“When I come here to learn, it gives me the courage that whatever I am sharing now to those people, it’s not fake, but it’s truth, and I’m so bold enough to share to them, and the result is that people get excited, really.”

Shadreck Chinyama

Program Master of Divinity ('20)
Age 51
Ministering in Lilongwe
Family Wife, two sons, and four daughters

Shadreck is a senior pastor at his church. Although Shadreck has faced persecution because of his faith, he believes that it has helped him to develop a deeper trust and boldness for the Lord. This year, he is looking forward to using the tools and resources that he has been blessed with through CAPA to train and equip many more men of God.

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

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Shadreck shares what he's most excited to learn about in the upcoming school year.


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Interview with Shadreck Chinyama

2017

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Q2

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

Q3

Have you faced any hardships because of your faith?

Q4

In terms of your church, how do you plan on shepherding it this year? What are your future plans for your ministry?

Q5

What are you most excited about learning this year?

Q6

What are some ways you have seen God's providence in your life?

Q7

How can we be praying for you?

Q1

How did you come to know the Lord?

Well, I came to know the Lord in 1981. Yes, actually, when my brother went to school, there, he met some people who ministered to him, and he accepted the Lord. When he came back home, he came and also shared Christ to me, and I saw for the first time that everyone needs to be born again and receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. And then I also accepted Christ Jesus as my Savior.

[…] We are born in a Christian family, but my parents, we are very communicant Christians, very devoted Christians. He was a church elder, my father, […] so by going to church every Sunday, I thought I was saved. But now, when [my brother] brought this new message of saving—one is to realize that you are a sinner, repent personally and receive Him as your personal Savior—that was a different gospel from what I relied on. Then I was convicted.

But when I heard for the first time, I did not respond immediately, because I was so young by that time. I was almost 15 years of age, and said, “If I repent of my sins, then I will automatically cut off myself from enjoying these other things. So, maybe why don’t I wait until I get old, and that’s when I could accept Christ?”

But the way that he told me, it was like a seed. Something continued speaking to me. Should I die today, where are you going to spend your eternity? Then, after that, then I thought seriously and then went back to the way that he told me. “No, please, I want to accept Jesus today.” […] That’s how I committed my life to Jesus.

[Before I was saved], I just thought that by just by going to church every Sunday—being a church goer—then automatically you’ll go to heaven. I was also singing in the choir at some singing group, and also sometimes when the youth group I was doing a little, I was very active in those. By doing those things.

I thought I’d be saved by works, that’s all. And also by being born in my family, being a Christian family. Yeah, automatically I thought I’d go heaven.

Q2

Why did you decide to come to CAPA?

When I started the pastoral ministry, I had no actual formal training. […] So I could not get deeper into my theology. […] Some people from CAPA went to Nkhotakota, where there was a pastor’s conference—that’s where they were teaching about English. One of the books he was teaching about [was] English—[…] so grammar, theological grammar, biblical grammar. So that’s where they advertised—they say, “These are the kind of lessons that we are teaching at CAPA. We soon start the new school in Lilongwe.”

So I was offered an application form. Then after applying, I came to be one of the students who started the CAPA, the [Advanced Diploma]. Yeah, but coming to CAPA, I wanted to deepen my understanding of the Bible so that as a pastor, I should teach the Word of God right to the people that God has given responsibility to, so I should interpret the Bible to them in the right manner.

Yes, not to stories about, eh, rabbit, little toys, and whatever no—but I really wanted to tell them the truth about the Bible. And also that, I, myself, I should grow, because somewhere I was told, if you stop learning, then you stop to grow. So I believed in that philosophy, that I should continue to grow spiritually. Yes.

Q3

Have you faced any hardships because of your faith?

Yes. I remember when going Nkhotakota, we had a Bible study group in Nkhotakota and in Nkhotakota is a Muslim dominated area. So when we go about the village, witness about Christ there, then whoever was converted can go as a Muslim convert coming to Christianity. […] Sometimes they come throw stones against maybe whoever was ministering to them, so I experienced that as well. And […] the very convert could be banished from the family and […] everything that belongs to him could be taken away from him. So, we could really be attacked by the Muslims.

Why have you preached to one of their Muslim members? But you say, “No, this is the gospel, which is free for all. We just minister to him; it is him that made his decision to follow Christ Jesus.” So these are some of the things. And also in the same church that I belonged, that time before I became a pastor, […] the leaders, they do not know Christ. They were leaders, but do not know Christ, the church elders.

So, […] saying one has to be born again to go and to minister in the market places and other villages, they were against that. So they also persecuting us and they even excommunicating us; they say, “Why, why are you finding yourself preaching in the village there? Why are you preaching at the market? Why were you having some nights of prayer, praying in the night?” So all those, they don’t understand. […] So these are some of the persecutions.

And also, sometimes, my very family members as well. When I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ, my brother, who was keeping me, who was paying school fees while I was out at primary school, also could not understand why I had become born again. [He] say, “No, these things will… first of all, done away with your school. After finishing your school, that’s when you could become born again because it’s confusing you; because why should you go to Bible study instead of going to study?”

