The Story of ACU
Since the 1980s Christ has been building a church planting movement in Zambia initially through the ministry of Lusaka Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Joe Simfukwe. The first generation of Believers solidified under the Reformed Baptist Churches of Zambia predominantly through the developing leadership of Pastors Conrad Mbewe and Ronald Kalifungwa.
“A Christian higher education in all of the humanities and sciences including a Seminary and a highly practical component through a student labor program.”
During the 2000s this young Reformed Baptist movement in Zambia began developing elementary education endeavors from a Biblical worldview. In 2006 a missionary, Dr. Ken Turnbull, moved from the USA to the neighboring country of Mozambique for church planting work. He had left a tenured position as an Organic Chemistry Professor at the University of Arkansas with his wife and five children, and while learning the culture and language in Mozambique began formulating a vision for higher education from a Biblical worldview in Africa throughout 2007-2008. This became a vision for African Christian University (ACU) – a Christian higher education in all of the humanities and sciences including a Seminary and a highly practical component through a student labor program.
“By December, 2008 these separate visions were combined”
Near the same time, Mr. John Chundu, a banker and member of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia, approached his pastor, Dr. Conrad Mbewe, with a vision for a student outreach ministry through university preparatory courses (called “A-levels”). By December, 2008 these separate visions were combined in the Lord’s providence through a meeting between the elders of four Reformed Baptist Churches in Lusaka and Dr. Turnbull. It was at this meeting that the vision was agreed upon for starting ACU under the authority of the Reformed Baptist Church Association of Zambia (REBCAZ, Chaired by Pr. Ronald Kalifungwa).
Since 2009 a Board presently chaired by John Chundu was set up in Lusaka to direct ACU’s development, and non-profit organizations were established in the United States (Chaired by Pr. Dan Pentimone) and in South Africa (Chaired by Pr. Irving Steggles) to help support the ACU work.
“ACU’s initial academic program, the Scholars Programme, is slated for January, 2016.”
In 2013 Dr. Conrad Mbewe was appointed as the first Chancellor, and Dr. Ken Turnbull as the Vice-Chancellor. In 2015 Dr. Voddie Baucham accepted the position of Dean of the ACU Seminary. In 2015 the establishment of a non-profit support organization in the UK was also initiated (Chaired by Pr. Barry King). ACU’s initial academic program, the Scholars Programme, began in March, 2016.