MANI SOUTHERN AFRICA
Southern Africa, the Islands and Portuguese Regional Consultation
Southern Africa, the Islands and Portuguese Regional Consultation, held 21-24 August 2017 was the first tri-region MANI consultation and also the first joint consultation with a national initiative network – WENSA. The consultation brought together over 100 mission practitioners from more than 15 countries across the SADC region and the globe, to share their experiences, to learn from one another and to debate the future development of mission work in Africa. And I am glad to testify that the consultation was successfully carried out with no dependence on sponsorship from outside and no debt to pay thereafter.
The theme of the Consultation was “No Place Left” taken from the book of Romans chapter 15 and verse 23. Under this theme the conference was structured around facilitated Tracks and presentations to allow all participants to enter into practical discussions. This approach helped to look beneath the surface of mission mobilisation to explore its underpinnings and to learn from the diversity of experience that participants brought to the consultation. The five Tracks were:
- The Biblical Identity of the Church & its Role/Purpose in the World,
- Generation Engagement—Youth and Children,
- The World at Your Door Step (outreach to immigrants including Muslim and Chinese evangelism),
- The Unengaged and the Unreached People Groups (UUPG).
The consultation was attended by a wide range of participants in mission
practice: Pastors, Church planters, researchers, missionaries, educators (Seminaries and Bible Colleges), Christian Businesses, Christian media, Bible translators, linguists, leaders from evangelical associations and others interested in incorporating mission mobilisation strategies into their work and policies.
Feedback from the conference was very positive – participants greatly enjoyed the chance to meet like-minded people from so many countries, the opportunity to network and to learn from one another, and the chance to explore ideas.
2018 has been declared a year of National Initiatives. Countries in the three regions (i.e. Southern Africa, the Indian Ocean Islands, and Portuguese speaking countries) are encouraged to organise their own national consultations with a bid to mobilise local Churches for the work of missions and reaching the unreached. And for the next three years every country in the sub-region should make effort to implement the Four Callings from this consultation.
Meanwhile the next consultation will be the MANI continental consultation scheduled for 2021 in ABDJAN, Ivory Coast, on 8-12 March. Thereafter the Second Tri-region consultation in 2022 most probably in August again. But on behalf of everyone involved in organising this consultation I would like to express my sincere thanks to the plenary session speakers and workshop facilitators. When we organised the consultation one of our prime aims was to let people learn from each other. Therefore facilitators played a key role in making this happen.
In the words of the Inserv Board Chairman Prof. Marius Olivier in his welcome message, I would like to say many thanks to all the members of the Regional Task Force (RTF), the joint MANI/WENSA planning team, and the Inserv staff, all of whom worked tirelessly on this conference. Special gratitude goes out to the host organization, OC Africa, for the willingness to host the consultation, for the resources they provided for this consultation (i.e. staff, office space, OC Africa website for online registration, Bank account, time, and much more).
Lastly, I would also like to thank everyone who attended for giving so freely of themselves and their financial and other resources making the consultation a memorable and successful occasion. All of us made new friends and contacts and this can only contribute to the regional and continental African development of missions.
MANI Southern Africa Regional Coordinator
7th September 2017
2 Consultation Summary
Looking back at the 2017 MANI Regional Consultation now it is impossible to summarise the rich ideas that were shared over the four days. What we have produced below are some of the key outputs and learning that occurred. The most important one is the recognition that evangelism is just one step of the discipleship journey, but recognizing that without discipleship, new mission thrusts will eventually weaken and die. Therefore every Christian is called to be both disciple and disciple maker.
There was generally a recognition that four days was enough time to begin to raise some of the issues in a systematic way. What we have here is a framework to inform our national initiatives and we look forward to continuing the dialogue we started in Johannesburg in August 2017.
3 Main Conclusions and Priorities
1 Call for RENEWAL in the Church’s role in mission
- Understanding its priority as the foundation of mission outreach,
- Understanding the new contexts where the church can impact society,
- Understanding the critical importance of pastors as mission visionaries.
2 Call to DISCIPLESHIP
- Recognize that every Christian is called to be both disciple and disciple maker,
- Recognize that evangelism is just one step of the discipleship journey,
- Recognize that without discipleship, new mission thrusts will eventually weaken and die.
3 Call to fully understanding our TIMES
- Grasping the changing global trends,
- Grasping the generational identities,
- Grasping the realities of reaching the unreached.
4 Call to fully utilize the TOOLS God has given us
- Sharing and using strategic information,
- Adopting and implementing new strategic technologies,
- Learning and applying strategic mission methodologies.