“So that is the only motivation that I need to work hard—so that I can absorb anything which our school has prepared for us, so that we can be good ministers of Jesus Christ.”

Medson Lima

Program Master of Divinity ('18)
Age 43
Ministering in Lilongwe
Family Wife and four daughters

Medson is a full-time pastor. He is finishing up his master’s degree at CAPA and has enjoyed learning to how to preach out of the text of Scripture. He is excited to dive deeper into the text through studying Greek, Hebrew, and homiletics, and is grateful for how God has placed him in seminary school.

$100 a month provides a pastor a scholarship to study at CAPA.

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Interview excerpt from September 2016


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Medson explains how expository preaching has benefited his congregation.

Medson shares what he's learned the most from CAPA.


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Interview with Medson Lima

2017 2016 2015

Q1

Which class have you liked the best and why?

Q2

How has your preaching changed from before you came to CAPA?

Q3

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned here at CAPA?

Q4

What has been your biggest challenge studying here at CAPA?

Q5

What are you looking forward to learning this next year?

Q6

What kinds of things do you do as a pastor?

Q7

What are your plans for after CAPA?

Q8

How have you seen God’s providence in your life?

Q9

How can we be praying for you?

Q1

What do you like to do during your free time?

Q2

What is one attribute of God that you personally experienced this past year?

Q3

In what ways has the Lord grown you this past year?

Q4

What are you looking forward to this year?

Q5

What wisdom from wise men has benefitted your ministry?

Q6

What is your favorite memory at CAPA?

Q7

What has been your favorite class at CAPA so far and why?

Q8

What have you been preaching through at your church, and what has the main point been?

Q9

What are your friendships at CAPA like?

Q10

How has one book you read this past year influenced your thinking and your living?

Q11

How has CAPA influenced your family life?

Q12

What challenges and joys have you faced in ministry?

Q13

Have your future plans for ministry changed since we interviewed you last year?

Q14

If you could give a word of encouragement to your fellow Christians in Malawi, what would you say?

Q1

How did you decide to become a pastor?

Q2

How did you first hear about Jesus and come to believe that Jesus died for your sins?

Q3

What is your current ministry?

Q4

How did you come to CAPA then?

Q5

How about in the future? What are your future ministry plans?

Q6

After applying and practicing expository preaching, have you seen spiritual growth in your church?

Q7

What are some ways we can be praying for you?

Q8

What is your favorite thing about Malawi?

Q1

Which class have you liked the best and why?

I say maybe homiletics is the [subject] that is of paramount importance because all subjects we are learning, all subjects are meant to help us in homiletics so that we can preach well.

Are you taking homiletics right now?

Yes, next week, we’ll be having our preaching practicums.

And who’s teaching?

In fact, this time it’s like we are in small groups, so every group has a teacher to help them. So a student preaches and after that student preaches, then he is given feedback like so, “The message was good, maybe the areas to polish up are here and those.”

Do you ever use those practicum messages at your church?

Oh, yes, we do. We do, we do. And some of them maybe, before we preach them here, we preach at our churches first, then sometimes many of them we start preaching here then after being corrected here and there, we go back and preach. Yeah.

Q2

How has your preaching changed from before you came to CAPA?

Yes, there is a great change. Because before I came to CAPA, it was just an allegorical method of preaching. So could we just allegorize everything. So we are trying to find something behind the text. Unfortunately, that thing was not there, but it was just coming from our thoughts so it wasn’t good. In hermeneutics, we call that kind of preaching—we call it eisegesis, meaning bringing something into the text, something that was not here, something that was not there.

So we are encouraged to do exegesis, which means bring or taking something from the text, not bring something into the text. So before I came to CAPA, it was eisegesis, because we are bringing our thoughts into the text, but now it’s exegesis. We are able not to bring, but to take something from the text.

Was it hard adjusting or moving from one to the other? Did it take a lot of training?

Yeah, in fact, what we are learning here is expository preaching. So expository preaching calls for hard work, so it isn’t easy for you to come up with a message, because you need to understand the background information, the text so far, the audience, and how the grammar flows under the syntax. It says how this sentence is related, what was the authoritative intent that was in the mind of the author. All those things have to be found before coming up with a message.

