3 November 2014 // Articles & Stories

Church development

Tim & Beth Wood serve in a church called ‘Vision in the Word of God’, focusing on discipleship and teaching. Tim also teaches at Sofala Bible Institute and Beth works on translation projects and Bible study material. Here they give an overview of their passion to help the church focus on the lost…

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Trusting in God alone

When we first came to Mozambique in 1995 to teach at Sofala Bible Institute, our mission leader placed us in the church that had sent more students to the Bible school than any other denomination. Through the years, we have been privileged to be a part of a church that has been willing to change in order to grow toward maturity. Most of the believers came from Zionist backgrounds, a branch of Christianity that, here in Mozambique, tends to keep traditional practices such as ancestor veneration while confessing Christ as Lord. Before we’d even figured out everything that was going on, we listened to a graduate of Sofala Bible Institute convince the church leadership that changes needed to be made in the prayer ceremony for new-borns so that the mothers would trust in God and not in prayer cords, special baths and other rituals.

Church-development

The Youth of Mozambique

Almost 50% of Mozambique’s population is under 14. These young people need mature leadership and examples of godly living so they can grow up centred on Christ and with a passion for the gospel. Mateus, and his wife Regina, lead the youth work in both the local Vision in the Word of God church and across the denomination.Their greatest concern is that these young people come to accept the Word of God as sufficient, not to be supplemented with elements of African Traditional Religions. They also recognise that many of these young people will be future leaders. Mateus says “I love teaching the youth on their role in the church and society; it is important for them to be salt and light as it says in Matthew 5:13-16. Our young people today face many temptations and difficulties, it is so important that I, and the Church, give proper teaching on these issues, especially things like courtship so that our young people can avoid immorality and live pure and holy lives.”

Hardened hearts

Later on, the group of churches we worked with within the denomination organised seminars with the goal of opening the eyes of Zionists in the church to the heart of the gospel. Tim had the opportunity to teach in a variety of congregations. Sadly, in the end the Zionists hardened their positions (on polygamy and ancestor veneration) and rejected change. Since they were in control of the national leadership, the congregations we worked with decided on their own account to leave the denomination two years ago.

A Vision for the lost

Vision in the Word of God Church was the name they selected. There has been a renewed push for teaching, evangelism, and church planting. However, more growth toward maturity is needed. Some believers tend to focus almost exclusively on healing and deliverance from evil spirits instead of living and sharing the gospel. Moreover, like many Mozambican churches, church planting is more about establishing one’s denomination in a new location, regardless of the number of other churches, rather than finding a location that doesn’t have a church. Our desire is for a clearer vision of church growth that focuses on the lost – both those outside the church and those in churches where salvation by faith alone is not clearly proclaimed.

Tim & Beth Wood

We serve at Sofala Bible Institute in Beira, Mozambique, and minister in a local church through discipleship and teaching.

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