In 1945, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod agreed to send two missionary pastors on an exploratory journey to investigate possibilities in Africa.
In 1953, the first station began in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, at Munali secondary school.
In 1954, the first worship services were held at Lumano village, where the Central Africa Medical Mission was established.
Four years later, in 1957, the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA) had 18 preaching stations, one organized congregation, and an average weekly attendance of over 1,000 people.
In 1960, plans for the building of the Bible Institute were begun in Lusaka.
When the church began, it was registered as “Rhodesian Lutheran Church,” but later on the name changed to “Lutheran Church of Central Africa.” This was in 1962.
In 1964, the church opened its Bible Institute in Lusaka. This was meant for the training of African men for the African Ministry. In this same year, the first synod convention of the LCCA met. There were twelve lay delegates, ten religious workers, four missionaries, and four visitors.
In 1968, a Publications Building was completed and dedicated. This was meant for the printing of training materials and books for use in the congregations.
Looking at the fast growth and need for African pastors, plans to put up a seminary were made. In 1969, a Lutheran Seminary was added to the worker training system.
In 1978, the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA) took an initiative toward self-support. The synod voted for a 5% reduction of subsidy to national pastors each year until the congregations pay 100% of the pastors’ salaries.
In 1987, Pastor Salimo Hachibamba was called to head the Lutheran Bible Institute and Seminary in Lusaka. Pastor Hachibamba was one of the first students of our Bible Institute and Seminary.
In 1988, the LCCA elected Pastor Peter Chikatala as its first chairman of the synod. This was an important step towards self-administration.
The church opened up in many new areas. In order to facilitate a more efficient system of administration and a smoother flow of activities, the church agreed in 1992 to divide into two conferences: the LCCA—Malawi Conference and LCCA—Zambia Conference.
In 1994, the LCCA elected Pastor Samuel Kawiliza as its Synod Chairman.
In 1996, the LCCA—Zambia Conference proposed a 5% reduction of all subsidies received from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) each year, challenging itself not to cut programs and projects by raising those needed funds from LCCA—Zambia congregations. It was during this same period that the LCCA decided to move the Bible Institute to Lilongwe in Malawi while the Seminary continued in Lusaka, Zambia.
In 1999, the Zambia Synod proposed that the 5% reduction of subsidy to the LCCA be applied to the Administration Budget of the Synod first and allow the Seminary and Publications programs to be funded fully with subsidy at that time. This was to make sure that vital programs continued as the Synod worked to improve its offering capacity.
In the year 2000, all Zambian pastors serving in congregations were off salary subsidy. Congregations paid 100% of their called workers’ salaries. Despite congregations taking care of their pastors, it was very difficult for them to meet the supposed allowance for pastors. It was in this same year that Pastor Bismark Kalyobwe was elected chairman of the LCCA, replacing Pastor Samuel Kawiliza.
In 2003, two missionary positions were cut due to budget constraints. In this same year, the Urban Ministry Coordinator position was created to reach out to developing upper and middle class people in Zambia. Pastor Milton Mpofu was called to serve as Dean of Students at the Seminary.
In 2004, Pastor Milton Mpofu was elected to serve as Chairman of the LCCA. He replaced Pastor Bismark Kalyobwe.
By 2005, the Administration Budget for the LCCA—Zambia was funded by 50% from local offerings and 50% from WELS subsidy, but the Seminary and the Publications were still funded fully by subsidy.
In 2006, Pastor Fainos Tarisayi was elected to serve as Chairman of the LCCA. It was during this period that the WELS Mission made a public and official statement that the missionaries put themselves under the direction of the LCCA National Church and stood ready to serve in areas and ministries that the LCCA determined. The LCCA Strategic Plan included the desire to concentrate more on the urban centers in Zambia and added regulations directing and governing the works of charities that were being done by and on behalf of the LCCA. In the same year, Pastor Samuel Kawiliza was called to serve as the third Zambian professor at the Seminary.
In 2008, Pastor Davison Mutentami was elected to serve as Chairman of the LCCA. This was the time when missionaries were asked to move into urban areas to attempt to build on the urban centers program.
In 2009, the LCCA suffered a setback on its urban ministry program. This was because most missionaries who were going to help with the urban ministry were called back. Three missionaries’ positions were removed from Zambia. This affected the whole program of the urban ministry. The LCCA currently has only four missionaries.
The LCCA has been trying to fill the gap left by the departing missionaries. This gap has forced the LCCA—Zambia to form up large parish unions, which should be filled by Zambian pastors. This has affected the church, especially the pastors. They are travelling long distances using motorbikes to serve these places.
In 2010, July 31, the Seminary Board of Control called Pastor Anthony Phiri to serve as Dean of Students. Currently the Seminary has appointed Pastor Samuel Kawiliza to serve as acting Principal of the Seminary.
In July 2010, the Board of Control established an advanced continuing education program called the Greater Africa Theological Studies Institute.