Q3

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned here at CAPA?

As I have already said, the most important thing that I’ve learned here at CAPA is how to preach good messages; because, in fact, there are many things which we have learned. But for this thing I see it to be very important because when I look back, where I am coming from and saw how I was preaching, I feel pity for myself. And there are still many out there who are preaching such type of messages, maybe on radios, televisions, and other forms, but the messages that are being preaching are very, very terrible. So to me, I see that this is very, very important to learn how to preach biblical messages. Sure.

What has been your favorite message that you’ve preached?

It’s about as I should say, God’s love, especially from the book of Romans, actually focusing on how God justifies people, justification by faith. So I’ve preached the book of Romans the half of last year, so it was all about justification by faith. So they have been very powerful messages, and even the church loved the messages.

Q4

What has been your biggest challenge studying here at CAPA?

The biggest challenge to myself, it can be something like distance, because I’m commuting, I’m not a resident here at school. In fact, I cover a long journey, so that’s the only problem. But of course, we may talk of lots of assignments, but we know that is school, and that is why we are here, so sometimes you don’t have enough time to rest, but that is what is meant by school.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re exhausted? What do you tell yourself to keep yourself going?

No, because the main goal is to be helped to learn everything and also, especially, as I’ve already said, to be good pastors. So that is the only motivation that I need to work hard—so that I can absorb anything which our school has prepared for us, so that we can be good ministers of Jesus Christ. So that is the motivation which I have to say now. If I want to serve Christ in the right way, then the secret is to make myself busy, to work hard, especially in whatever assignment is given at school. I need to work hard so that I can be a good messenger of Christ.

Q5

What are you looking forward to learning this next year?

This year, what I’m what I’m hoping to be helped in mostly is to prepare messages that is—[chuckles] the terms which maybe I’ll be using maybe will be theological terms, but anyway, I have no choice—so see to be helped how to exegete Greek passages to come up with what we are block diagramming, what to come up with propositioning, homiletical outline using Greek text and Hebrew text.

In fact, last year and even the year before last year, we are doing that in English using English Bibles, [but] now that we are in biblical languages, Greek and Hebrew. So what I am looking forward is to learn how to make the things they call homiletic outlines, what to do using a Greek text and Hebrew text. So as for Greek text, we have started already. So [in] fact, next we will be getting deeper and deeper. Sure.

Q6

What kinds of things do you do as a pastor?

Well to be a pastor at my church it involves—the first thing is to divide the Word of God rightly, then also to make disciples—that is to say, to reach out to the lost souls and to also to be able to bring people of God together so that they can fellowship in the Lord. Even things like counseling, people go through different situations in life, so such times they need somebody who can comfort them with the Word of God; so it is the pastor’s duty to make sure that those that are broken-hearted, they should be comforted with the Word of God. Yeah, so these are some of the things that a pastor needs to do, especially in my church.

Q7

What are your plans for after CAPA?

Yes, I am planning to go back to my church. Yeah, but if CAPA was to continue offering other studies that are at other levels, maybe Ph.D, I would say I would continue. But since CAPA maybe… if I can also be given a chance to say, “Come and help here and there, to teach maybe other classes here and there,” I am also ready to do that.

Q8

How have you seen God’s providence in your life?

Well, God has been very kind to me. Very, very kind to me—because if I am going to give my testimony, it can be a very long testimony, but I have seen the hand of God doing great things in my life. For example, I remember I lost both parents—that is, in 1993. Then, by then, there was no one to take care of myself and my young brothers and sisters.

So for me to continue with education, to reach maybe secondary school level, and finish to do some higher education like the ones I’m doing, I see the hand of God, because whatever I have gone through, if God was not there, then I couldn’t reach where I am. So this is why I am clinging to this God, because I know that there is no one who can take care of me except God alone. So I have seen where are the hand of God at work in my life.

Q9

How can we be praying for you?

Well, yeah, there can be some many things which you can pray for me. Yeah, one of them is that I should continue my journey of education. You know, I have [completed] two years [in the Master of Divinity], and I’m remaining one year—and this one year I don’t say I have already crossed the bridge.

