Central Bible College of Malawi (CBCM) was founded in 2007 by Pastor Goodwill Logeya while he was studying for a Diploma in Biblical Theology. He was motivated to provide training to the thousands of rural pastors in Malawi who had not been able to access training as he had, due to training centres being so few and fees so unaffordable. Pastor Goodwill writes:
I experienced a difficult life in college. I was expelled from class, thrown out of dorms, chased out of the kitchen and denied access to an exam. All because I missed school fee deadlines. At one point, I found employment at the school as a computer administrator and my wage was credited to my school fee account. This, in addition to buying and selling various goods at school and typing projects for my fellow students, just about kept me going.
Once I was stranded in town after being chased out from Bible school owing school fees. I went to some leaders of a Pentecostal church to ask for help but they refused. Then I went to Capital City Baptist Church in Lilongwe and explained my ordeal. The pastor gave me a cheque of 10,000 kwacha (about £8). A concerned Muslim also gave me K10,000 which meant I could return to study.
Eventually, I completed the diploma and was able to study for a master’s degree in theology at the University of Malawi. During this time, I joined forces with leaders from Baptist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Adventist and other denominations to offer basic training in the Bible and in ministry to rural church leaders. We would hire a venue and invite the pastors to come and stay with us in cities like Blantyre. We used our own money to pay for the training.
Finding this approach cost too much, we decided to move from the city to rural areas, basing our work in Chikwawa and bringing the training to the people. Chikwawa is a rural district in southern Malawi and its accessible location meant it was easier for us to meet with Christian leaders from village churches in both Malawi and Mozambique.
This is how Central Bible College started, offering affordable training to rural church leaders from Malawi and Mozambique. Things were going really well with a growing number of pastors graduating. Then, in 2020 we were interrupted by Covid and Cyclone Anna. In 2022, Cyclone Gombe hit. Then, in February this year, Cyclone Freddy came. The storm swept through the whole building leaving us completely stranded. We agreed that we could no longer continue in Chikwawa because the area is so vulnerable to flooding. So recently we reestablished our training programme in Blantyre.
We have tailored the curriculum to the needs of the local church, responding to the trends in society and with a practical emphasis on mission. More precisely, the formational and ministerial training we provide combines with mission and evangelism outreach during weekends where students demonstrate and practice what they learn.
The curriculum is rich in content, enough to impact the head with knowledge, touch the heart with passion and give ministerial skills to the hands. Towards the end of their studies, each student presents a research topic which they put into action in their church after graduation.
As we continue to provide affordable training that really helps untrained rural pastors, we have learnt that there is huge spiritual hunger in Malawi. There are many unreached areas especially in remote village communities, but churches are clustered in towns. We must take a risk and equip leaders for ministry in rural areas.
Then, we know that untrained Christian leaders are spreading errant messages. Sadly, Bible verses can be used to damage and hurt if they are not well understood.
We have also found that churches in Malawi struggle to work outside of their denominations. For example, it is hard to go to a Presbyterian church with an advert while you worship in a Baptist church. We work hard to break down these divisions.
There is a very big misconception among many people. When you give personal funds to support ministry, some assume that you are sponsored by Western donors. This misconception has led to many Christian leaders envying each other for no reason. Funding is desperately needed for ministry but without openness and transparency, relationships can be damaged.
From everyone at CBCM, thank you!