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Equipping the Church in Malawi

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Next month, the doors will officially open at the Central African Preaching Academy (CAPA) in the capital city of Lilongwe, Malawi. The seeds of TMAI’s newest training center, however, were sown nearly two decades ago.

Biedebach 200In 1997, Brian Biedebach—a ’96 graduate of The Master’s Seminary—moved from Southern California to Malawi to proclaim God’s Word. For two years he lived in a rural community, living off the land while he shared the gospel and served his neighbors.

God had provided him a window of opportunity to minister in Malawi, but this was only the beginning. To build a sustainable ministry—one that would continue changing lives beyond the commitment of just one man—Brian knew he needed more training and experience.

That realization led him to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he served as a pastor of Grace Christian Church. Eight years later, when Brian was asked to return to Malawi and pastor a church in Lilongwe, the next stage of his ministry there was ready to begin.

One of the challenges of ministering in Malawi is that the nation is so religiously diverse. In any community there you will find a mix of Christians, Catholics, Muslims and believers in African traditional beliefs.

Among the professing Christians, there is a subset of denominational diversity.

One reason for this is that the majority of Christian influence in Malawi has historically come through individual missionaries.

Brian has always believed that Malawi needs a sustained, consistent presence of biblical truth, one that can make an impact on the culture by proclaiming God’s Word for generations. Moreover, Brian has always been committed to helping Malawi’s people break their dependence on foreign missionaries. That commitment forms the foundation of CAPA—a school devoted to training local pastors for ministry to their own people.

Beginning in August, close to 70 students who desire to enter into pastoral ministry will begin CAPA’s one-year Certificate Program in Expository Preaching. These students will then be prepared to exalt the Lord Jesus through the preaching of the Word of God in churches throughout the country.

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The program at CAPA will continue to expand. In August of 2015, Brian and the rest of the CAPA staff plan to begin offering a Masters of Divinity program which will be a three-year program patterned after the M.Div program at The Master’s Seminary.

Brian’s vision for CAPA is a training center that can serve as a spiritual hub for the people of Malawi. Through the pastors who train there, he hopes to see churches across the nation strengthened by the faithful, accurate, and passionate preaching of God’s Word.

Originally published in the July 2014 TMAI Worldview.