There is still a long journey, because if anything can happen, if anything happens, I may not be able to continue. For example maybe if fees… fees has been highly subsidized, but it’s still that something I need to contribute. If I don’t have it, then it will not be possible for me to continue with my education, and if anything, if my performance goes down, maybe I may not be allowed to continue. Maybe if I’m going to be sick, I may not be able to continue.

So can you pray for my health, can you pray for my finances, and also can you pray for the [hard-working] spirit to continue in me? And even can also pray for my family so that it can be a happy family and all those things. And even my ministry, as I am a pastor, I’m always busy here at school and my church there. Anything can happen that can scatter my flock, so I need you pray that so that my church can remain intact.

Q1

What do you like to do during your free time?

During free time, in fact, I like reading the Bible, and also… I’m good at composing songs, gospel songs. All types of stuff — writing books, reading books.

Q2

What is one attribute of God that you personally experienced this past year?

I’ve seen God’s love in my life through the situations I’ve gone through. I remember I lost both parents, mom and dad, around — what was it — 1993. So from that time up to now, to be where I am, all I can describe is God’s love. God is caring, so good. So to me, it was like the end of the road, but I see that God is taking me from one level to another. So all I can say about God is about God’s love.

Q3

In what ways has the Lord grown you this past year?

Spiritually. Yes, because remember that time when I had just lost my parents. In fact, because I was frustrated, I used to do all sorts of things which worldly people do. But when I met people of God, men of God, they preached to me, and I received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then from then — that was around 1993 — my spiritual life has never been the same. And also, when I received this opportunity to be at CAPA, my spiritual life has been changing from level to another.

Q4

What are you looking forward to this year?

Well, as I am here at Central African Preaching Academy, in fact, what I am aiming at is maybe to further my education up to Ph.D level. In fact, as I am a full-time pastor, I am also a teacher at our school. We have something like a Bible school at our church, so there I do teach. So I see that if I am a teacher, and I am not qualified in terms of education and whatnot, I will not be able to help students in the right way. So what I am looking forward to is to reach that point of maybe having a Ph.D. So that is what I want to achieve in my life.

Is there anything you are looking forward to this year specifically?
This year… that is 2016. Well, it’s about ministry. Yeah, it’s about ministry. In fact, I serve God in the remote area, so there are different types of programs which we want to do there. For example, we are planning to buy land for the church, and just for your information, this coming Sunday, we are having the paper signed. All this is to get some funds so that we can buy land where we can build our church. So this year, this is what I want to achieve with God’s grace.

Q5

What wisdom from wise men has benefitted your ministry?

There are different things which I have benefitted from wise people. For example, perseverance. You know, in ministry, we deal with people from different backgrounds, some very troublesome. So in fact, during some such situation, I have received counsel from men of God who have been in the ministry for more years than myself, so they have encouraged me to say, “No, go ahead. That is what you call ministry. There are all those types of people, so you need to help them so that they can be right people in the eyes of God, so just press on, never run away from the ministry to say, ‘Oh, this is too hard for me.’ No, no, no. Persevere, persevere, persevere.” So with that type of encouragement, I’ve seen, as time changes in my life, and also in my ministry philosophy, that ministry is all about God and His people. So these are some of the things I have learned from wise people.

Q6

What is your favorite memory at CAPA?

Well, my time which I remember is the time we had a graduation last year, from [Advanced] Diploma class. So we had a graduation. So the event that took place there, you know, I still remember, and I have some pictures, so when I look at those pictures, I say, “Wow! This is great.” Sure.

What excited you most about the graduation?
In fact, the gowns, [laughs] which we’re using, very good gowns. And also, there was a choir that was singing, so that was also very, very good. And also, the preacher, who —I’ve just forgotten… was it Dr. —[INTERVIEWER: Rick Holland?] I think so, yeah. So the message that he preached was also very powerful. Yeah. So I still remember those things.

Q7

What has been your favorite class at CAPA so far and why?

