Zambia is a Middle Income Country!

According to recent reports in our national papers Zambia has been re-classified as a middle income country by the World Bank.  As we celebrate these achievements let us also request from our leaders that they offer us persuasive statistical reports that are summarized, easily readable, and filled with tangible local examples of economic and social transformation!

Ideally, it seems to me, that each nation should be in the business conducting a comprehensive survey in order to evaluate itself. It is vital that each nation know how well its doing in the area of meeting main socio-infrastructural needs: these range from safe housing, access to clean water, increased employment opportunities, reduction of poverty, stimulation and organization of education, improved health and more efficient communication systems (i.e. internet services). Specifically What new kind of businesses are starting in communities where people live in extreme poverty? Are essential public services such as hospitals, public libraries, and even play grounds for children available or improving in communities most needed? Furthermore, are our people aware about their responsibilities in maintaining environment care and working hard in keeping their communities clean and safe from communicable diseases?

For us in Zambia our report should include how we are dealing with issues of drunkenness, orphans and vulnerable children and HIV and AIDS.  These three symbols of human tragedy  should especially be of interest to the church. In many of our communities bars open their doors much earlier than churches on Sundays. It is familiar to be going to church on Sunday and meeting a child reaching out his or her hand begging and having people miss church service because they are sick or attending funeral because of HIV and AIDS. Truly, our problems, if left to run their own course, continue to rob our people in every direction of their lives-physically, socially and spiritually.

Therefore, as local church leader it follows that should be interested in the content of this World Bank report. This report should lead one to you to ask probing questions for your local church. For example, how is your local church positioned to address these issues? (or is it inwardly-focused, striving most for its own survival and convenience, and for the preservation of its privileges?). Is it organized to serve itself, or to serve God and the community? These are questions we must ask ourselves as church leaders. Churches must survey their communities if they are to be relevant.

In Acts 17 we learn the importance of surveying our communities. The Bible states that, “in Athens, he (Paul) was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city.”  This demonstrates that he took time to learn about the community. He then went on to communicate the good news by building a case of the one true God not endorsing their god but using the inscription as a point of entry for his witness to the one true God. May you use the World Bank ‘inscription’ as a point of entry for your witness to the one true God in your local community. May God give us each ears to hear, and may we look in order to appropriately see and address these urgent issues.

Lawrence Temfwe