How ZEMA is equipping talented and determined pastors in Southern Africa beyond Beyond ZEBS and ZBC.

The ostentatiously named Christian African Apostolic Holy Spirit Church in Zion is located at 95 Harrison Street in Dlamini, Soweto, South Africa. Like so many parts of South Africa, this little suburb of Soweto is a place of incredible diversity.

A working class suburb itself, Dlamini is only 1 km from the internationally recognized poverty of Kliptown’s imikhukhu ‘shacks.’ However, within Dlamini you can find people driving Mercedes-Benzes, Volkswagens, and BMWs, or see people wearing designer clothes, shoes, and perfumes.

Kliptown is one of the most destitute areas of the large Soweto township

Every day of the week, the suburb is alive with sights and sounds. On Saturday morning, the smell of magwinya ‘fat cakes’ serve as a nice break from the normal cleaning that women undertake on this day. And on weekday evenings the flashing lights of TV’s turned to South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s soapies ‘soap operas’ shine through living room curtains.

And on Sundays, churchgoers wake up to the sounds of their neighbor’s Nazarethe brass band and make their way to church, some driving and some walking.[2]

All of Soweto is home to about 1,271,000 people. Revival Bible Ministries serves their own little pocket of that. Today, we’d like to focus on an important member of that church, a Kgomotso Emmanuel ‘KG’ Moloko. 

Formal theological training in Southern Africa

Aside from the pastorate, many amaZioni leaders have additional jobs and responsibilities. They can be high school principals, store owners, accountants, factory, and farm workers, and are pillars of their communities. Since there are few theological schools across South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, etc., and many amaZioni pastors have families they couldn’t uproot them from their homes, very few Southern African pastors can gain formal theological training at an institutional level, such as at a Bible college or seminary.

This is why ZEMA developed ZEBS and ZBC, which offers pastors the opportunity to receive theological education and pastoral training at a location they can get to and at a price they can afford. 

But what comes after ZEBS/ZBC? Or, what about the pastors who can move and devote their time, full-time, to Bible school? What if they are only hampered by tuition and  travel costs at the beginning and end of each term?

This is where ZEMA’s sponsorship of Bible school students comes in. ZEMA has a “Bible School Fund.” Through this fund, we help amaZioni gain formal theological training. Potential students must have a Zion church “sponsor,” which agrees that this person, from their congregation, is someone they would like to receive Bible training. The sponsoring church must also agree to assist the student regarding personal needs during their time of education. This scholarship provides the student with tuition, room and board, and travel costs at the beginning and end of each term.

KG grew up in Soweto, a township in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. And he attended the University of Johannesburg, where he received a Bachelors of Science in Physics and Applied Mathematics. This is where he met Kit Tischler, who works with the Kuehls and Seelhammers in Johannesburg. Kit ministers to amaZioni college students at different public universities in the metropolitan area. And KG was an early part of this ministry.

Photo of a street in Soweto

“I remember meeting KG at different worship services at the university of Wits [University of the Witwatersrand]. He was actually studying at the university of Johannesburg but he would go all the way to the university of Wits to go worship with the amaZioni group there because there wasn’t one at the University of Johannesburg, yet. 

“So, right away I could just see his passion to worship. Afterwards, I also met him at Bible Study. I remember he came to a Bible Study and I could see he loved God and loved the Word. So we met and talked and I continued to see more and more of his hunger for God, hunger for the Word. He had an exceptional understanding of God’s Word and commitment to God. 

“Then he was getting near graduation and he was talking to me. He said, ‘Kit I feel like God is calling me to study more. He is calling me to study His Word more.’ He also told me that he didn’t really know where to go [for studying God’s Word]. So, with my connections with UBI and the teachers there, we started talking about UBI. Then, I started talking with [ZEMA missionary Timothy Kuehl] about how ZEMA partners with future Zion pastors and financially helps them study God’s Word. 

“I just knew that if he was going to study at a good school he was going to need assistance.” – Christopher (Kit) Tischler, TEAM missionary assigned to work with ZEMA 

Afterwards, Kit, KG, and ZEMA worked together to set up his sponsorship, sending KG to a great seminary program right after his graduation!

 

Options for Bible colleges in Southern Africa.

  • Union Bible Institute (UBI) in Sweetwaters, Hilton, South Africa.
  • Dumisani in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
  • Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa (BTC) in Ferndale, Randburg, South Africa. 

These are some of the only accredited Bible institutes where Zionists may further their Biblical training beyond ZEBS and ZBC. 