Ah, my favorite class at CAPA has been —I should talk of… In fact, there are many subject, which I have enjoyed, but homiletics class, especially expository preaching, because in fact, before I came here at CAPA, I had been preaching, but the way I was preaching was not good, in the sense that I was unable to expose the truth. So when I came here at CAPA, I almost repented that all the messages that I was preaching were not good messages because I was unable to pick the truth from the text. So homiletics has been the subject which I have enjoyed at CAPA. Sure.

Do you remember an example of a text that you preached before you came to CAPA that was not a good sermon?
In fact, yes, I remember, for example, parables in the gospel. For example, the parable that Zacchaeus, a short guy, climbed up in the tree. Yeah, wishing to see Jesus. So that one, I could just allegorize it to say Zacchaeus, being short--that is, shortness did not mean that he was actually short, it was because of sin, interpreting that when he went up into the tree, that tree represented the church — that a sinner cannot see Jesus if he is not in the church. So he has to be in the church so that he should see Jesus in all things.

So when I learned principles of hermeneutics, then I discovered that no, that was not the real teaching, that is not the real message that is in that passage. So I saw that no, that was not a good message. So when I came here at CAPA, my eyes were opened. I saw for me to come up with message, I have to read, observe, and interpret, then apply, and also, I have also to go to the authorial intent, to ask myself, “Why did God put this in the Bible?” Then after getting that authorial intent is when I can come up with the right message, the right interpretation, and the right application. Sure.

Q8

What have you been preaching through at your church, and what has the main point been?

Well, for example, from last year, I’ve been preaching from the book of Romans. So because of the hermeneutic principles I have learned at CAPA, then I saw that I was able to bring out the truth. For example, the book of Romans talks about justification by faith. So I was able to bring out what Paul was trying to communicate to the Romans. Sure.

Q9

What are your friendships at CAPA like?

Well, we have good friendships here at CAPA. In fact, we are people from different denominations, from different backgrounds. But when we are here, we are like people from the same family, from one family. This school has helped me to have new friends. In fact, some from Lilongwe, and some from different parts of the country. So when we are here, we are like children from one family. So the friendship has been very, very good. Sure.

What denomination are you from, and who is a friend you have that is from another denomination?
I am from Living Christian Church, and here — when I came here, I have many friends. One of them is Alfred Goliath, and another one is Samson Cholokoto, and another one McJoster Malweni, Yohane Tembo, Patrick Tsiga. We are like a family! [laughs] Sure! Sure.

Q10

How has one book you read this past year influenced your thinking and your living?

Yeah, one such book is Uprooting Anger [by Robert Jones]. Yeah, you know, most people are struggling with anger, and one of them was myself. But when I read the book concerning uprooting anger, then it helped me greatly. So I have seen a very big difference in my life. I am progressing. I cannot say I am hundred percent perfect, but what I learned from the book is still helping me. And I hope it will change me completely with the grace of Jesus. So that’s one of the books. Sure.

Q11

How has CAPA influenced your family life?

Well, my family life — there has been a great change. In fact, here at CAPA, we have lessons dealing with family relationship. So we have things like — there are many lessons that deal with family. We always have also things like dating our wives, so where you take your wife to a certain place and chat with her there, and discuss many issues concerning your home, family affairs, things like those. And also, be doing something to surprise her — for example, buying her a gift. All those things. So now, my family life has greatly also changed. In fact, I should say, CAPA is tackling all areas of life. Sure.

Q12

What challenges and joys have you faced in ministry?

Well, one of the challenges is that as I minister in the village, so people — in fact, I do have some people who are still rooted in their culture. Their culture, that — there are some cultures that are not godly, so to uproot them from such cultures, it becomes a problem. Yes, they may come to church and hear the message. [Later,] you may be surprised to see the very same person come back to what he was doing before coming to the Lord. So that is one of the challenges. And also, financially. For example, as I am in the village, people in the village, many of them are just poor farmers. So when you want to come up with programs that will need money, for example, we talk about building programs. There is very little progress in programs like those ones. So these are some of the challenges I face, especially because my church is in the village. Sure.

