Grace Bible College of Kabwe, in Kabwe, Zambia, provides a comprehensive higher education to Christian pastors, teachers, educators, and lay people, in the subjects of Bible exposition and preaching, doctrinal studies, Bible interpretation and teaching methods, history studies, and other supporting studies.
The core lesson materials for the College are derived from the Grace Notes Bible training library, which provides twelve (12) course Units of academic work, leading to three levels of diplomas.
Grace Notes offers a broad selection of Bible courses for Pastors, Evangelists, and Bible teachers at all levels. Courses include:
The diplomas available are:
A complete description of the materials available is found at: Grace Notes Web Site
Grace Bible College of Kabwe (GBCK) began as a vision of Pastor Nsofwa and the leadership of his church. On 4 February 2007, the church ratified a constitution, which had as a Vision Statement "To win the lost to saving faith in Jesus Christ through Bible teaching, preaching and care ministries."
That constitution also contained the core of a strategy for carrying out the church's vision. In Article 6 which established the various committees for conducting church activities, the text of Section 8, "Education / Discipleship Committee" contains the following paragraphs.
Subsection (a) - "The church education / discipleship committee shall serve as the training unit of the church, and lead the church in planning, conducting, and evaluating a comprehensive program of Christian education."
Subsection (b) "Its [the Education Committee]tasks shall be to equip church members for discipleship and personal ministry; to teach Christian theology and Baptist doctrine, Christian ethics, Christian history, and church policy and organization; to equip leaders for service; and to interpret and under gird the work of the church ..."
On the basis of these directives, Pastor Nsofwa, and the church leaders, began to develop and carry out plans for a teaching ministry to meet these needs.
These plans include operating a school for the general education needs of the community. This is expressed among the Objectives in the constitution:
Objective 4 (h) - "To establish a Christian community Centre/School to help alleviate illiteracy."
For nearly two years, the Kabwe church was involved in establishing its Sunday School, evangelistic outreach, and community aid projects. During this time, they were burdened with the idea of conducting some higher level training for people who would become Bible teachers and evangelists. They saw that leadership training was needed in the Kabwe area, and many surrounding churches were very eager to have help with formal instruction in teaching the Word of God.
Pastor Nsofwa and his wife Luta are graduates of the Baptist theological seminary in Lusaka. Pastor Nsofwa began teaching some men in the church from some of the course materials he had used in seminary, teaching subjects such as Old and New Testament Survey, Homiletics, Hermeneutics. He was teaching these classes on Saturdays, and after some time, he shared his vision of a Bible College with the church.
On 22 November 2008, at a meeting of the Pastor and deacons, a resolution was adopted which established a Bible College which would provide this kind of teacher training.
Pastor Nsofwa began to meet with leaders of several evangelical churches in Kabwe, to discuss the vision of establishing a Bible College in Kabwe. While one immediate concern was for funding, there was definitely a high interest among the churches for having good seminary-level instruction.
At this time Pastor Nsofwa had been working as a public school evangelist for several years, each week going into six to eight schools to preach the Gospel.
At the same time, Pastor Nsofwa was teaching about fifteen (15) Bible college students on a regular basis, meeting with them weekly for instruction. The student body included men who were themselves pastors of local churches.
Pastor Nsofwa became aware of the Grace Notes project early in 2012. He wrote to Warren Doud, the director of Grace Notes, to request a CD-ROM of the Grace Notes library, to be installed on the Mac laptop which he had obtained.
By this time, the Bible College student body had increased. When Pastor Nsofwa received the laptop, with Grace Notes installed, he immediately began printing lessons from the Grace Notes files, UNIT I lessons in Doctrine and the Epistle to Titus.
The college students immediately realized that there was value is studying Grace Notes courses, because they are accurate, written in understandable English, and are organized so as to be well suited for a college curriculum. Furthermore, as Pastor Nsofwa made it known what he could now offer, there was a good response from prospective students.
By 1 July 2012 there were at least 20 men, and three women, who were doing regular study in their Bible College courses. At this time, the Grace Notes leadership began to provide financial and material support to the Bible College.
Grace Notes is sponsored by the Austin Bible Church (ABC), in Austin, Texas, of which Bob Bolender is pastor. Pastor Bob made himself acquainted both with the Bible College effort in Kabwe, Zambia. As a result, the Kabwe Central Baptist Church and ABC are sister churches, and people from ABC support the Kabwe effort with prayer and financial donations.
During July and August support was received which allowed for the purchase of a new Laser Printer, a Lenovo laptop computer, and other peripheral equipment and software. These were obtained and shipped to Zambia in late August and early September. Pastor Nsofwa is the only person who has a computer or any type of Internet access. All of the Grace Notes lessons must be printed, therefore, and distributed to each student. The printed lessons are used, along with a Bible, for a student's study. Examinations are completed at home, turned in during class, and graded by Pastor Nsofwa. He reports the results to Grace Notes. Grace notes maintains student records and prints certificates of completion and diplomas to be mailed to Kabwe.
During the summer of 2012, the student body grew to 52. Among these are 15 local pastors, and 10 elders, deacons, and church officers, from various churches; these believers have seen the effect that Grace Bible College training has had on their own ministries. In early September, Pastor Nsofwa met with a group of 18 people in the Nakoli . They organized a class there, which Pastor Nsofwa teaches on another day of the week. He now holds three weekly sessions, for a total of 12 hours teaching, in addition to his Sunday and weekday teaching at his church.
On the 16th of September 2012, the Kabwe Central Baptist Church leadership voted to change the name of the college to Grace Bible College of Kabwe.
Eager students of the Word of God are working very hard to improve their knowledge of the Bible, their ability to win people to Christ, and to minister to their churches. Many churches in the world would be very happy to have such a motivated, spiritually dedicated core of believers growing in the use of their spiritual gifts.
We expect the student body will expand further. Pastor Nsofwa is providing a denomination-neutral teaching ministry which is appreciated. Some of the students are from his church, but many are from other churches. Both Grace Notes and the Kabwe Central Baptist Church have uncompromising doctrinal positions; however, the manner in which the teaching is presented allows considered discussions within the framework of Scripture. The students are immersed in the Word of God, which all of them enjoy and desire.
The first ten (10) students, who started Grace Notes studies earlier this year, have completed Unit I. They studied a Doctrine course, the books of Titus and Ruth, a ten-lesson History course, and Foundations (a course on how to study the Bible). This was a total of fifty (50) individual lessons. Unit II also has five courses, but there are seventy (70) lessons. It's a blessing to see the appetite of people for Bible doctrine, and it is a great management challenge.
Bemba is the language spoken by 20% of the people in Zambia. Kabwe is one of the centers of Bemba people. Pastor Nsofwa is Bemba, as are many of his church members, several of his fellow pastors, and the students. Bemba is the language used for worship and teaching in the churches.
Although the present pastors and students understand English fairly well, they would be much better able to absorb the concepts of their courses if they could also read them in Bemba.
Pastor Nsofwa realizes that there is a considerable number of people who don't know English, but who are eager to take part in the Bible College studies. He, and other senior pastors, could use translated Grace Notes courses to teach these folks. There would be a significant growth in the student body!
We are starting to plan a translation effort. Pastor Nsofwa has identified people who can do accurate translation. He will provide editorial oversight, and others will be engaged to do proofreading, data entry, etc. There will be a need to pay for translation services, but Pastor Nsofwa doesn't know yet what the cost will be. There is also a need for equipment to be used by translators.
Pray for this effort, and consider whether you want a part in this support.