Since 1971 the West Africa Advanced School of Theology has been training leaders for the African church. One of the most impressive aspects of the WAAST legacy is the reach of its impact during its 46 year history. Over the years, as the school grew and its programs developed, a WAAST education became accessible to a growing number of students from a growing number of countries. Today students come from over 20 nations, mostly from the West and Central Africa regions, many of them serving at levels of strategic influence and many of them serving beyond the borders of their own homeland. But as impressive as that reach may seem, one of the greatest needs at WAAST is to expand the reach of the school to meet the current challenges facing the African church.
If the African church is going to meet the challenge of reaching the unreached, we not only need to increase the number of leaders being trained, we need to increase the impact of that training. WAAST needs to be a catalyst to influence a generation of leaders that will reach farther, deeper and wider than ever before with the gospel. That means fanning into flame a passion for God’s mission among our students whether it is to reach one of the 867 unreached people groups of sub-Saharan Africa or to reach the children and youth among the many rapidly growing population centers across the continent.
So what steps can be taken today to move us toward that goal? The answer to that question starts with some pretty basic things. Getting ready to expand the reach will require building up infrastructure at the WAAST campus – from increasing student housing, to updating our internet capabilities, to better equipping our classrooms for optimal learning.
Equally important is the need to build up the WAAST team. This includes in service training for WAAST staff and faculty as well as the need for more qualified educators and administrators to serve at the main campus and at the many extension sites in West and Central Africa.
These are goals that will require a sustained and focused effort in the coming years. It will take a commitment of resources, hard work and prayer. It will take strategic partnerships and the work of the Holy Spirit to call others with a passion for training and equipping the African church to meet the needs of a changing continent. But we believe that the effort and sacrifice will be worth it. As we increase the capacity of our physical and human resources on campus, we will be better equipped to expand the reach of our impact on the African continent, and the African church will be better equipped to expand its reach to the unreached.