“[1 John 5:12] says that the one who has the Son has life—who has the Son of God has got life. So I like that because for somebody to have life, you need Jesus. You need the Son of God.”

Stanford Kapanda

Program Master of Divinity ('18)
Age 49
Ministering in Mangochi
Family Wife, two daughters, and one son

Stanford is a full-time pastor at his church. He grew up in the southern region of Malawi, along Lake Malawi. During his time at CAPA, Stanford’s enjoyed learning about the biblical languages because it allows him to see clearly what the Word of God says.

$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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Stanford shares how his vision for future ministry is to make more disciples of Jesus Christ.

Stanford shares the most important lesson he's learned while at CAPA.


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Interview with Stanford Kapanda

2017 2016 2015

Q1

What class have you liked the best and why?

Q2

What would you say is the most important lesson that you’ve learned from CAPA?

Q3

What has been the biggest challenge being in school?

Q4

What are you looking forward to learning this upcoming year?

Q5

What is some of the things you do as a pastor of your church?

Q6

How would you say that your preaching has changed this past year?

Q7

What are some ways that, since coming here, you’ve been able to see more so God’s providence in your life?

Q8

What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?

Q9

Do you have any prayer requests?

Q1

What's your favorite memory at CAPA?

Q2

What has been your favorite class and why?

Q3

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

Q4

How has CAPA influenced your family life and relationships?

Q5

In what ways has the Lord grown you this year, and what has He been teaching you?

Q6

What are you looking forward to this year at CAPA?

Q7

What challenges have you faced in ministry?

Q8

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

Q1

Are you pastoring a church right now?

Q2

How did you decide to come to CAPA?

Q3

After you came to CAPA, did what you learned change the way you preach/read the Bible?

Q4

After you practiced expository preaching, what did your congregation think?

Q5

You’ve been pastoring for 17 years now. In those 17 years, what are some challenges in ministry that the Lord has given you?

Q6

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

Q7

How can we be praying for you?

Q8

What would you like to do in future ministry?

Q9

What is your favorite thing about Malawi?

Q1

What class have you liked the best and why?

Oh, I liked the second year of my master’s. Yeah, because I was able to understand most of the things, especially in Greek. The first year, I was about to drop out, I’m telling you, [laughs] and I tried to understand the words in Greek and starting to parse some verbs and so forth. It was becoming like, “Oh, this is difficult.” But as time was going by I was able to—I mean, to get used and get to understand whatsoever was happening. And when I entered into my second year, it’s now when my brain was open. I was able even to diagram or to do diagramming in Greek and doing also every preaching in Greek. So yeah, I like my second year of master’s very much.

So you’ve said that you’ve become more familiar with Greek. Is that your favorite subject?

Yeah, definitely. I prefer Greek than Hebrew. Hebrew is difficult. [laughs] It’s difficult, I’m telling you.

Q2

What would you say is the most important lesson that you’ve learned from CAPA?

The very important lesson as I said earlier on is Greek. I like Greek because it’s original language, which I mean the Bible was written from; and to know the language from it’s Greek root, you will be able to even interpret the Bible very well or you will be able to understand the Bible without any difficulties because you know the language. So Greek, yeah, it’s good. It’s good because previously, all we are doing is just learning in our own language, vernacular language Chichewa, and we couldn’t understand most of the things. But when we started to learn Greek, it’s when now we came to know to say, “Okay, ah, this is indeed finally what is supposed to be done.” So I like Greek because I am able to interpret the Bible very well.

Q3

What has been the biggest challenge being in school?

Um, the biggest challenge is that I am a pastor. I pastor a church and at the same time coming to school. To balance the two, it has been so difficult. So yeah, really it’s—that’s my biggest challenge because you go out, you want to, I mean, to fetch out food for the children by the family and so forth. At the same time you’re wanted at school. And you, the people at church they need you. The need your advice. They need your administration. And so it’s really difficult. It’s not easy at all.

What do you do so that you can manage both being at home and being at school and working at church?