One of the joys, which I have enjoyed in the ministry, is as we have already mentioned, is something to do with relationship. Yes. I have seen God bless me with good friends, I remember in pastor’s friend — because we have groups of pastors called “pastor’s fraternal” — there, we always meet as pastors, and discuss different things. And it is also like another family. So there are many things which I enjoy to be in the ministry. Sure.

Q13

Have your future plans for ministry changed since we interviewed you last year?

Maybe I can say so that it has changed a bit, but not changing in the sense of maybe deciding to quit ministry or affecting my ministry negatively. Those changes are not affecting my ministry negatively, but positively. For example, I am a teacher also. At my church, we have a small Bible school where those people would not go far with education, so they cannot come here to learn English, because here, lessons are in English. So those people, they can only communicate in Chichewa. So I am teaching those people.

Then I see that because I am a teacher, I am also the registrar of that school. See that if I don’t go further with education, I will not be able to help those people properly. So then when I came here, saw that there is good stuff here, then I saw that no, I should not plan small but I should plan big, I should go further with education. For example, as I am doing my master’s degree, after I’ve completed this course, I am planning to go further with my studies to do a Ph.D.

So in fact, this dream was not there before I came to CAPA, but when I came to CAPA, there was some sort of hunger for school. So — and This hunger for school has come because of my coming here to CAPA. So I see that CAPA has also helped me to change my plans, because at first I was thinking — my vision was small. Maybe I [would] just came [study] here. When I heard that this had something to do with expository preaching, so I just said, “OK, let me just hear what expository preaching is all about.” So when I came here, it’s like, now my vision has now become wide. So I’m thinking of doing greater than what I was planning to do. Sure.

Q14

If you could give a word of encouragement to your fellow Christians in Malawi, what would you say?

Well, my encouragement to the fellow Christians in Malawi will first of all go to the pastors because there are many churches in Malawi. There are many pastors, but [some] just get up in the morning and say, “I’m a pastor.” So without having any theological knowledge, has never been to school or theology, and if he went to any school for theology, there was not something like expository preaching. So the messages that are preached out there are very terrible. So my advice is that maybe they should come to CAPA for them to be well helped, so that they can handle and divide God’s Word appropriately.

And also to church members, I would also like to ask them to at least go to a church where the Word of God is rightly being preached because they may go to churches where they don’t know something to do with expository preaching. The messages which they receive there are very terrible to their spiritual life. So this can be my piece of advice to my fellow Christians in Malawi.

Q1

How did you decide to become a pastor?

Ah, my favorite thing? Maybe in therms of food, or...?

Anything you want!

[laughs]Okay. Ah, usually… I don’t know. But, as a family… I do love much to be with my wife, to chat with my wife. And when we have some free time, yeah sometimes we do go together, swimming in the lake. I am coming from Mzuzu, but sometimes we do go to Lake Malawi.

But also, I love serving with the youth. I love teaching the youth. I’m still a young pastor—I’m still in that age of youth, so I do like serving these, helping the youth learn that they should know God, and they should also walk in the life of godly.

In terms of sports, I do like soccer. That is my favorite sport activity.

Do you have a favorite food?

I do like...rice and chicken.

I had that yesterday!

Yes, so yesterday was my day.[laughs]

Q2

How did you first hear about Jesus and come to believe that Jesus died for your sins?

Well, it was the time when I was at secondary school. At the first place, I was not born in a family that… feared God very much… so, but, by the grace of God I started going to church, accompanying my friends who were coming from God-fearing families, so I went to church. Then when my parents saw that I was going to church and everything was okay then my parents started following me. But in fact, by then, I did not receive Jesus as my Lord. So it was when I was at secondary school, because at first, when I was going to these churches, I was just feeling something like I was not satisfied— like, maybe there was something that was missing.

So when I was yet at secondary school, there was a certain group of people from a student Christian organization. These guys came to our school and they preached very well and I was convicted that you know… they taught us about Jesus, that no you have to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life.

Now I saw that in fact, I’ve been going to church, but… this teaching seems to be new to me, and… it makes sense to me. After they preached they had an altar call, so I was one of the people who went in the front to be helped to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. So, that is how I received the Lord Jesus Christ.

Q3

What is your current ministry?

