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Our History

CAPA had its official start in 2014, but its roots go further back to the planting of International Bible Fellowship Church (IBF Church) in 2007. Brian Biedebach, from Grace Community Church (Los Angeles, CA), was called as the congregation’s first pastor. As a Grace missionary and graduate of The Master’s Seminary, he had (and still has) a deep love for Expository Preaching and the local church. But no institution within the country was providing this type of training for faithful pastoral ministry. Through connections with Grace Church and The Master’s Academy International (TMAI), Brian invited Jim Ayres (also a Grace Church missionary and TMS graduate) to come to Malawi and serve as President of this new school: Central African Preaching Academy.

Their first intake of students was at the Diploma level, and soon they added a Master’s of Divinity degree. As the number of students grew, CAPA was recruiting other qualified men to round out the faculty and bringing on administrative staff to handle operations. At its height, CAPA was offering formal training at various levels (Diploma, Bachelor’s, and M.Div.). For a few years the school rented space at a teacher training college in Lilongwe, and eventually moved to renting in a residential neighborhood.

CAPA started to pursue registration and accreditation with the newly formed National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), which oversees tertiary education in Malawi. CAPA formally came under the oversight of IBF Church in 2015 and together they purchased land with plans to develop the property for joint use by the church and CAPA. In 2020, COVID forced the closure of all schools in Malawi, and several of the missionary leadership and faculty at CAPA had to leave Malawi for several months. With much of the leadership and faculty out of the country, formal training came to a stop. When the missionaries could return to Malawi and the government allowed schools to reopen in early 2021, CAPA reopened to complete the previous academic year and held a graduation of Diploma and MDiv students in April 2021.

Though it was not foreseen or planned, the Lord used 2020-2021 as a period of significant transition in the leadership and faculty of the school- leading men to new places of ministry within Malawi and around the world. We are extremely grateful for these men and their time of service at CAPA. With a small staff remaining, the decision was made to keep the school in existence but not admit students until a fresh start could be made.

That fresh start came in June of 2022, when men from IBF Church, Reformation Bible Church, and Grace Bible Church came together to talk about the future of CAPA. The pastors of these like-minded churches in Lilongwe were trained at TMAI schools (Christ Seminary in South Africa and CAPA in Malawi) and they were eager to see training at CAPA recommence. CAPA had a small staff and a building recently completed- why not start with something small? They planned a series of one-day pastoral workshops, reaching out to CAPA alumni and the broader Lilongwe community. These were quite well-attended and the encouraging response prompted more serious discussions. “We know there is a huge need for good training. Men are seeking it out here at CAPA. We can continue offering informal training, but should we consider moving towards formal training in the near future?” As this group of pastors continued to meet together, deepening friendships and dreaming about the future of the church in Malawi, the team came together on some resolutions:

  • Deeper commitment to partnership between our churches
  • Taking responsibility for the leadership and direction of CAPA
  • Expanding CAPA’s informal training schedule moving forward
  • Strengthening communication with TMAI and potential partners
  • Pursue registration with NCHE for formal training in the future

With a team in place, unity of purpose, and the support of TMAI, 2023 was very busy. We hosted multiple conferences, modules, and workshops. Part of the team attended Shepherds’ Conference in Los Angeles (March), the TMAI Africa Summit in Uganda (August), and visited like-minded schools in Zambia (September). We took the first step towards reopening formal training by applying for Provisional Registration with NCHE (which was granted in late September- we thank the Lord!). Now into 2024, by God’s grace, we continue to push forward.

To find out more about the big-picture of what is happening currently and what is in the works, go ahead and continue reading about our Future Plans page. For more specific updates on training and resourcing, jump over to our Updates

PARTNERSHIP WITH TMAI

CAPA is a member school of The Master’s Academy International (TMAI), a ministry of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, CA. It started in 2004 with the purpose of establishing and supporting pastoral training centers around the world. CAPA was founded in 2014 by missionaries from Grace Community Church, which provided a natural connection and partnership with the ministry of TMAI.
What exactly does this mean?

  • Leadership in Purpose and Mission
  • Oversight and Accountability for Administration and Finance
  • Connection with partners for prayer and financial support
  • Grants for both operations and special projects
  • Professional Development and Recruiting
  • Established academic standards
  • Connection with other training centers

We are incredibly grateful for our ongoing partnership with TMAI. Please visit tmai.org to learn more about this wonderful ministry.

Meet Our Team

Administrative Leadership
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Kellen Hiroto
President
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Chisomo Goddia
Business Director
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Thabani Makombe
Director of Finance
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Dalitso Mndala
IT/Facilities Director
Faculty Members
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Kondi Nyanda
Pastor, Grace Bible Church, Lilongwe
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Emmanuel Mpeni
Pastor, Reformation Bible Church, Lilongwe
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Newton Chilingulo
Pastor, Reformation Bible Church, Lilongwe
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Ernest Kanzangaza
Pastor, IBF Church, Lilongwe