ZEMA’s Unusual Mission in Africa

ZION, IL – ZEMA is the acronym for the Zion Evangelical Ministries of Africa. Based, somewhat ironically in Zion, Illinois, ZEMA ministers primarily to the Zionists of independent African churches.

The Zion Evangelical Ministries of Africa (ZEMA) ministers primarily to the Zionists of independent African churches.
African Zionists Photo by Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This would probably be an appropriate time to explain African Zionism. This requires setting aside any preconceived notions of the popular usage of Zionism related to the nation of Israel. African Zionism is in no discernable way related to the political Zionism that was the driving force for creating a homeland for the Jewish people in 1948.

African Zionism is a syncretic combination of teachings that originated with the infusion – and resultant confusion – of some Christian practices within indigenous tribal cultures, customs, and beliefs.

With an estimated 15 to 18 million adherents, African Zionism has become the largest religious movement across Sub-Saharan Africa. It is also likely the largest religious movement of which Western Christians have never heard.

The vast majority of African Zionists live in rural communities.

ZEMA’s ministry is based on their observations that a great number of Zionists have a desire to study and follow the Bible. ZEMA’s mission is to bring the clarity of the Gospel to those who have been misinformed and misled.

Working primarily in Swaziland and South Africa, ZEMA has succeeded in establishing 87 Bible schools and colleges across the region since 1996.

ZEMA hopes to raise up an entirely new generation of Bible-believers who will not only have a solid Biblical foundation and understanding, but also who are equipped to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, are able to reach and encourage others in the faith once delivered, and to are prepared to assume leadership positions within local churches and Bible school.

The Bible schools and colleges offer a solid curriculum of courses designed to accomplish that purpose, including

  • Old Testament and New Testament Survey
  • Preaching and Pastoral Ministry
  • Principles of Church Administration
  • Systematic Theology
  • Missions, Evangelism, and Ministry
  • Exegesis and Hermeneutics
  • Religious Literacy: World Religions
  • Biblical Studies Chronologically
  • Sunday School Essentials
  • HIV/AIDS Awareness And Prevention

Zion Evangelical Ministries of Africa has targeted a highly-specific group of people located in contiguous regions. The need may not be generally well-known, but it is, nonetheless, great.

There are approximately 2,400 students enrolled in ZEMA’s Bible schools who desire to know God intimately and to make Him known among the millions of Zionists in Africa.


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