Why are we mobilising Africans to mission?
Connected to prayer
This article was first featured alongside our Prayer Diary in April 2017. You can download the April 2017 prayer points here or sign-up to receive future editions by post or email.
Tony Swanson has taken on the role of AIM’s African Mobilising Consultant. So how are we seeking to mobilise Africans to mission, and why is it important?
Waking the sleeping army
One of the major challenges for the 21st century is to see the growing church in Africa fulfil its responsibility of taking the gospel to the remaining unreached peoples of Africa and beyond.
So how do we go about it? AIM has traditionally been effective in sending overseas personnel for church planting and pastoral ministry. But whilst our African partner churches have grown locally among their own people groups, they have not readily adopted the missionary vision to go “to the ends of the earth”.
With the number of Christians on the continent increasing daily, there is a move of God’s Spirit to envision this part of the body to take up the baton and go. The AIM Mobilisation Hub is our organisation’s response to this move. It is based on a partnership model, providing services that will help facilitate the mobilisation of African missionaries. The Hub is run by a virtual team, seeking to take into account the many areas of mobilisation that are not yet being addressed.
“We long to see a new focus on cross-cultural mission in local churches…”
Meeting mobilising challenges
One of these key issues is the need to mobilise the whole African church to mission, rather than just scattered individuals. So we are looking to support our church partners, helping them to build that vision into their ministries, as well as developing structures that mean they can send and support missionaries.
For this to work effectively we realise that we need to broaden our horizons and develop our mobilising efforts through partnerships and networks, rather than through a single organisational structure. This will mean that AIM doesn’t necessarily have to do the training, sending or receiving of missionaries. Instead, we can connect potential missionaries with our partners. This approach means that we can better meet people’s needs and incorporate them at any stage of the mobilisation process.
Yohana Pam is a wonderful African missionary from a Nigerian organisation called CAPRO (Calvary Ministries). Together with his family (Cheche, Faithful and David), he has been working in Tanzania for the last ten years, raising awareness concerning the importance of mission. He has a close relationship with AIM, having spent his first two years on a coastal TIMO team in Tanzania. He has also taught at the Institute of Bible and Ministry (www.institute.ipages.biz), accompanying us on our regional seminars as well as preparing African-appropriate materials for churches. His desire to serve the Lord is contagious, and given his Nigerian background he is a walking challenge and advertisement to the African church that the missionary endeavour is not only for Westerners.
A further barrier to cross-cultural mission for the African church has traditionally been the cost. Raising support can be challenging for African missionaries. Therefore, the Hub is designed to be cheaper than the traditional mission agency approach, with individuals and churches working out what reasonable support rates look like without being burdened by large administrative fees. Without a traditional mission agency approach it also means that English is not necessarily a requirement – opening up more opportunities for more people from different backgrounds to get involved in mission!
Our biggest need in the Hub is for Regional Mobilisers on the ground, who will play an important role in implementing the vision. As the Hub develops and grows, our hope is that we will see kingdom change in Africa. We long to see a new focus on cross-cultural mission in local churches and viable opportunities for those Africans God is calling into mission to be able to obey his calling.
Tony & Cath Swanson
Tony is coordinator of the Institute of Bible and Ministry and is African Mobilising Consultant under the International Office. Cath is Child Safety Officer for AIM.Find out more…