, news editor, Adventist Review
Zambia’s president joined thousands of Adventist believers in a stadium to celebrate the Adventist Church’s membership topping 1 million in the African country.
President Edger Lungu watched a parade of Pathfinders in green and white uniforms and took part in a worship service at the Heroes National Stadium in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, during the celebration on Sabbath, April 25.
“The name of God and His church was uplifted. It was a high moment for the Seventh-day Church in Zambia and beyond,” said Paul Ratsara, president of the church’s Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, whose territory includes Zambia.
“The president of the country and the dignitaries even decided to attend the divine service,” Ratsara told the
Adventist Review. “I had the heavy responsibility to break the bread of life.”
With the membership milestone, Zambia has more Adventist members than any other country in Africa and joins just three countries with more than 1 million members: Brazil (1.5 million), India (1.5 million), and the United States (1.2 million). The Philippines is not far behind, with 918,669 members as of December, and Kenya (824,185) and Zimbabwe (803,521) are closing the gap.
The Adventist Church has 18.5 million members worldwide.
A view of the Lusaka stadium at the celebration on Sabbath, April 25. Video courtesy of SID
Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, said he praised God for His blessings on the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Zambia as it passed the 1 million membership mark.
“The strong spiritual commitment of church members to share Christ, His saving love, and His three angels’ messages with neighbors and friends has produced a great blessing by the Holy Spirit,” he said.
“He is blessing His church in extraordinary ways as we plead with Him for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit to carry the gospel message to every corner of this globe,” he said.
Lungu arrived at the stadium with his wife, first lady Esther Lungu, and attended worship services with a number of senior government officials, including Agriculture and Livestock Minister Given Lubinda, political adviser Kaizer Zulu, and special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda, the
Lusaka Times newspaper reported
Adventist leaders in attendance included Ratsara; Pardon Mwansa, vice president of the Adventist world church; and Harrington Akombwa, president of the Adventist Church in Zambia.
“The celebration was characterized with songs and Bible readings,” the Lusaka Times said.
One hundred people were baptized at the event, it said.
Evangelism is a way of life and not just an event in Zambia, Ratsara said. He said the Adventist Church in Zambia, which has about 6,000 congregations in a country with a population of 15.5 million, was growing rapidly because laypeople and pastors work closely together and newly baptized members are placed in a program called Fishers of Men that turns them into disciple-makers.
Many of those in attendance at the Lusaka stadium were young people and members of the Zambian church’s Dorcas Society, two groups whom church leaders credit with driving local church growth.
“Young people have been the dynamos behind the stunning growth. Women from the famed Dorcas Society are another major contributing factor to the surge in membership in recent years,” G.T. Ng, executive secretary of the Adventist world church, said by e-mail. “Perhaps the passion and exuberance of youth and women in the life and
ministry of the church in Zambia is something the world church can