A century ago, only nine million Christians resided in all of Africa. Today there are an estimated 555 million African Christians – Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal and African. For decades one of the greatest felt needs of the African Church was to wean it off Western missionary dependence and provide generations of trained leaders who can nurture the local Church on a sound Scriptural basis. There was also a concern to train leaders capable of dealing adequately with the problems of modern African society. Meanwhile secular governments, encouraged and supported by international organisations and charities, sponsored a massive growth of higher education throughout the continent.
Although Christians began establishing Theological Training Colleges quite early on, these had limited scope. With the advent of government policies to enrol more African students into higher education, Christian groups have responded resolutely with the establishment of numerous private universities providing broad-based tertiary training, including in-depth theological studies. Of the 61 private institutions chartered in Nigeria since 1999, 31 are Christian. Of the 30 private universities in Kenya, 17 are Christian. Sub-Saharan Africa is now one of the ‘hot spots’ in the growth of Christian higher education worldwide.
Christian groups in Africa often look first to the educational needs of their children, but they also move quickly to train clergy. In 1950 there were only about 70 or 80 pastoral education programmes or theological schools across Africa, but a recent survey found 1,468 of them. As Christian movements become strong national forces, their educational aims are broadening to engage larger social responsibilities. Universities are a better fit than seminaries for these broader purposes, and more than a dozen of the new African universities have seminary or Bible college ancestry.
Source: Revival Media; patheos.com; University World News
Bible Study: 2 Timothy 3:13-17
DECEMBER PRAISE God for the extraordinary growth of African churches over the past century.
PRAY earnestly for more and more godly leaders to rise up and lead the African Church at a time when Western Christianity is leaving its roots in God’s Word.