The Father of Modern Missions, William Carey, launched the Greatest Century of Missions with his electrifying sermon: “Expect Great Things from God! Attempt Great Things for God!”
The Desperate Need for Accessible Leadership Training
There is a tremendous need and hunger for literature and leadership training throughout Africa. However, one of the ongoing problems is that most of those who leave rural areas for urban training institutions tend to stay in the urban centres and are lost to the rural communities who sent them for further training.
Urbanisation and Diaspora are Depleting Church Leadership
Similarly, most of those who go to first world nations for further training tend not to return to their third world countries of origin. In this way, the church is haemorrhaging in Africa. Some of our most promising leadership candidates are failing to return to their communities. The rapid urbanisation and mass movement to first world countries is devastating to local congregations. Most pastors in the rural areas where we work have no tertiary education at all.
In 2010 Christians in South Africa are celebrating the 150 anniversary of a most remarkable Revival which swept across the Cape in 1860.
A Spiritual Wilderness
The Cape Colony prior to the 1860 Revival was a spiritual wilderness. The Dutch East India Company controlled the appointment of pastors and establishment of congregations. Yet, in the first 150 years of Dutch rule in the Cape only five congregations had been established, all within 130km radius of Cape Town. Most of the farmers and Trekboers had no access to pastoral guidance, or opportunities for religious services. Even more seriously, although few of the people in the colony spoke Dutch anymore, the authorities deemed their vernacular, Afrikaans, to be unworthy for church services, prayers, or even for personal devotions. This led to very stilted services where the average member of the congregation struggled to understand the high Dutch of the pulpit and found it hard to express themselves in prayer through the Dutch language. The only Bible available was Dutch, which most of the population had trouble reading. Without the ability to pray from the heart, most resorted to following fixed formulas of well worn expressions.