I am pastoring in Living Christian Church, which is northeast of this district of Lilongwe. Of course the headquarters are right behind this building [points to the building in front], so that is the headquarters, but it is also found in southern regions.

For example, just last year I was ministering in Blantyre, and I was transferred to come here because there is a Bible school at the headquarters and also I am one of the lecturers there.

Q4

How did you come to CAPA then?

I just heard people talking about CAPA when it was about to open. So then I tried to find out and I was impressed, especially when I heard about expository preaching, because I heard that this type of preaching is different from other methods of preaching because it… it allows the Bible to speak for itself. So I was interested, no, no, this is what I have been looking for. It was when I applied and I was called in, and I did my Advanced Diploma here.

When I came to CAPA, even before my graduation, whatever message I planned to preach, that was topical in nature or whatsoever sermon I had prepared I did not preach it—but the only method I accepted, “This is the right method of preaching” was expository preaching. So from that time I started expository preaching, and I am preaching expository sermons and they are very good, sermons.

Yes, my church is very convinced with this type of preaching and also appreciates what CAPA is doing. And in appreciation for this, this year, it has managed to send three other students here, and they are doing their diploma program.

Q5

How about in the future? What are your future ministry plans?

Well, as for the future, in fact, we are planning to [plant] more churches to reach where the message of Jesus Christ has not been preached. But to do that, we need reliable people who have gone through CAPA, or who know how to preach expository sermons and things like that. So the vision is there, that we want to reach out to unreached places, but these people should go through CAPA so that they should be well-equipped for ministry.

So you want to plan churches in unreached places?

Yes, yes.

What areas are you thinking of, maybe?

In villages inside and outside of Malawi, yeah. So something like maybe 3 or 4 years to come we are opening a branch in South Africa. So in fact we just send someone to be there, but one of the guys that are here, they will be sent there, yeah.

Q6

After applying and practicing expository preaching, have you seen spiritual growth in your church?

Yes, because with expository preaching, it’s not the pastor who is preaching, but the Bible! God Himself speaks to the people. Unlike with other types of preaching where the pastor needs to be a clever person who knows how to twist words and whatnot, this time I can see spiritual growth because the Bible speaks for itself to the people.

How can you see the change in people?

In fact, spiritual growth can be seen in a number of areas. For example, the way how they love to read the Bible. You see, with the other types of preachings, we just… read the Bible once, then you just explain things which you call revelations, so the Bible is left somewhere there and the pastor is there jumping with a microphone! [laughs]

But with expository preaching, you say, “Please, let’s go to this verse.” Then after that, after explaining you say, “Let’s go to another verse”—so, so people see what the pastor is saying is what is in the Scriptures, so people love to hear what the Scripture says than what the pastor is just saying. So people like their Bibles and read their Bibles.

And also there is also spiritual growth in the way that people conduct themselves, see—and in terms of things like discipline issues. So I can see that issues to do with discipline have become minimal. And like in the past year when there were so many cases like, “Oh this one has left his wife, oh this one has committed adultery, oh this person has done this,” but this time I can see that there is change because they hear the Bible speaking to the people, so as the Lord Himself said, “I will bless my Word.”

So after preaching expository preaching, God Himself is blessing His Word, unlike those odd methods where a pastor is just speaking something that is coming from his mind.

Q7

What are some ways we can be praying for you?

1)One of the things which you can assist me when you are praying is to pray for my ministry, so that my ministry can achieve the goals that are there to reach out to the people that have not been reached with the gospel.

2)And even my studies here, we are studying Greek, so it’s hard! [laughs] It’s hard to catch up with it, it’s not simple! So you can as well help me.

3) And also, you can also pray for this school CAPA—we want this school to, it should not just come here to… to pass, but it should be here forever! It should come here to stay, not just to pass by.

Q8

What is your favorite thing about Malawi?

Mm, my favorite thing about Malawi is that it is a peaceful country and so you can preach the word of God freely. You can go any place and preach the word of God. And unlike other countries, when problems are there when a pastor, when a minister of god wants to preach he can be persecuted, all those thing happen. But here in Malawi, you know, one thing which I like about Malawi is our freedom of worship and the peace that is existing in this country.