Church Planting and Growing
Church planting typically happens when the momentum of evangelism in any village creates a really strong demand and when the local Chiefs are at peace with a new church being established. Careful discernment is always required in an environment in which white people’s initiatives of any sort are inevitably seen as an opportunity for money or food.
Churches need leaders and leaders need support and encouragement. Only those villages which can be regularly reached by the team are realistic church plant opportunities. There are numerous existing churches that would love to be part of the work. Some of these are the legacy of earlier evangelism programmes by other groups no longer operating in the country. Similarly much discernment is required with these churches too.
The churches in the villages around Lilongwe were the first to be established. Some of them are now more than ten years old. Not all have survived and some are being cared for within a stream of churches with whom the Lotts worked in those early years. Through that period lives have been dramatically changed and over 1000 people have been baptised. The growing churches in and around Dedza and over the border in Mozambique are similarly gaining maturity and strength. Opportunities continue to arise to share the Gospel in more villages, and the process often leads to a request for a weekly Bible study which grows into discipleship training, leadership training and the emergence of a new church plant.
The work of the Joseph Project (vital feeding programmes, provision of warm blankets, clean water and the care of orphans) has always been handled through the churches and with the good will of the chiefs. The beneficiaries however have always been the most vulnerable in entire village communities.
Baptism at Nyombe