By Taurai Emmanuel Maforo*MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — The 2013 Zimbabwe Episcopal Area joint pastors’ school with the Baltimore-Washington Conference at Africa University brought thunderous applause as Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa in his opening devotion encouraged participants to “go on a safari” in making transformed disciples.
The Rev. Gwinyai Muzorewa invited participants to look at possibilities for making disciples, rather than making excuses for not doing so.
Nhiwatiwa used the safari metaphor to describe the mission field to which Christ has called the church.
Clad in a khaki safari jacket and a baseball cap, he implored participants to gear themselves for an expedition of discovery as they seek to make transformed disciples. He said the safari might bring surprises, joys and challenges. The “hunt” might result in big or small rewards and might take longer than expected.
“If you are gathered at this Galilee (Africa University),” Nhiwatiwa said, “and you are hearing this, go on a safari!” He urged the congregation to go on an expedition of discovery.
“Jesus on the Great Commission trip did not give the disciples bottles of water, but authority,” he added.
“This safari requires pastors who are spirit-filled, enthusiastic and able to give to the world what they have — the Spirit of God,” said the Rev. Joseph W. Daniels Jr., Greater Washington District superintendent.
“We are in the safari because we have the courage to be there,” Muzorewa said. “We must not look at our credentials since the ultimate credential is the calling to preach.”
The joint pastors’ school is a product of the connectional relationship that exists between the two episcopal areas.
“This connection is not theoretical but practical,” said Nhiwatiwa, the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area leader. The relationship, he added, “had its genesis with the late Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa.”
Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference sees unlimited possibilities in the long-standing partnership. “It means a lot for us,” he said, “and we are excited of the unlimited possibilities.”
*Maforo is a pastor and communicator for The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.