Parkway Place Baptist Church (PPBC) in Little Rock, Arkansas believes that God puts his highest priority on people. They demonstrate that church is dynamic, relevant, and a place where relationships are authentic and real.
When Senior Pastor Allan Greer committed to this mission by joining PPBC in 1996, he made sure that building relationships were a key focus of his ministry. Little did he know that key would eventually unlock a transformational relationship with the nation of Zambia.
As a Purpose Driven (PD) Church, Pastor Allan saw the impact of the five purposes in action — changing hearts one person at a time. In their pursuit of missions, they traveled to Rwanda in 2016 to see the how Saddleback’s partnership with the country multiplied from church to community.
After seeing the fruit in Rwanda, Pastor Allan was introduced to three pastors from Zambia. It was there that they discussed partnership and the possibility of uniting in the same way that Saddleback Church had with Rwanda.
Pastor Allan recalls, “It was as if God said, ‘Here you go, this is where I want you to engage. I’ve readied Parkway for this moment.’ We had no idea what we were getting into other than our ‘yes’ was on the table.”
On behalf of Zambia, Pastor George Mbulo sat in on that first introduction with PPBC in Rwanda. He was part of a group of five church leaders invited to see the ripple effect of PD across Rwanda.
“When Parkway came into the picture, we just clicked,” recalls Pastor George.
From that point forward, Pastor Alan and his team have been consistently traveling to Zambia to teach the eight PD modules. Over the past two years, they’ve witnessed the many tribes of Zambia coming together as one nation and one people—working together with the love of Jesus.
The impact didn’t end with Zambia, however. Each visit for Parkway Church ended with a return home to live out the PD model to a greater degree with intentional missions. This also led to Parkway’s team evolving from pastors to eager volunteers using their SHAPE for ministry.
“They’ve come when I couldn’t,” says Pastor Allan, “which has taught me the lesson that I’m not necessary; it’s whomever God chooses to use in this process.”
No matter who made the journey, Pastor Allan made a conscious effort to approach the training in a posture of guidance, rather than as a group of foreigners with all the answers and financial backing.
“I’ve seen the sacrifice and the love Parkway has for the Lord,” says Zambian Pastor Imasiku Mubuyaeta. “It has ignited something in me.”
Through Parkway’s example, local Zambian pastors have come from all corners of the country to get equipped with PD training. One of those pastors was Emmanuel Mambo who hadn’t recognized the potential of his ministry until he knew what it meant to be a healthy church.
“When you pastor a church, and concentrate on what you know, you may think you are getting it all right,” he admits. “But it’s in moments like these that you actually introspect that you’re behind and aren’t getting certain things right. Every moment with PD has been schooling and an opportunity to learn—to stop looking at our own congregation and examine the nation as a whole.”
Looking at the big picture for Pastor Emmanuel has helped his own church to mature and live out the purposes. Echoing this progress were other local pastors including Aaron Chilunjika who was personally encouraged by the zeal of leaders from all denominations, coming together for the Kingdom.
Marking a major milestone in the PD journey was the January 2018 graduation of 70 Zambian leaders who are now PD Master Trainers. As one pastor stated: “Two decades from now, we can look back at where we began. Perhaps an International Partnering Church like Parkway will come out of Zambia to help another African country.”
Until then, Parkway’s team will continue to equip, encourage, and partner with the Steering Team as they lead Zambian pastors in building healthy churches to transform communities.
“We won’t be here forever,” says Pastor Allan. “Our desire is to continue that process as the one that is out of site but under-guarding and supporting them as they reach their communities. The local church must be the hero.”
Click HERE to view a brief documentary about Parkway’s PD journey with Zambia.