Sipho Mfusi answers some questions about ZEBS
Sipho Mfusi is a Zionist who came to an understanding of salvation through Jesus after he had left SA to work for an airline overseas. After coming to faith in Christ, Sipho and his wife Lungi felt called to return to SA minister to Zion churches and leaders in Southern Africa. This couple have become ZEMA partners in ministry and Sipho is an administrator of some of our Zion Evangelical Bible Schools (ZEBS). Sipho has answered the following questions, which we thought you might like to read:
Can you explain what ZEBS classes are?
Zion Evangelical Bible Schools (ZEBS) are a network of informal 4-year Bible colleges designed specifically with amaZioni church leaders in mind. The intention is to offer quality training in Bible, theology, and church administration in a context that is both affordable and accessible to these amaZioni leaders.
What has been challenging in running ZEBS classes?
The demand for the ZEBS classes is high, and resources are stretched thin. As such it is difficult to build and maintain personal relationships with the vast majority of our students. Consequently, accountability structures are lacking, and it is difficult to measure the long-term impact of the schools once they go back to their churches. We really have no idea if they are faithfully teaching the Bible in their churches, week in and week out.
Why are ZEBS classes needed for amaZioni pastors?
ZEBS are needful in our context because amaZioni tend to be among the most impoverished, under-educated, and under-represented communities in Southern Africa. Many (if not most) amaZioni church leaders have not completed secondary or even primary education, and most have not received any formal
Bible training; they often inherit leadership roles through their family, rather than because of their qualifications. Additionally, amaZioni are generally looked down upon by most other church denominations. All of these factors—lack of funds, lack of education, and social stigma—make it very difficult for amaZioni leaders to train at a traditional Bible college. ZEBS offers a solution to these challenges.
What has encouraged you as you have begun to lead Zion Bible Schools?
In those relationships we have been able to maintain, we are seeing lives change visibly and dramatically as the students internalize God’s Word and learn how to better study and it. The contrast between a ZEBS-trained pastor preaching a Biblical sermon and the typical untrained Zionist preaching is striking. Additionally, other ZEBS Teachers tell me that testimonies abound of students whose personal lives, marriages, family relationships, etc. have been greatly impacted by the Biblical teaching they find at ZEBS.