I would like to thank the president of the school in a special way, Pastor Jim Ayres. He did a tremendous job upon my life because one time he sat down with me when I wanted to drop out and he encouraged me to stay: “No, no, no, Stanford you shouldn’t have to.” So he gave me some tips on how I can balance and I took those tips and I started to apply those tips—to say, you can balance up your time to stay at school and time to serve at the church and at the same time, I’m—at the same time I’m all these things can go together without any difficulty. So I am able to balance.

Q4

What are you looking forward to learning this upcoming year?

This coming year we are dealing with Hebrew and we want to start to interpret the Bible through Hebrew and also to do some diagrammings and a number of things which would be happening in Hebrew, yeah.

Q5

What is some of the things you do as a pastor of your church?

It’s typically full-time pastor. I don’t do anything else, but as I am at church I make sure to do counseling. People come—uh, those who need special counseling and I deal with such kind of it.

Do you think that CAPA has helped in how you lead your church?

Definitely, definitely. CAPA has helped me a lot in terms of my preaching. My preaching has completely changed. Yeah, of course, previously I used to preach but sometimes you can preach from Genesis to Revelation in one Sunday. [laughs] But now after learning at CAPA, you just take maybe two or three verses and you try to diagram it, you come up with your outline and you make some series, maybe for two weeks preaching on only two verses. Yeah, so CAPA has helped me a lot to be systematic in terms of preaching.

Q6

How would you say that your preaching has changed this past year?

For example, I was teaching on Romans in the past months. And it happened that the church—the people in the church liked it so much, just preaching in Romans starting from chapter one you go to chapter two, chapter three of Romans. People liked it so much and at first when I was coming here at school, at CAPA, I thought that maybe my church will say, “Ah, why have you changed the way you used to preach?” because I am a Pentecostal—I have a Pentecostal background of sorts—but it seems the people are emulating. They are welcoming me and they are saying, “Ah, no, no, go for it!” And yeah, because we dig the text and we show the people what the verse is talking about—the text is talking about—without adding it, I mean from anything else, which is very good. Let the Word of God speak to people.

Q7

What are some ways that, since coming here, you’ve been able to see more so God’s providence in your life?

God is God of providence. And sometimes it’s good just to take Him to be God. Because sometimes when we try to use our own wisdom, this way or that, to say I think I’ll do this, I think we can’t manage because I have seen the providence of God even in terms of my school fees.

I mean, I couldn’t manage to pay for the master’s class. It’s very, very expensive, but I have seen the providence of God in that sponsors [financial supporters] stand with us right away from America, supporting us and supporting our school and here I am, and we pay very little. So in so doing, I can say, indeed God is God of providence.

Q8

What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?

Okay, my favorite book of the Bible is 1 John 5:12. Yeah.

What does that verse say?

It says that the one who has the Son has life—who has the Son of God has got life. So I like that because for somebody to have life, you need Jesus. You need the Son of God. So I like it because we cannot have bright future without Jesus. Jesus is the only future, He is the only life given of each and every human being.

Q9

Do you have any prayer requests?

Yeah, I definitely need people to pray for me so that I should finish Master of Divinity as I am in the third year. It takes the grace of God for somebody to be here at school and be able to do finish first year, second year the way the cost is. It’s not easy, so I need people to stand with me in prayer so that I should finish my Master of Divinity.

Q1

What's your favorite memory at CAPA?

What I remember most about CAPA is the preaching lab. I remember we had a professor by the name Brian [Biedebach], [who] was teaching us. When he called me to preach during preaching lab, at first I didn't know what to do. It was as if I have never preached, yet I do preach at my church time and again. But with the style of preaching in terms of expository type of preaching, which is taught here, it's so rich, it's so vast in knowledge, so far that you are able to know more things and expound more things as you are preaching. So, I still remember those days.

Q2

What has been your favorite class and why?

We are learning Greek, a subject which have never taught before. You know here in Malawi, the schools that teach Greek – I think is only CAPA that tries to teach Greek.

Q3

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

Love. I've experienced the love of God. God has been so kind to me in a number of things. For example, the church which I'm pastoring – I've seen how faithful God is in terms of bringing all people, and also experiencing the people loving one another at church. I can say that indeed, God is love. He cares for me, for my family – divine provision.

