“I cannot believe it!” These was the heartfelt expression of a missionary trainer as tears rolled down his face. A moment of realization had sparked a more meaningful understanding as to his own significance living out life in Africa on a day-to-day basis through teaching and mentoring students who would be the next generation of leaders of an emerging national church in Africa. And this is how it happens…one student at a time whose life and ministry makes a difference.
The Assemblies of God in Africa has grown from 2.3 million over the past 20 years to over 18 million adherents. Quite amazing! This exponential growth continues at a tremendous rate. Yet, while celebrating the growth numbers, this reality has created a serious challenge facing our future church planting efforts and the health and sustainability of the existing church.
It has been stated that Christianity in Africa is a mile wide but only an inch deep! In many ways, this is closer to the truth than we would like to admit. The triumphalism that can emerge from growth statistics can keep us from recognizing one of the most critical needs for the foreseeable future across Africa; namely, the need for (1)transformational discipleship and (2) missional leadership development.
This is why Africa’s Hope, the training and educational resource arm of AGWM-Africa is so strategic to our missionary engagement across the continent. While this ministry focuses on providing key educational resources to support leadership development, the most valuable resource by far is the missionary trainer.
Today, we have less missionary trainers in Africa than we did 20 years ago. However, there is a renewed emphasis to increase these numbers in light of the continued growth rates. We believe that Spirit-filled, biblically trained leaders are the hope of Africa. If we can shape spiritually healthy church-leaders, they tend to produce spiritually healthy churches, which results in spiritually healthy impact in local communities (redemptive lift). The need for healthy competent leadership cannot be overstated. The need to raise up indigenous leadership who learn the tools to multiply themselves is one of the greatest points of engagement that we can have today on the continent for the foreseeable future.
So, what can you do? Pray earnestly to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up laborers who have a passion for leadership development. We need a new influx of 50 new missionary trainers in the next five years. Perhaps, you sense this burden, and would like to know more as to the ministry role of a missionary trainer. If so, then the next step is to contact the Africa pipeline. It only takes one step to begin a journey of a life-time!
For more on Africa's Hope check out their website!