Remaining untouched until relatively late in the colonizing of Africa, Zambia (or Northern Rhodesia, as it was first known) was governed by the British in the late 19th century. A land of incredible wealth, Zambia faced hardship after gaining independence since there were few trained and educated Zambians capable of running the government, and the economy was largely dependent on foreign expertise. In the mid-1970s, the price of copper, Zambia's principal export, suffered a severe decline worldwide. By the mid-1990s, despite limited debt relief, Zambia's per capita foreign debt remained among the highest in the world. With the debt relief of the new millennium and greater diversification, Zambia’s economy has grown much stronger.
Brethren in Christ missionaries crossed over from Southern Rhodesia in 1906 to establish Macha Mission. As of 2006, more than 40,000 attendees worship in 170 congregations. Brethren in Christ work began and remains centered among the Tonga people of Southern Province, but there are BIC churches in five of Zambia’s nine provinces.
- A committed, discipled, maturing, and growing fellowship of believers
- A mission-sending church engaged in evangelism and discipleship
- A thriving holistic ministry of compassion
After independence in 1964, the population began to shift to the cities and urban church planting became a priority. Zambia is considered a Christian nation that guarantees religious freedom and evangelical churches are experiencing rapid growth. A close partnership exists between the national church and missionaries who serve in education, medicine, finance, and leadership training.
Given the encouraging atmosphere, the BICWM team in Zambia is thriving and the work ever-expanding. The team has a vision for more North American BIC Churches and individuals to partner in longer-term medical and leadership-training ministry. Meanwhile BICWM is continuing to enlarge the scope of involvement in compassion ministries by partnering with ZBICC in prayer, as well as project funding. This funding is channeled into surrounding communities to reduce the incidence of HIV infection and give compassionate care to those already affected by the virus.
Church-affiliated institutions in Zambia
- Macha Mission Hospital
Macha Mission Hospital is a rural mission hospital managed by the Zambian BIC Church, the Zambian government and a local management board. Macha consists of the hospital (with a nurses' training program), a church, a large girls' boarding school, a large coed day school, an intermediate school and a Malaria Research Institute.
- Sikalongo Bible Institute (SBI)
SBI, a BIC owned and operated institute, provides a three-year certificate course for pastors in Zambia.
- Sikalongo Rural Health Center
In addition to health services, SRHC is recognized on a national level for its effectiveness in directing the "Food for Work" program during the years of drought.
- Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA)
TCCA, located in Ndola, is an accredited institution with a four-year degree program, operated by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia. Its graduates continue to fill the positions of administrative and pastoral leadership in the BIC Church.