Q4

How has CAPA influenced your family life and relationships?

CAPA has influenced my family in terms of understanding one another. We have been learning a number of teachings concerning family, friends. For example, the issue of counseling in family. There are some books which I have shared together with my wife. After reading those books, [we] could see some change, learning something that has never learned before. I also have learned something that I have never learned before. And we share those things to our children.

For example, even a book we have just received now that talks about shepherding the child’s heart. I like it so much because I have never, never go through that kind of teaching – that we should raise our children looking at their heart, or beginning from the heart. You know, sometimes, you could just treat them by dealing with the outside behavior. You see a child behaving this way or other, that way, and you try to mend, put that child in the line, but you find that it’s not changing at all. But as I have learned that a child is supposed to be taught right away by dealing with the heart first and using the Word of God, and then after, the child would be able to grow with the aspects of God.

Q5

In what ways has the Lord grown you this year, and what has He been teaching you?

I have seen great growth in terms of my prayer life and the way I've studied. CAPA teaches us more about knowing more about the word of God, so I have experienced Christ in terms of understanding the Scriptures. Even the prayer life, how important it is for a man of God to be in the praises of God. And how the man of God is supposed to study the Scriptures so that even before you go in front of the pulpit to share, you must be well aware. Yeah.

Q6

What are you looking forward to this year at CAPA?

This year, I'm looking to learn more about Hebrew because I have never learned Hebrew, but it will be my first experience to undergo that type of subject.

Q7

What challenges have you faced in ministry?

The challenge which I have faced is to balance the two: school and ministry. It’s a little bit tough because you are at school, you want to study, you want to write assignments, but at the same time you want to take care of the sheep. It is a great challenge.

Q8

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

I would like to say to them that I think they should not waste time. We need to know the Word more, and I would like to invite them to come to school at CAPA so that they can learn something about expository preaching.

Q1

Are you pastoring a church right now?

Yes, I am pastoring a church of Living Waters in Malawi, at area 25. I also help oversee some Living Waters Churches along Central Region. I’ve been a pastor for almost now 17 years, and I have been an overseer for 3 years.

Q2

How did you decide to come to CAPA?

Of course, when I was working with Campus Crusades, we were working together with my good friend Gideon Manda [the Dean of Students at CAPA]. Yeah! So, one time when I met Gideon, he told me about CAPA, and explained to me, so far, that I was convinced to come. After coming here, I started with Advanced Diploma. And when I saw the course which CAPA is teaching, I was more convinced. I said, “This is the right teaching which is supposed to go to the rest of the nation.” So, I learned Advanced Diploma, and now I am in Master’s.

Q3

After you came to CAPA, did what you learned change the way you preach/read the Bible?

Yeah… CAPA has changed me, as its name is Central African Preaching Academy. So, they teach, especially on expository preaching, so that pastors should know the Word of God, divide the Word of God as it is. Not just I mean think about it, or either just preach in parables or just some stories in churches, but we should be able to teach the Word. We need to divide the Word, we need to expose the Word to people.

So the way they are teaching at CAPA, I have discovered that it is the right way because for example, you started with observation—you observe the text. Then you come to interpretation—you interpret the text. And there you apply! That text to the people to this generation. So, it’s more practical, I’m sure I can say it’s more practical.

Q4

After you practiced expository preaching, what did your congregation think?

Ah of course, my congregation… now, people are getting grounded. Because it seems previously yes, I was preaching, but I was not preaching in series. But now! I do preaching in series, maybe you take Romans and you started to go verse by verse, elaborating to people.

So people are able to understand the Bible very well, very well. And people also recommended me to say, “Oh! We see a change in you, Pastor Kapanda! Because the way you are preaching, I think something is changing.” So I see that it will completely change my church, and even the growth of my church now is totally changing.

Q5

You’ve been pastoring for 17 years now. In those 17 years, what are some challenges in ministry that the Lord has given you?

