The present situation The ELCZ comprises 3 dioceses namely Eastern diocese, Central Diocese and Western Diocese with a total population of 210,000 members. The Eastern Diocese is headed by Bishop C. Faindi and has its center in the city of Harare, the Central Diocese is headed by Bishop K. Sibanda and has its center in the town of Zvishavane and the Western diocese is headed by Bishop M.Dube and has its center in the city of Bulawayo. Bishop C. Faindi is the Presiding Bishop heading the entire church in Zimbabwe as of 1 January 2016. Each of the dioceses has two Deans. The 3 dioceses are made up of 67 parishes, with each parish made up of approximately 300 congregants (at any time there are preaching points in the process of becoming congregations). These parishes are served by 54 pastors and each parish is made up of 4-16 congregations.
The Church has been very active in new mission areas and new parishes and congregations have been established over the last few years, although there is a shortage of trained pastors and deacons. As a result of these shortages, the Church has embarked on a vigorous Ministerial Training programme. It is hoped that when these cadres graduate the Church will be able to send several pastors to places that are desperately in need. Currently, the Church depends very much on lay people to do most of the teaching of confirmation/catechumen classes, preaching and the work of a pastor except the administration of sacraments. The shortage of pastors is so grave that there are congregations that get a pastor’s visit only once or so in 6 months.
The problem is not just the shortage of members presenting themselves for training, but the Church is not able to afford the training. Several of the pastors who are currently in the service are actually on retired and on pension, but have been requested to continue until it has been possible to find replacements for them. In other words, the Church has a critical shortage of pastors.
The Church’s evangelism program has been successful in spreading the gospel of Salvation, with the program running under the national Diakonia Evangelism Stewardship Board (DESB) and Diocesan DESBs. At national level, DESB is coordinated by a coordinator based at the Church’s Head Office while DESB at diocesan level is coordinated by appointed pastors. The result of the evangelism initiatives has been the opening up of new mission areas, thus creating new demand for more pastors as more people come to Christ. The Church also runs a number of institutions e.g. educational institutions (Mnene primary school (boarding), West Nicholson, Burure and Beitbridge primary schools, Mnene, Sumbe, secondary schools, Manama, Masase, Chegato and Zezani high schools, Manama, Masvingo Bible schools and other institutions and /or centers such as schools for the visually impaired, the deaf and dumb at Beitbridge, Manama, Chegato and Masvingo missions. There are also Njube Youth Centre, Vashandiri (church women) Study Centre and Mnene farm, which are to an extent the Church’s business units. In addition there is a Lutheran Development Services (LDS) program which in the development arm of the Church as well as a registered Non Governmental Organisation operating under the Non Governmental Organisations Act.