By Lauren Zeugner
WARSAW — Pastor Kondo Simfukwe was born in England, raised in Zambia, attended high school in Australia and came to Winona Lake to attend Grace College. He has lived in the area for 21 years and serves as lead pastor at Mission Point Church.
Mission Point Church has been around for 10 years and Simfukwe was a part of its inception. “As far as the church itself, it was the idea of making a real difference in the life of the people in this community,” Simfukwe said, explaining the mission of the church is to help the hurting, broken and vulnerable.
Simfukwe said he has always had a desire to help people become better versions of themselves. As he did volunteer work in college, it was a gift that was affirmed by those around him. He felt God called him to serve him in a way hard to ignore.
“I love serving a church were the people are sold on serving, to help the broken and vulnerable,” he said. He is excited to serve in a church where people are excited to go out into the streets.
Mission Point Church has about 900 members and it created a structure where members can get to know each other and deepen their relationships with each other.
Asked what he least enjoys about being a minister, Simfukwe said, “I’m not wired administratively, so that’s not a highlight. I’m not a fan of the 80/20 rule, (20% of the people doing 80% of the work).” He also is not a fan of consumerism of the church, “I’m thankful that our church doesn’t tend to lean that way,” he said. “The church is only successful if everyone does their part.”
COVID-19 and the global pandemic has created some challenges. After offering virtual services, Mission Point began meeting once a month outside. “We’re gathering once a month so we can see each other and be together while minimizing the risk,” Simfukwe explained. He hopes by later this fall to have more information about meeting in the church. “We are not just subject to the pandemic, but also the weather,” Simfukwe said.
Offering virtual services, Simfukwe said was challenging, “There is something missing as a church family (when they can’t be together),” he explained.
On a positive note, the virtual services also gave Mission Point an opportunity to reach people who have not darkened a church’s doors before. “We’re also seeing the beauty of that, sharing the joy of Jesus … We’re coming to them,” Simfukwe said.
The pandemic has also decentralized the work the church does in the community. “We’ve asked everyone, surveyed everyone to try and find out their needs and how we can step in to help and then send word to the congregation … It’s been a little more challenging,” Simfukwe said.
Another factor is church leadership being sensitive to church members level of caution. “It’s been a season of innovation,” he said as the church looks to come alongside schools, law enforcement and others. “We’re looking at ways people are affected on the job front, how do we show up practically,” he explained.
And the congregation has shown up even though it is struggling as well in the pandemic.
“The biggest challenge are some of the tensions that have come up during the pandemic,” Simfukwe said. “What has been surprising to me is it’s small things that have caused great tension.”
He’s been pleasantly surprised at how the congregation has leaned in with generosity. “Our folks have asked ‘how can we help.’ It’s been beautiful to see,” he said.
Simfukwe has been married to Melissa for 21 years. The couple have five children, Judah, 16; Jael, 14; Andrise, 11; Jesula, 8 and Jubilee, 5. He and his family have spent a lot of time playing volleyball in the back yard and Simfukwe enjoys watching his older children play sports. Judah enjoys playing basketball while Jael plays volleyball.
He also loves spending times on the trails around Winona Lake, finding time be out on the trails at least once a day. “There’s a wooded section that is a great way to re-center yourself,” he said. In the winter time the family loves playing games like Ping-Pong and card games like Heads Up. Simfukwe said he loves spending time with family.