Of course, when you are in ministry, not all things are good. Sometimes you find things that challenge your life. And indeed I remember one time, the leadership of the church, of our church, they decided that I should go to do bigger work as an administrator of the church. And this happened when one of our overseers resigned without the leadership knowing that he will resign. So I went to do that job as an administrator for Central Region. And as I was doing that work, I saw that I was just doing paperwork, paying the salaries for the pastors and so forth, and I realized that I was missing something!

And the one thing which I was missing is that I felt that I need to be where God has called me—to pastor a church. Not necessarily just to play around with papers in the office. So I decided to the leadership, to say, “I want to go, or either you should give me a branch where I can pastor.”

And when the branch was identified for me to pastor, there were so many challenges. There was no money—the account of the church was closed. And the people told me to say, “the way you are coming from, we cannot manage to pay.” But I told them, God called me, don’t worry about anything, and God will be able to provide; whatsoever, he will provide.

And from the level where we started, we saw God taking us from the humble beginning and raising us higher and higher, and I have seen the faithfulness of God through the fact that other people say, “How?! Does this church change?” I just see God. God doing it.

Q6

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

Okay, one time, I was singing in a choir in a Presbyterian church, and I remember our choir was called to minister at a crusade, where the evangelists organized it. So I went there as a choir, to sing at a crusade.

In the course of singing, as the preacher was preaching the Word, I got convicted. I felt that I am a sinner, and I surrendered my life to Jesus, and accepted Jesus to be Lord and Savior of my life from that time.

And after receiving Jesus, when we went back to our former church, the leadership called us, and they told us to say, “If anyone have received Jesus, we are excommunicating you from church!” So I was excommunicated from church!

Really? Why did they do that?

They said, “This is a false type of teaching,” during those days, because I received Christ in 1985. So, the teachings of becoming born again, receiving Jesus, were very rare in those days.

We could not participate in the sacraments and so forth. But still, I was just going to attend the service, and go back home, up until the time when God, I think, spoke to me, maybe to seek for another church. It’s when I joined Living Waters.

Q7

How can we be praying for you?

1) I would prefer if you can pray for me, especially to finish my Masters of Divinity. I want the grace of God to be upon my life, the wisdom of God to be upon my life. If the grace and the wisdom of God can dwell upon me, that’s all I pray for upon my life.

2) And also my wife, I should also pray for my wife—of course she is a nurse, by profession. She did her diploma course, but next year she wants to engage herself to do bachelor’s. So you should pray that the grace of God should also be upon her.

3) I want my children also to go further in education, and also to fear the Lord, so that they should be able to be an exemplary to the world—Christians who follow the word of God. Maybe, I prefer some of my children to be maybe called into full-time [ministry].

Q8

What would you like to do in future ministry?

The vision which I have, is that I want to make more disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yeah, by teaching the Bible, by teaching the Word—the truth from the Word of God, so that people must be grounded in the truth of the word of God, yeah. So that’s my greatest mission: to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You know, as we are in the last days, there are so many prophets who have rose up. And they are misleading people. I remember in South Africa, one of the prophet is leading the people to eat snakes and also some rats. They say, “Can you eat them? They sound like chocolate.” So, people, since they are blind, they are ignorant—they rush there, and they take a snake and eat it, thinking that maybe something’s going to change, a miracle going to happen.

So, as we are in the last days, we have a greatest challenge to teach the Word of God as it is, so that people should know the truth.

Q9

What is your favorite thing about Malawi?

The favorite thing about Malawi is… tourism. [laughs] Yeah! You know, Malawi is a very interesting nation. And, it seems people doesn’t know key places where people can be able, just to relax and so forth. Maybe after preaching the word and so forth, it is good just to go to such places and relax a little bit. So, I like tourism as Malawians, yeah.

We have national parks and game reserves where they keep animals. There are all sorts of, like sometimes bays and so forth, where people can try to look. As I stayed at Area 1, at the lake, we have a wonderful fish which is never found in any country except for Malawi—this is called chambo fish. If you manage to go to the lake or any other restaurant, ask for chambo—the test itself. Ah, I am telling you! It’s so special! [laughs]