The Association of Evangelicals in Africa marked its Jubilee by holding a continental theological consultation from the 16-20 November, 2016 at the Kenya School of Law in Nairobi, Kenya. The consultation brought together key Christian leaders, from Africa and beyond, to provide strategic framework for the AEA and reaffirm the future role of the association towards building the Africa that God wants.
The gathering was graced by renowned African theologians and leaders whose presentations left a lasting impression on many of the delegates. Here’s some of the testimonials from delegates:
“The speakers were thought provoking. I liked the responses as they created a great balance and at some times, like Dr. Desta’s paper and Dr. John Jusu, an eliciting debate from delegates on Theological Education in Africa.”
“So many ideas to grasp. The deconstruction of Biblical world view by Prof. Tite Tienou and Dr. Nupanga was a joy to watch! I hope AEA will hold more of such consultations across Africa over the coming years.”
“I liked the group discussions, they were lively and delegates can say they made a telling contribution in developing the key resolutions at the end of the consultation.”
“AEA and ACTEA Thanksgiving Sunday brought a tear to my eyes. The dancing, joy and recognition of past men and women who served the body of Christ diligently over the past 50 years was heart-warming.”
“This was one of the best conferences I have attended- It focused on topics that were a reflection of the African reality and relevant to Africans at all levels.”
One of the emerging themes of the consultation was a call to promote the work of African writers, with most presenters pointing out most writers from the continent have ideas that are practical, innovative and share common values. The AEA General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Aiah Foday-Khabenje’s monograph- Leading in Diversity -was highlighted as a key resource for readers in Africa, as its research findings were centred on National Evangelical Associations in Africa.
The Key note address during consultation was made by AEA President, Dr. Goodwill Shana. He emphasized the important role of the Church in impacting the transformation of the nations where it is present and strongest. “The church needs to change its definition of Christian ministry and service to include ministry and service in areas beyond the church or pulpit or preaching. Every Christian is then a minister of the gospel in their sphere of activity, vocation or influence.”
He also highlighted the dilemma and enigma which the Evangelical Church is grappled with, as it reflects on its inability to; be the salt and light, champion the cause of good governance, be the voice of the excluded, the marginalised and the disempowered and model what Africa needs – which is unity and good governance and positive transformation. “The church itself often suffers from poor governance, disunity, power struggles, poor social impact yet still calls upon politicians and other stakeholders to manifest or exemplify the virtues of good governance unity and transformative impact on society,” he added.
The AEA Board Chair, Rev. Dr. Mario Li Hing, speaking on the role of National and Continental Evangelical associations said AEA’s raison d’être is the mission of the Church – the Great Commandment and the Great Commission in view of the Great Celebration: making disciples of all nations and teaching them to obey everything Christ has commanded. He spoke about the Church’s power of Prayer, Truth, Example and Unity. He however noted that Christianity in Africa is becoming an enterprise which is preoccupied with methodologies, with strategies, and is largely mechanical. He acknowledged the need for strategies, structures and systems, but stressed that God’s methods, first and foremost, are accomplished through people.
We will continue to share papers and presentations made at the AEA Theological Consultation over the next few months and plan to publish these as a key outcome document for posterity.