God is at work in a very significant way building his church in Africa to become an example of a mission giving community. This was the shared sense of conviction and commitment that characterized the two-day consultation on the Missions Africa Trust Fund (MATF) held from 29-30 October 2014 at the Hephzibah Christian Guest House near Accra, Ghana.
Fifteen African church, mission, and business leaders mainly from Ghana, but also Nigeria, South Africa, and the UK ended an engaging and memorable consultative meeting. Chaired by Rev Steve Asante (former president of the Ghana Baptist Convention) and attended by Mr Ram Gidoomal (Chairman of the Lausanne Movement Board of Directors), the consultation ended with a clear strategy to launch MATF as an indigenous pan-African mission giving initiative in 2015. This is in response to the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization and The Cape Town Commitment that offers a mission mobilizing framework for the global church.
Consultation participants raised seed capital to establish MATF, including through a business lunch organized by the Ghana branch of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI). This helped to launch MATF in the Ghana Christian business community. MATF greatly appreciates this support and looks forward to collaborate with FGBMFI and other Christian networks in the future.
During the consultation devotions, Rev Steve Asante explained how giving is a conversation with heaven, while Rev Dr Duro Ayanrinola (General Secretary of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship) called the leaders of MATF to make giving a part of biblical discipleship in Africa. Dr Sas Conradie reported that the results of the African Mission Giving Survey indicate much support for MATF. Rev Gideon Para-Mallam (Regional Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in English and Portuguese-speaking Africa, IFES-EPSA), gave an overview of Africa’s increasing prominence in the global mission movement. Mr Patrick Kuwana (Unashamedly Ethical and Crossover Transformation) explained the potential role of MATF in catalysing wealth structures in Africa to fund God’s kingdom.
The strategic importance and potential of the church in Africa to contribute to the global church in both ‘missionary sending’ and ‘mission giving’ should receive high priority in discussions on the future of global mission. The leaders who met for the MATF consultation therefore approved the following strategy to launch the Missions Africa Trust Fund:
- Identity: MATF is a mission giving initiative of the Lausanne Movement from Africa, indigenously inspired, led, and owned by the church, mission, and marketplace leaders in Africa.
- Vision: To transform the church in Africa to be a more effective mission giving and mission sending continent in the 21st century and beyond.
- Mission: To give leadership for identifying, mobilizing, and multiplying resources from Africa and working with partners to support strategic transformational, societal mission initiatives in Africa and globally.
- Aims and objectives: To mobilize and distribute financial resources in Africa for mission initiatives in and from Africa; facilitate kingdom-focused wealth creation in Africa; envision and equip the African church in mission giving; and catalyse a sustainable mission giving culture in Africa.
- A leadership structure with Rev Gideon Para-Mallam as Chairperson of the MATF Executive Coordination Team and Leadership Group as well as country teams in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Afric,a and possibly Burundi or Cote d’Ivoire.
- The launch of MATF in Ghana from January to March 2015, in Nigeria from April to June 2015, South Africa from July to September 2015, and in Kenya from October to December 2015.
Consultation participants left with a renewed passion to make the Missions Africa Trust Fund a reality. This desire is summarised by Rev Dr Duro Ayanrinola: ‘Dear all, It was wonderful to be a part of the initiative that God is putting together to “liberate” his church from dependency syndrome in the 21st century. I have the conviction in my heart that this is what God wants us to do at this time and we must give our best to make it work. My coming to MATF Ghana was an eye-opener and I have learnt something reproducible for AABF.’ Kenyan-born Mr Ram Gidoomal said, ‘This is an unprecedented development in the developing world, to see indigenous leaders committing to reverse the mindset of entitlement to foreign-based funding and drive the new agenda for indigenous funding. I therefore truly believe that what took place in Ghana is a huge step to see Africa overcome the spirit of entitlement and dependency (all part of the stronghold of poverty) that has plagued this continent and stopped it from moving forward into its God-given end-time destiny.’
African leaders affirmed again that it is time for the church in Africa to take a leadership responsibility for mission and mission giving. They committed themselves to raise at least $200,000 in 2015 in Africa as seed capital for MATF. For this to happen, the MATF leaders need much prayer. Just before the consultation, the father of the MATF CEO passed away, which meant she could not attend the event. Everyone involved in the Missions Africa Trust Fund realizes his or her total dependence on God. Praise God that his strength is fulfilled in our weakness! To God be all the glory!
For more information on the Missions Africa Trust Fund and to partner in this exciting initiative, contact Rosalyn Darkwa at [email protected], Sas Conradie at [email protected], or Nana Yaw Offei Awuku at [email protected]. The following presentations and results from the Ghana consultation are now available:
- African Mission Giving Survey Results
- Mobilizing Kingdom Resources for Kingdom Mission in Africa
- Can This Happen in Nigeria?
- State of the Gospel and Global Mission Giving Trends with a Specific Focus on Africa
Nana Yaw Offei Awuku is the Lausanne International Deputy Director for English, Portuguese, and Spanish-speaking Africa (EPSA). This report has been prepared on behalf of the Missions Africa Trust Fund Executive Coordination Team and Leadership Group.