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 2 day consultation on the Missions Africa Trust Fund (MATF) held from 29th - 30th October 2014 at the Hephzibah Christian Guest House near Accra, Ghana. 15 African church, mission and business leaders mainly from Ghana but also Nigeria, South Africa and UK ended an engaging and memorable consultative meeting. Chaired by Rev Steve Asante (past president of the Ghana Baptist Convention) and attended by Mr Ram Gidoomal (Chairperson of the Lausanne Movement International Board), the consultation ended with a clear strategy to launch the MATF as indigenous Pan-African mission giving initiative in 2015.
|Participants of the MATF Ghana Roundtable on 29 and 30 October. Sitting second from left is The Revd Gideon Para-Mallam, Chairman of the MATF Leadership Group and Executive Coordination Team|
This is in response to the 3rd 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 the MATF, including through a business lunch organized by the Ghana branch of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI). This helped to launch the MATF in the Ghana Christian business community. The MATF greatly appreciate this support and look forward to collaborate with the 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 the MATF to make giving part of Biblical discipleship in Africa. Dr Sas Conradie reported that the results of the African Mission Giving Survey indicate much support for the MATF. The Revd Gideon Para-Mallam (Regional Secretary, 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 the 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 MATF:
1) Identity: The MATF is a mission giving initiative of the Lausanne Movement from Africa, indigenously inspired, led and owned by the Church, mission and market place leaders in Africa.
2) Vision: To transform the Church in Africa to be a more effective mission giving and mission sending continent in the 21st century and beyond.
3) 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.
4) Aims and objectives: 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.
5) A leadership structure with the Revd Gideon Para-Mallam as chairperson of the MATF Executive Coordination Team and Leadership Group as well as country teams in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and possibly Burundi or Cote d’Ivoire.
6) Launch of the 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 MATF 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 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 mentioned that ‘this is an unprecedented development in the developing world, to see indigenous leaders committing to reverse the mind-set 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 the 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 MATF realize their 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].