Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Missionaries from Africa vs Missionaries to Africa

The Global South church is beginning to take its' sacred responsibility of world mission. Even African churches are realizing their role in establishing the kingdom of God. No longer are they just a receiving nations of missionaries, but they are going out - being send out as missionaries. The author of this article has brought forth many pertinent factors. To read the ENTIRE article please click the link. (Its a pdf file)

Out of Africa

Duncan Olumbe

The “Sleeping Giant” Wakes Up

Over the last three decades, there has been a noticeable increase of Africans in mission. Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya (among others) have sent out more missionaries. While such a significant increase could be related to the shift of the center of Christianity from the global North to the global South, there are several salient factors which have led to this. One such factor is an increase in mission mobilization efforts across Africa.

For quite a while, Christian ministry in Africa was left for those who had seemingly failed in academics. This was fuelled by the fact that during and immediately after independence, most educated Africans got good employment through their governments. Christian ministry, mission in particular, was therefore not considered economically rewarding for the learned African. As a result, the African church and mission leadership had compromised standards. It was not easy to mobilize educated African Christians into Christian ministry. Thankfully, the last few decades have seen a gradual change due to the courage and tenacity of a few leading African scholars who dared into often despised Christian ministry. We therefore now have more educated Africans in church and mission leadership. Mission mobilization is no longer restricted to the failures; we are now able to target the educated youth and professionals.

Another factor is the changing attitude toward and understanding of mission. Previously, many African Christians viewed mission as only for western missionaries. Partly, this was due to the poor transfer of mission vision from the early missionaries to the emerging African Church. Also, it was perhaps due to the prevailing notion that only westerners were referred to as “missionaries,” and the perception that mission work required vast resources which only our western brothers and sisters could afford. Furthermore, it has been observed that a number of Bible Schools in Africa omitted mission in their curriculum and therefore produced many African church leaders who did not give mission its rightful priority in church life.

The global village phenomenon has also considerably contributed to increased mission awareness and mobilization. With the electronic mass media, African Christians (even those in remote villages) are able to hear, watch and read of what God is doing in other parts of the world. Easier communication has increased exchange of ideas and strategies for better mission mobilization. Testimonies of amazing mission mobilization in countries like US, India and Brazil have inevitably woken up the so-called “sleeping giant” African Church into action.

In fact, increased mission mobilization in Africa is such that the current challenge is not necessarily lack of people willing to be missionaries, but rather how to handle the overwhelming response to mission! Too often, numbers outstrip available opportunities and organizations. Many such committed African Christians end up frustrated and gradually lose their passion for mission.

Click here to read the entire article.

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