But I knew how I would divide the time, but he could not understand, because what I was doing was different from what I was doing in the very past. So it was also experiencing some persecution in the home—it came to a point of grabbing the Bible away from me, say, “No, from now on, don’t read the Bible. Just [consider return] the books. Once you go to church, don’t mix with any other Christian group.” All those things, it was a persecution that I fought. I found also with my very family members as well, yes.

It helped me to become more [strong], yeah—I was never discouraged. Indeed, made my faith to grow. Yes. Made my faith to grow; and I was really trusting God, and I really saw God saving me, protecting me, and, especially I had the hunger to know God and to serve the Lord more. I was even hearing upon my life that, “I called you. I called you whilst you were young,” just as Jeremiah 1 says.

So that’s why throughout my primary and secondary school education, I still heard that call upon my life. When I went to the secondary school, the high school, there, I was already a born-again Christian. So, I used to minister to my fellow children, my fellow students, even in my teachers as well, telling them about Christ Jesus. Came up to a point where even calling me to their families to pray even for them in case somebody maybe was sick. I could go there [and] pray there for their family member who was sick. So that’s how I grew to really be very much bold enough for Christ Jesus. Because of this persecution, they helped me prepare to be bold enough to approach anyone. Yes.

Q4

In terms of your church, how do you plan on shepherding it this year? What are your future plans for your ministry?

My future plans for the ministry is that I should do “right-hand” training [from] whatever I learn here, and whatever gets some private sources concerning the materials for training. I also teach my pastors because I’m the senior pastor […] and I’ve got almost about 35 churches that I have planted so far in Malawi, so we have some pastors head of those places.

So each and every year, maybe three times, we bring the pastors together to train them [with] what I’ve learned and also what and sometimes even ask other men of God to come and help training it was, yes. So my plan, the future plans is that I should also start my Bible institution as well. Some have a permanent place where I could be coming in and stay and be trained, maybe sometimes before two weeks or three months and then go back. That’s what I feel it should be. Yes.

Q5

What are you most excited about learning this year?

I feel myself growing. I feel refreshed. And also it gives me the courage to stand and share because they share the gospel of my faith to other people, even in my church. There’s many people that have different levels of education nowadays, and experience. But when I come here to learn, it gives me the courage that whatever I am sharing now to those people, it’s not fake, but it’s truth, and I’m so bold enough to share to them, and the result is that people get excited, really.

This is a deep material that they are teaching us and we are seeing ourselves also growing. So I’m so excited about what I’m experiencing about learning here because I know, on the other hand, other people have been blessed with what I share. I have many sermons that I can teach because at first I could get dry. I could have nothing to share, but now, when I learn in class, I get I also experience more materials that are offered.

Q6

What are some ways you have seen God's providence in your life?

Okay, there are many. Yeah, first, God provided a wife for me, yes. God has given me a God- fearing wife. […] She’s a woman of faith, she loves the Lord, and she supports me in ministry. That’s a very big providence—she’s so encouraging and so caring.

And another providence is that God just keep on sending some people to encourage me where I am weak. They come in to encourage me.

Some other providence that—my children also. At first, they were difficult, very naughty—it was difficult for them. Though I was also a pastor, it was very difficult for them to cope up with that, yeah, about the Lord. But now I see most of them have also committed their lives to Jesus Christ. So, because of the prayer we have been praying for my children, they have committed their lives to Jesus Christ. Now, even in our house we have, almost every day, we have some special evening prayers and some discussions. Other people come from the surrounding neighbors just to enjoy listening the prayer. So, this was all God’s provision that our house is now becoming a light to our surrounding neighbors.

[…] Others, when I was in the high school, others actually helped me to get educated there, yes. Or else, maybe my parents, even my relatives who say we can no longer continue to paying school fees for you, so I had to come here. Helped me a lot, ended up finishing my high school.

Also, others during my marriage, others came in to support everything that required the wedding. That’s God’s provision as well. And God has also provided a house for me as well—we started doing some small businesses. Then after some small savings, little by little, we build our own house. So, God has provided at least a shelter—I can really be there because in time in Lilongwe, if you don’t have your own house, then it’s a problem because you keep on moving from every month, renting houses—the prices of them you shift, this cannot afford. So also having my own property, that is really a blessing to me as well.

And also, our children as well, as they have been coming in to help support our children to learn as well. So that is also something which on my own I could not have afford to do. Yes.

Q7

How can we be praying for you?

Okay, my prayer is that I need, as a pastor, and also as the senior pastor, God has taken care of us. So [pray also for] other elders and pastors in different places. Also, my brother goes to provide wisdom to administer his work that I’m in charge of as a senior pastor.

Two, we just acquire the place somewhere—a land—where we’re going to build a church. So we just built a shelter there, where it was just grass, still, the last November. So we’re using that one. So last part of the success of the ministry we saw prayer, but really we should see God providing a church building there. […] And also, God should also help us be train more leaders, yeah, for the ministry, yes.