God’s hands.

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