Bishop Joe Imakando undeniably represents one of the greatest success stories of Zambia's religious history.
Thousands of Bread of Life church members, the clergy, the Zambian government, the entire nation and beyond celebrated 40 years of Bishop Joe Imakando’s consistency, simplicity integrity, sacrifice, wisdom, hard work and dedication, excellent leadership and fatherly love in the Christian ministry on the 2nd of September 2018.
In attendance was minister of Justice, honourable Given Lubinda, Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs honourable Godfridah Sumaili, Apostle Enock Sitima, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) Executive Director Reverend Pukuta Mwanza, Bishops, Bread of Life Chief Elder H. Banda, Council of Elders, Reverends, pastors and distinguished invited guests.
MANY PEOPLE ASK WHAT MAKES Bishop Joseph Imakando tick in Christian ministry?
CONSISTENCY - Bishop Joe Imakando has been consistently doing one thing for 40 years, Preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. He has never jumped from one thing to another. He is a Focused Leader.
SIMPLICITY - Bishop Joe Imakando's messages are simple and straightforward. You don't need to sit with an Oxford Dictionary to understand Bishop Imakando's messages. You just need your brains and an open heart. He doesn't preach to impress, he simply delivers the word that touches all classes of people at the same time. Bishop Imakando's life is not a complicated life, so is his ministry. It is a life very easy to follow.
WISDOM - This rare virtue is what has by God's grace helped Bishop Imakando raise a small former Baptist Congregation into one of Zambia's biggest evangelical denominations. Bishop Imakando let's the people own the vision and let's them run the vision. He leads with the people. He has put transparent structures in place within the denomination to which even himself as founder and bishop is also accountable to. He avoids assuming "the alpha and omega" status in the denomination that he founded. He is just focused on the job - doing God's work.
Speaking during Bishop Imakando’s 40 year celebrations, honourable minister of Justice Given Lubinda alluded to the fact that Bishop Imakando has been outstanding, a source of hope and inspiration, a selfless leader and servant of God who has relentlessly dedicated his life to serving God in this nation and beyond.
Bread of Life Church International (BLCI) was born from a prophetic word on 13th September 1992 from a small Baptist Church with 120 members, to now over 10,000 members with 137 local churches in Zambia and 14 international churches.
Bishop Imakando has established centers of blessings that takes care of the spiritual, physical, social, academic and health needs of society. The Blessing Center in Emmasdale offers education such as the Bread of Life School, Blessing University of Excellence, Clinic, Banking Hall (rented by Cavmont), Cafeteria, Bookshop, Home Based Care for the vulnerable, Girl Child programmes, hosts the widely watched Hour of Blessings television programme just to mention a few.
The minister quoted Joshua 13: 1 and energized Bishop for another 40years, that there is so much to take over just like the theme for Bread Life Church for 2018 - The Year of Taking Over.
And Chief elder for Bread of Life Church Elder Banda, stated that Bishop Joe Imakando is a man of Integrity who willingly accepted the call of God. The chief elder mentioned that despite the 40years not being rosy, as he had to sacrifice personal comfort for the sake of the vision, the bishop kept having faith in God.
The chief elder thanked Bishop Imakando for being a servant leader and proving a safe environment for the church by being a role model of success. The future plans for Bread of Life is to build the Blessing City that will help reduce accommodation, health and education challenges.
Chief elder Banda also thanked Reverend Bernadette Imakando for being such an unquestionable support to the bishop.
Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs honourable Godfridah Sumaili also thanked Bishop Imakando for being such a valuable asset in the nation by standing in the gap praying for mother Zambia.
And Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Reverend Pukuta Mwanza, on behalf of EFZ and all the Christian mother bodies congratulated Bishop Imakando on the memorable and important day in the body of Christ. Reverend Mwanza added that Bishop Imakando has made us proud of how God has used him in the four decades of unbroken service in God’s vineyard.
'Bishop Imakando is focused in the calling, dedicated in the service and has been consistent on emphasizing the scripture, uncompromising in character, preaching with clarity and rare wisdom, depicting personal relationship with the Lord.
The bishop has shown simplicity to everyone which is an attribute of servant hood. He teaches what is right in terms of doctrine through a widely watched television programme called the Hour of Blessing. The programme reaches everyone who have testified of prospered job, restored marriages, souls being saved and businesses growing, all this is on the teachings of the cross. People do not need to go far because the bishop is around to learn from.'
Bishop Imakando has made tremendous contribution to body of Christ in particular the EFZ of which he was the Chief Executive Officer and past board chairman.
Reverend Mwanza added that non Zambian authors in the circular have written a history publication entitled, ‘One Zambia, Many Histories – Towards the history of Post Colonial Zambia’. In this regard, this is the right time to write an official biography on Bishop Joe Imakando.
The publication states that, ‘Bishop Joe Imakando is an influential charismatic leader of Zambia’.
In a recorded video interview Bishop Joe Imakando narrated how he answered the call of God to minister in 1976. Thereafter he attended the Bible College in Kenya and the United Kingdom. He served as Baptist Church Pastor for 9 years; thereafter he resigned to serve on the wider body of Christ as Executive Director for Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), an umbrella body that unites Pentecostal and Evangelical churches in Zambia. In 2010, Bishop Imakando was elected President of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), an organization that has 10 Southern African countries affiliated to it.
In 1990, Bishop Imakando had an encounter with God that transformed his life; the change was evidenced in his preaching and ministrations of God's word. In August 1992, while in Lagos Nigeria God gave him a vision that led to the birth of Bread of life Church International.
The prophetic word “I am giving you thousands, you will possess the land and feed the people with the Bread of life” was later transformed to “Bringing thousands into the Kingdom” which was in line with the vision of the church.
However, the vision has now been transformed to 'Bringing Tens of Thousands into the Kingdom'.
And the biological children of Bishop Joe and Reverend Bernadette Imakando - Caleb, Phillip, Benjamin, Jonathan have also appreciated their dad for teaching them how to pray, read the Bible, win souls to the Lord and for being a practical example on and off the pulpit. Bishop Imakando’s eldest son Caleb on behalf of his brothers appreciated their father for loving them despite his busy schedules, providing for them, being available to them and sending them to good schools. Caleb also appreciated their mother Reverend Bernadette for being a prayer warrior at all times.
The celebrations took place at the Blessing Centre in Emmasdale where a cake and various gifts were presented to Bishop and Reverend Imakando. Prayers were also offered by one the guest speaker of the 2018 Word Explosion Conference, Enock Sitima.
Congratulatory messages came from across the nation and beyond on Bishop Joe Imakando’s 40 years in ministry.
Bread of Life family, Sunday school and Youth ministries were also part of the memorable celebrations.
To God be the glory!