ZEMA has a strong relationship with UBI. Eric Binion, a ZEMA Field Council Member, is the Academic Dean and a lecturer in Old Testament at UBI.  Not only does UBI help train up leaders like KG, but also they support and minister to their community. For instance, during the early 2021 lockdowns (when the restrictions were a little more relaxed), they hosted socially distanced or outdoor “Walk Thrus.”[4] Such as their “Walk Thru the Old Testament” event which took place on May 8, 2021, where community members learned the big picture of the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi. The event catered to both English and isiZulu speakers, and here’s some of the feedback:

 

“I didn’t realise how the Bible would come alive once I knew the history of these books, and how they fit together!”

 

“I didn’t expect this would be so fun! I was learning so much, but enjoying it the whole time!”

May 8th, 2021, UBI Walk Thru the Old Testament event

    Sponsoring pastors in Southern Africa.

    Over the years, ZEMA has sponsored dozens of Bible school students to have the opportunity to attend an excellent school like UBI and gain the education they need to fulfill their potential to become extraordinary leaders and pastors. KG is one of those students. 

    ZEMA sponsored KG at UBI for 2020 and 2021, and we’ll continue that sponsorship in 2022. 

    KG is doing well at UBI, and in 2021 became a Deputy Secretary for the UBI Student Council.

    Meet the UBI Student Council for 2021!

    SC Chairperson Lungelo Jula says, “Because of the many challenges we have faced this year, we have learned a lot that should help us as an SC.” He says they hope to represent the students well and bring change where needed. His prayer is that they will have unity as an SC. Pictured (L-R) in the front : Lungelo Jula, Bonginkosi Gumede, Bongi Sibeko (Secretary), Nokukhanya Ndlovu, Nokuthula Hlatshwayo (Deputy-chairperson), and Zithulele Mkhize (Treasurer). Back row: Mndeni Mkhize, Mafihla Motaung, and Kgomotso Moloko (Deputy Secretary). Not pictured: Andile Mzimela. Please pray for them as they assume their duties.

    “Instead of going to get a job right away, like all of his peers, KG was willing to give three years of his life just to studying God’s Word. Just to knowing God better. Just to being equipped. And he’s doing great! He’s really doing well. He’s a hard worker, and very gifted.” – Kit Tischler 

    In April, 2021, KG sent a ‘Letter of Appreciation’ to say “thank you” to ZEMA for our sponsorship.

    KG’s letter came as a welcome surprise to the ZEMA missionaries! Read it in full below

    To the ZEMA management 

    Letter of Appreciation 

    I greet you all in the wonderful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen. I hope you are all well and the Lord is protecting you all and your families during these trying times.   

    I write to you to express my gratitude to everyone from ZEMA for providing me with the funding to study Theology at the Union Bible Institute (UBI). This has been an incredible and life changing opportunity for me. I have always had the desire to study the word of God and to get formal training in ministry so that I can know Christ better and live in close fellowship with Him and also be a Christ-like servant leader.  

    Being at UBI has really helped me a lot. I am learning more about God, His Word, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I am also learning how to effectively study the Word of God and interpret it correctly. I have learnt concepts I never knew existed before, concepts such as Eisegesis and Exegesis, these are some of the big words I have learned at UBI. All this learning has been very fun and eye opening. Being at UBI is truly a blessing to me and to the Church I am serving in (The Christian African Apostolic Holy Spirit Church in Zion). I plan on teaching the young people in my church all that I am learning at UBI.  

    I would like to also express my gratitude to brother Kit. Who has been a good friend and a brother to me. I thank him for his love, guidance and teaching. If it was not for Him I wouldn’t be studying at UBI right now. I, Therefore, thank him for recommending me to both ZEMA and UBI. Kit has been a great blessing to many other students who are part of the Amazayoni Students Fellowship (ASF) which is a student fellowship society for Zionist students from Wits and UJ. 

    I would also like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Binion for their Love, guidance and Support. They have made me feel welcomed at UBI and they are truly a blessing to me.  

    Thank you all for your financial support and for your prayers. It really means a lot to me and I truly appreciate it.   

    Blessings to you 

    Brother Kgomotso Emmanuel Moloko 

    Sponsor a pastor today!

    Sponsoring students like KG is an investment for the future, a future we hope to see where communities all across Southern Africa have access to excellent Bible teaching in their own local churches and congregations. You can help sponsor students like KG today, just visit zema.org/bible-student.

    Photo and content credits.

    1. Paraphrased from Kgagudi, Sarah Marie, “Soweto, The “storybook Place”: Tourism And Feeling In A South African Township” (2019). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 3320.
    1. Honorine VOA, Kliptown is one of the most destitute areas of the large Soweto township, South Africa, November 2012. (S. Honorine VOA), marked as public domain.
    1. Photo by Marc St on Unsplash

    Union Bible Institute on LocalPrayers.com