Zambia School of Biblical Studies
By Jerry R. Sullins
The Zambia School of Biblical Studies is the result of many years of prayer and planning. J.R. Sullins, director of ZSOBS, and his family were involved in missions in Kenya, East Africa (197981). During their work in Kenya, several men from the country of Botswana were converted. Mr. Sullins and these Botswana men hoped that some day a school could be established in Botswana to train men to preach the gospel of Christ.
In 1981 plans were made to establish the Botswana School of Biblical Studies. In 1987 the Wooddale Church of Christ, Memphis, Tenn., undertook the sponsorship of the Sullinses and the school.
On Sept. 12, 1988, the first group of 12 students met for classes in the capital city of Gaborone, Botswana. Alfred L. Bayless joined the teaching staff. On Aug. 5, 1990, nine students from four African countries graduated receiving an Associate Degree of Biblical Studies, representing their completion of over 2,500 hours of classroom instruction during a period of two academic years of training.
In January 1991 the Collierville Church of Christ in Collierville, Tenn., assumed the sponsorship of the school and the Sullinses. As scheduled, the second class of students began on July 29, 1991. Thirteen men from six African countries graduated on Dec. 13, 1992. The teaching staff during the second intake included: Shadreck Boitahwarelo, Jeffrey Spencer, Jerry R. Sullins Jr., and Jerry R. Sullins.
On June 30, 1993, the third intake began with students from many African countries. Ten students graduated on December 3, 1994. Alex Barasa, Peter Masiya, J. Sullins Jr., and J. Sullins, were the instructors for the class.
In 1994, a decision was made to move the school to Livingstone, Zambia. Lloyd Benson, director of the Zambia Bible Training Center in the Livingstone area for over 19 years, had reached the age of retirement. Hoping to have his efforts continue in Zambia, he came to us and offered us his facility on a ten-year renewable agreement. When considering all the advantages of moving the school from Botswana to Zambia, it was an easy decision to make the move. During 1995 renovations to the school building and other improvements were made to prepare the facility for its first class.
On Feb. 19, 1996, 15 students from five African countries began classes on the Zambian campus. Instructors for the present class include two Zambians, Peter Masiya and Amos Skye, with Jerry R. Sullins end Jerry (Ray) Sullins Jr. Graduation of this class is scheduled for October 1997.
With over 300 congregations of the church of Christ in Zambia, the need for trained men is never ending. Throughout all of Africa, the church is faced with the same problem-a lack of qualified preachers and leaders. It is the desire of Zambia School of Biblical Studies to provide trained men to lead the churches of Christ in Africa. In the past seven years 36 men have been trained from six African countries. Over 80 percent of those men are faithfully serving the Lord's church in their countries. By training men in Africa, it will relieve the church in America of the need of sending missionaries to Africa. Also, it will all but insure that those trained in Africa will remain in Africa to serve the Lord's church.
Our future plans include the capability of beginning new students in the program every year. This will increase our student body to at least thirty students being on campus every year. Future plans include possible satellite schools in other African countries financed and operated by African brethren.
"Commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also," was spoken by the apostle Paul. By doing so, we will be able to see the world evangelized in our generation. We ate doing our part to see that commission accomplished in our corner of the world.