How should we help equip the church leaders of Africa today?
There remains a well-documented lack of theologically sound, Bible-centric preaching in Sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of sermons are preached by untrained (or undertrained) church leaders. Following a practical theology praxis, this book develops a conceptual framework for the evaluation of existing "alternative" approaches to "grassroots" preacher training. It also proposes broad principles for effective preacher training, and offers a practical solution.
The 20th century had seen the Christian church in Africa grow 36 fold to 360 million. This amazing growth is arguably "the largest religious change in human history in such a short period." It has shifted the focus of Christianity from North to South. This rapid growth is - debatably - considered by some missiologists and theologians to have resulted in an African church "a mile wide and an inch deep." That is, a church of great size but lacking in spiritual depth.
The rapid growth has led to insufficient numbers of trained leaders being available to oversee their congregations. Most leaders are unpaid. Untrained or undertrained leaders have an inadequate knowledge of scripture, and lack understanding of its interpretation. They also lack the skills they need to communicate its truths. Even so, they preach up to 90% of the sermons in rural Africa. Despite a tremendous hunger for training among many of those preachers, "traditional" college based theological education cannot keep up with the demand for trained pastors and preachers in an affordable or culturally appropriate manner.