India’s Mahatma Gandhi once said you have to be the change that you want to see.
I was thinking of that life nugget last week when I attended the three-day annual Council of African Apostles that was held in Harare.
The Council of African Apostles, an initiative for collaboration between church leaders in Africa, has taken it upon itself to raise a brand of leaders that would collectively bring to the fore African issues. And also to look at ways of providing solutions to deal with African challenges.
With the first meeting in Harare 10 years ago having drawn 43 leaders from 23 countries this year a milestone was reached through the launch of the 20-year strategic plan.
I had an opportunity to learn from various apostles who were in attendance that came from Nigeria, Burundi, Zambia and Sierra Leone, among other nations. Below are words from the various apostles who spoke on issues affecting Africa.
Shingi Munyeza –
of Zimbabwe president
I see it that we probably are suffering from a whole lot of barrage of phenomena that have happened in the recent past.
One of them being that globalisation has finally hit us. This has a huge impact on our values or value propositions from a biblical perspective. All of sudden we are now exposed to all perversions coming from elsewhere in the world.
The church just has to step up its discipleship models and make sure that its doctrinal propositions are very clear all the time.
The other aspect is bread and butter issues that have caused people to be survivalistic such that instead of living through their values people are bound to choose whatever works for them for that particular season.
So the church’s perspective is to ensure that we go back to the Apostles’ creed, and say this is what the word of God calls us to do.
Dr Goodwill Shana –
Association of Evangelicals
in Africa vice-president
The CAA is a place of introspection and paradigm shift and we are grappling with those. For instance, the immense spiritual and human resource that the church is to Africa yet does not always translate to social transformation on the ground.
So it is important from an apostolic and an African point of view to rediscover the church’s mandate in changing times as well because it is possible that the church may have been left behind in some paradigms and we may need to catch up in a changing world.
On a continental level, several interventions occurred with Sudan, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Mali and even with Nigeria. However, those interventions always had to take cognisance of the political and governmental activities on the ground.
Bishop Mike Kariuki –
Deliverance Church of Kenya
This body is going to grow and influence many others so that even if we don’t sing the same song at least there will be that unity in the doctrine on the ministry of the word. So that the church can be seen as producing that which is bringing in moral change in the society.
In Kenya we have been hit hard by terrorism and we came to understand the plans of Al Shabaab. Al Shabaab would want us to believe that it is a religious war so that it becomes Christians versus Moslems.
Once we understood that’s what they want, we decided to work with the Moslems in Kenya. We have put it in their mind that it’s not a religious war but a battle against terrorism. By doing that we are able to get them exposed.
Joey Makando – Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia president
The important thing is that if you can change the leaders then you can change the people. So the emphasis that we started with is for ourselves to be able to understand the issues of Africa. And when we understand those issues then we can prescribe solutions.
Last year one of the things we did is we looked at doctrine because sometimes what people believe influences the way they believe.
About two years ago at the AU there was a presentation by the secretary-general of the United Nations on the issue of homosexuality and we took it upon ourselves as CAA to write to the AU and express our concerns.
In that letter we pointed out our stand that it’s a sin and that in Africa we don’t tolerate it. Shortly after that in Zambia we received a letter from one of the embassies and we were told that as we formulate our new constitution we must also take into consideration minority rights.
And when we looked at the letter it talked about the same gay agenda. But we were able to write as EFZ our response based on the response of the CAA.
Bishop Tudor Bismark – CAA chairman
This year was the official launch of our strategic plan which is a 20-year plan which includes recommendations in dealing with tough issues such as corruption but also education, health care, infrastructure development, accountability also from a government level.
The challenge we have in Zimbabwe, for example, is even though every leader preaches a very positive empowerment message people are having a struggle to come above the poverty line because in a country that has a small economy like ours you are going to have a number of people competing for that one dollar.
And the one dollar can’t be distributed adequately to the furthest person. Until there is a positive change in government policies that becomes friendlier to investment, entrepreneurship and job creation the economy is still small and will not be able to accommodate the vast aspirations of so many.
As a result the positive message has produced individuals to look for greener pastures in different places where economies can support their aspirations. We are, however, taking it as a mandate to begin to address various powers in government, civic society (and) the private sector to help expand the economy, so that there can be wealth or distribution of resources.
We are also seeing areas of empowerment where there is no money. But hygiene, immunisation, pushing kids through school all of those we will see the results in 10-20 years. So what we are measuring with now is limited but we will see the results in the future.
Until next week keep living a victorious life.
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