ZEMA ministers to the Zionists of the African Independent Churches in southern Africa, from now on called “amaZioni” from Zulu “people of Zion,” but known by many other titles. A new religious movement, Zionism is a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship. The amaZioni people are estimated to have 15–18 million members throughout southern Africa. In Swaziland, forty percent of Swazis consider themselves amaZioni. They are prevalent in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.
The amaZioni call themselves the “people of Zion” not because of the Biblical concept of Zion, but because of a Christian city called Zion in Illinois, USA. More than a century ago, Zion sent a group of missionaries to southern Africa. These missionaries saw many prominent tribesmen accept the beliefs the missionaries taught.
However, internal and financial problems forced the Western missionaries to withdraw, not to return for decades. In their wake, the amaZioni had no Biblical resources. Over time, they grew exponentially, planting churches and raising up leaders. But without any formal or informal Biblical training, they moved further into folk belief. They mixed Christian practices with traditional African ones, including witchcraft and ancestor worship.
ZEMA has a special connection to the amaZioni because ZEMA missionaries bring “the true teachings of Zion” and the true teaching of Zion is the Word of God: the Bible. ZEMA missionaries are amaZioni!
ZEMA shares the Bible through many means, most prominently ZEBS. ZEBS classes train pastors and leaders who have an intimate connection to the culture and preserve and spread biblical truth. Topics include Bible Survey, The Minister, Church Administration, Systematic Theology, Evangelism, Missions, Preaching, Hermeneutics, Exegesis, World Religions, Chronological Studies, Sunday school, and HIV/AIDS. Through ZEBS, Zionists have the opportunity to learn the word of God, grow in their relationship with Him, connect with one another, and begin to see their local congregations as a part of God’s greater work: building the body of Christ. Through ZEBS, we envision God’s word spreading across the continent like a fire that will not be extinguished. Read more about ZEBS…
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