To provide pastors in the Lutheran Church of Central Africa, Christ the King Lutheran Church, All Saints Lutheran Church, and Lutheran Church of Cameroon synods and opportunity for advanced studies in theology.
To provide structured and directed advanced education for pastors with the desire to further their study of God’s Word that results in:
a. A Bachelor of Divinity (BDiv) degree issued by the Pastoral Studies Institute of the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (Mequon, WI, USA) upon successful completion of the course.
b. A potential pool of qualified national pastors in the greater African Lutheran churches for teaching in the various African Bible Institutes and seminaries (LCCA, CKLCN, and LCC).
In September 2010, Pastor Davison Mutentami was elected to serve as Chairman of the Synod.
In April 2011, the Africa Region Conference of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference was held in Lusaka with delegates from Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon, and Nigeria in attendance.
In September 2012, Pastor Davison Mutentami was elected to serve as the synod Chairman.
In July 2014, the Synod budget was funded 80% from LCCA offerings and 20% from subsidy from WELS. The Publications budget was funded 40% from sales and 60% from WELS. There was a slow progression to increasing prices of the sale of books to eventually have the Publications self-funding through sales. The Seminary professor’s salary was covered 100% by the LCCA Administrative budget. All other funding for the Seminary and Publications was covered by WELS.
In July 2014, the GRATSI 2010 programme held its final session for the 2010 class in Lusaka. The five Zambian pastors who graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (BDiv) were Pastors Kamwata, Simweeleba, Tarisayi, Phiri, and Mutentami.
The new GRATSI intake started in July 2014. The men selected for this four-year course were: Pastor Kevin Milambo, Pastor Victor Sakala, Pastor Jonathan Kangongo, Pastor Mecious Lubaba, Pastor Mascrif Mulonda, and Pastor Forward Shamachona.
In the August 2014 intake at the Seminary, the class had 19 men.
In September 2014, Pastor Bismark Kalyobwe was elected to serve as the Synod Chairman at the 29th biannual Synod Convention.
In November 2014, a Supreme Court case ruled that the Bethel Church property given to the LCCA by the Zambian government actually belonged to another person. The property was surrendered to the previous title holder with the loss of over $300,000 of investment.
In September 2016, Pastor David Baloy was elected to serve as the Synod Chairman at the 30th biannual Synod Convention.
In October 2016, Pastor David Kamwata and Missionary Daniel Sargent visited the Lutheran Church Mission in Christ in Kenya. This was at the invitation of this church to discuss fellowship issues with this group.
In January 2017, the Synodical Council of the LCCA proposed official discussions with the LCMC in Kenya to reach full fellowship.
Training of Pastors:
The Lutheran Church of Central Africa has two training centers, the Lutheran Bible Institute in Malawi and the Lutheran Seminary in Zambia. These two theological schools are run by both Zambia and Malawi under the Joint Worker Training Board. Candidates for the pastoral ministry are identified from the congregations through a process known as “Theological Education by Extension” (TEE). After the Theological Education by Extension, they are sent to the Lutheran Bible Institute for three years. From there, students are sent to the Lutheran Seminary for another three years. Finally, graduating students are posted for one year to serve as vicars. After this practical year, these students are then ordained as pastors.
Unique customs, traditions, dress, and practices of our church:
The Lutheran Church of Central Africa is a liturgical church. It has maintained its traditional liturgical practice in its worship. It has developed some church practices like camp meetings, Bible study workshops for the youth, youth choirs, and an organised worship service that is uniform throughout the Synod. Congregations will follow the same order of service both in English and local languages. We use the same hymns, follow the church calendar, and participate in all church festivals. Most likely, the congregations celebrate the Holy Communion once per month. We also have a uniform baptism and confirmation instruction program. It is our practice to hold a convention every two years, where we elect synod office bearers. We also have a constitution that guides us in our operations as a synod. The LCCA has continued to use priestly garments like gowns or robes.
The Lutheran Church of Central Africa is asking for your prayers in the areas of spiritual growth, stewardship, ability to raise resources for church construction, and courage for pastors who are serving under extremely difficult conditions.
The church in Africa is growing. The challenge we have is the struggle to put up modern structures. Pension and housing for pastors when they retire is a huge challenge. The church does not have modern technology like websites, etc.
In order to promote and improve rural congregations’ spiritual growth, the LCCA has embarked on “The Rural Empowerment Strategy.” This is where we are trying to help pastors who serve where there is no electricity. We have and are currently sourcing funds from well-wishers, both local and international, to buy solar panels for the rural pastors so that they can have adequate light to study their sermons properly.
The LCCA has organised literacy programs and some home-based care units. The LCCA has helped rural communities with safe drinking water. This is done in collaboration with the Lutheran Missions in Zambia.
Church Body Statistics
Preaching Stations: 5
Seminary Students: 6
Baptized souls: 10,000
Confirmed members: 5,000
Lutheran Church Of Central Africa
P.o. Box 310195, or 310091,
Email David Baloyi