Dr. Filimao Chambo (FC), recently elected General Superintendent, sat down with Holiness Today for Ten Questions. This new HT column will allow us to briefly have conversations with leaders in our denomination where they answer five serious and five more light-hearted questions.
Question 1 (HT): What are you feeling after being elected to this position at the most recent General Assembly?
FC: This is a humbling experience for me. I know that expectations are high, and I see a big part of my role as that of a partner with the global Church in learning. I want to hear the global voice of the Church and to assist the Church in listening to and interacting with one another. I feel that the time I will spend in many district assemblies and ordination services will be exciting and will help me to listen further and discern with the Church regarding our mission.
Question 2 (HT): What are your thoughts regarding your transition from regional leadership (as regional director for Africa) to this global assignment as general superintendent?
FC: Of course, at first I asked myself, “What have I done?” [Laughs] But seriously, I think the biggest challenge will be moving from a place of comfort, which for me has been my home on the Africa region, to a ministry that engages the global voices of the Church more intentionally. Though this is out of my comfort zone, I believe the overall goal is the same: to assist people in walking in the way of holiness, to discern and convey the message of God, and expand our vision as the Church.
Question 3 (HT): The General Assembly elected two generals with PhDs this year. That has not happened before. How have your educational pursuits, including a PhD in biblical studies, prepared you for this role?
FC: It has prepared me not just in the realm of accumulating knowledge, but mainly regarding the importance of dialogue. The heart of education involves learning how to dialogue outside of areas of familiarity, and I hope that my educational pursuits have taught me that, and I hope to lead in that fashion. Also, the best education emphasizes lifelong learning, and I hope to model this in my role.
Question 4 (HT): What consistent message do you hope to give to pastors and other leaders in the Church?
FC: First of all, I believe the biggest need in our world is hope. We are people of hope – hope rooted in Jesus Christ, and we should continually convey this hope through our message and ministries. Secondly, I think we must always remember that we are a global church and that we should, therefore, make sure that our local congregations keep the global vision of the Church in mind.
Question 5 (HT): Several current and formal general superintendents have called this current Board of General Superintendents the “most diverse.” What are your reflections on this?
FC: I am proud of this step that our Church has taken, and I feel it is an example of the Holy Spirit leading the Church to make a statement that we truly are a global Church. Perhaps this can be a witness to the Church and of course to those who are skeptical about the Church’s views regarding diversity that we can be committed in both words and in action to expressing the diversity that God has placed in His Church.
Question 6 (HT): What is your favorite music?
FC: I love traditional African music, including African gospel music. I also have a strong appreciation for non-African Christian music artists like Michael W. Smith.
Question 7 (HT): Do you play any instruments?
FC: I actually play the guitar, but I think my kids are more musical than I am.
Question 8 (HT): Will you continue to live in Africa?
FC: My family and I, after much prayer, have decided to move to Kansas to be near the GMC. I have a daughter who will soon start at Olivet Nazarene University, my wife is pursuing PhD studies in Manchester (England), and I will be traveling quite often in this new role. As a G.S., I am required to be in attendance at the Global Ministry Center for our quarterly meetings. As we weighed all of this, we felt that being near the GMC would be best for our family, though we will miss family and friends in Africa.
Question 9 (HT): What are your hobbies?
FC: I love hiking and camping. I also cook! I learned to cook by watching and helping my mother when I was a child. My wife and I both love reading, as well. We read books together sometimes, mostly books on theology.
Question 10 (HT): Are there authors that stand out as favorites?
FC: I love the work of N.T. Wright, especially since he is both a pastor and a scholar. I aspire to the model he gives as an overseer who also writes and teaches in a way that demonstrates theological training and insight. Two other writers I particularly admire are Dennis Kinlaw and Walter Brueggemann.
Coming in January/February: Ten Questions with Dr. Carla Sunberg.
Holiness Today, Nov/Dec 2017