Garden Compound

How does Zambia intend to solve the biggest national problems? This was the question that troubled me after listening to church and business leaders at a two day video-cast Global Leadership Summit at Go Centre a few weeks ago. Rick Warren a pastor of 30 thousand church memberships outlined the biggest unsolved global problems as being spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy. Bill Hybels, pastor of 23,000 member church told us that a leader who guides people to their preferred dream must first make them see how awful their situation is. Jack Welch a former CEO at General Electric inspired us on the importance of picking a winning team to make change happen.

Here is why I was troubled. Zambia fits into the description of unsolved problems. Many Christians would argue that Zambia does not suffer from spiritual emptiness. This is true at one level and we must be grateful for the message of hope in Christ that is freely spread through the radio, television, Sunday gatherings, schools, hospitals and public transport and home to home evangelism throughout the nation. However, I would also argue that a version of the gospel we often hear rarely addresses the issues of disease, servant leadership, poverty or illiteracy as spiritual problems. In Hosea, God laid the problems of diseases, corruption, ignorance and lack of servant leadership on religious leaders who were preaching a version of the Word of God (Hos. 4). Hosea explained that because “there was no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land … all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.”

At development level the news we hear and watch on television tell us all is well-schools and hospitals are being built, roads are being constructed, farming and mining is booming. Christians must celebrate these successes in context. For example are people thriving and growing? Are there more jobs and opportunities everywhere and for everyone? Are people hopeful about the future? Do they have resources to send their children to Copperbelt University or University of Zambia? Are they getting better health care? Can they get house or farming loans with affordable interest rates? Do they have a secure pension scheme? Are they grateful to the nation for the opportunities? Are they giving back to their communities by donating time and money to worthy causes? Are they passionately participating in building houses for child headed households and mentoring orphaned children in our community schools?

The recent destruction of vehicles and a police post in Garden Compound is a statement that we have communities in the nation that have no idea that the government is working hard to providing better justice system, police, education, water and sanitation, hospitals and roads. It is also a statement that we may not have leaders in those communities who are helping people understand how awful their situation is and how they can overcome in ways that are peaceful and God honoring. Garden, Mtendere East and Kaloko communities need church leaders who will remind people often why they can’t live under those conditions and equip them with skills that will take them to a preferred place. They need servant leaders who steward their influence and be a voice for them. They need church leaders who will remind them that “lack of acknowledgement of God’ lead to violence, murder and destruction of infrastructure. Is your church in Garden compound? Do you have members who live in Garden? Where was their voice when the police post was being destroyed? Where was their influence when vehicles were being burnt? Or is this not a spiritual issue?

Lawrence Temfwe