Dr. Kenneth Turnbull
Executive Director, African Christian University
"For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice ... (Zec 4:10)"
Higher education continues to be one of the most sought after commodities in Africa (For more information see ACU Background). The Reformed Baptist Church Association of Zambia (ReBCAZ) has responded with a vision for mobilizing the church to fill the present great demand for higher education with an approach founded on the truth and the power of God in the Gospel. This vision includes a reformation of higher education through holistic academic pursuits that fully retain the presuppositional base of God as the Creator and Sustainer of all there is to learn. Holy Spirit-directed mind renewal is sought as faculty labor in mentored academics incorporating intelligent labor under the discipling direction of professionals in all areas of business, trades and the industrial arts. This unifies the community with the education environment for a benevolent outworking of faith, a worldview transforming experience in seeing the dominion responsibility of the cultural mandate brought to fruition, and an approach to sustainability that seeks a reproducible model for indigenous, Christian, higher education in developing countries (For further information see Gospel Derived Education). This is African Christian University (ACU).
II. Four Key Components in Place
Four key components can be identified that by God's grace are already in place which will allow the development of ACU in Zambia. All of these components represent individuals who would greatly value your prayers for their sacrificial service, humility before God, and His divine wisdom in guilding thought and action. These include:
A. ReBCAZ - The sponsoring church association of ACU includes the following Baptist Churches in Lusaka, Zambia: Evangel, Kabwata, Lusaka and Mount Makulu. The association is composed of Pastors Conrad Mbewe, Ronald Kalifungwa, Graves Singogo and Victor Kanyense. The membership of these churches are Gospel-impassioned, broadly well-educated and professionally influential servants dedicated to the vision of ACU. ReBCAZ will supply expertise, logistical assistance, personnel, financial support and the biblical worldview environment conforming to God's authoritative Word.
B. SGTS - ACU operates in conjunction with Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary as the the theological foundation establishing ACU in its Christ-centered objectives. SGTS, under the direction of Bruce Button, is operating a long-distance program to make quality, God-centered theological training widely accessible to aspiring and active ministers of the Gospel. The program currently serves students in five countries of sub-Saharan Africa. SGTS is in the process of being incorporated into ACU as the pioneering Theological and Biblical Studies Department upon which all other disciplines will be founded and expanded.
C. Non-Profit Support Organizations - Three non-profit organizations collaboratively support the ACU project through prayer, funding, marketing, recruiting, logistical support and leadership:
1. ACU-ZAM: The Company Limited by Guarantee in Lusaka with a Board composed of godly leaders within the ReBCAZ giving daily oversight and direction to ACU. The Board is composed of servants in the ministry, education, government and business who also occupy influential positions within Zambia, such as Col. Moses Phiri.
2. ACU-USA: The USA 501(c)3 organization, including Pastor and author Tedd Tripp among a Board of God-fearing professionals, businessmen and educators that also oversee an Executive Committee composed of 12 individuals committed to operational management of the organization.
3. ACU-RSA: The Non-profit Company in Pretoria, South Africa includes Pastor Irving Steggles, Chairman of the London Theological Seminary (founded by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones), Dr. Hein Strauss, Coordinator of Sola 5, and Mike Stolk, a multi-talented administrator and construction contractor, as well as Bruce Button, Director of SGTS, and Dr. Ken Turnbull, Executive Director of ACU.
D. Sola 5 - This association of Christ-centered evangelicals across sub-Saharan Africa operates under Coordinator, Dr. Hein Strauss, who is a member of the ACU-RSA Board. The association is fully supportive of the ACU vision and will help advance faculty, administrative and student recruiting, as well as promote ACU's needs in funding and logistical support.
III. Seeking God's Provision
With these key components in place, there are 5 primary areas for which God is being sought for His provision and direction as the project moves forward through faith in Him. These include:
A. Appropriate Location - ACU is presently considering 4 potential locations around the Lusaka, Zambia area. A committee is being assembled to examine the 4 options and consult the ACU-ZAM Board of Directors regarding the location deemed most conducive to ACU's goals and purpose. Thank you for joining us in praying for God's direction.
B. Student Labor Disciplers - As the foundational sustainability and discipleship component of ACU, we are praying and seeking for individuals with high-level skills in all areas of construction trades and industrial arts to advance the contemporary practice of these trades in Zambia while working with African colleagues in their trade and providing the foundation for discipleship and demonstration of a Biblical worldview in these labors. Addressing the cultural mandate of subduing the earth through responsible stewardship in dominion over God's creation according to our created role is critical as Christ's redemptive work penetrates Africa. The need for Labor Disciplers to initiate campus development through construction is the first critical step towards laying the foundations upon which all other businesses, agriculture, industrial arts and ministries can function and the academic disciplines can then develop. Please fervently pray with us for these critical servants of Christ to be called into this labor. As you pray for this need, if you, or someone you know might be interested in this calling, please contact ACU for further information.
C. Academic Mentors - The ACU recruiting effort for those who will mentor students in academic labors is being initiated in the area of Biblical Studies and Theology. This effort is seeking individuals to initially work with SGTS and then to transition into the pioneering department of Biblical Studies and Theology of ACU. Likewise, as you pray for this need, if you, or someone you know might be interested in this calling, please contact ACU for further information.
D. Staff - As with the Labor Disciplers and Academic Mentors, the staff will also serve a dual role as student disciplers working alongside students learning job-skills practiced holistically according to a Biblical worldview. Again, as you pray for this need, if you, or someone you know might be interested in such a calling, please contact ACU for further information.
E. Funding - Any kingdom endeavor is founded in Christ through faith in God's provision. ACU, the ReBCAZ and all supporting organizations backing this kingdom work are stepping forward through the project trusting God by faith in Christ to provide all that is necessary.
1. The 425 Campaign - Bringing the vision and opportunity before the global body of Christ is one purpose for the ACU website and the initiation of the "425 Campaign". This campaign seeks 400 individuals already demonstrating good stewardship in supporting their local church to consider if God might bless them toward assisting ACU with a donation of $25/month, or whatever amount that God might supply you for this purpose. We appreciate your prayerful consideration for support of this kingdom endeavor, or forwarding this to others who you believe God might call to assist.
2. Grant Seeking - Grants are being sought and applied for from organizations that support such projects as ACU. If you know of any such organizations, please contact us. Thank you for praying as these organizations are sought and God directs His purpose.
IV. Prayer Updates
Thank you for joining us in support and prayer for this open door of opportunity to follow a work that Christ is building through the Reformed Baptist Churches of Zambia toward seeing Christ's redemptive work spread through His African ambassadors across all levels and regions of the African continent. For further information, you can sign up to receive periodic ACU prayer updates.