African missions agencies
By Tshepang Basupi
Africa has been the centre of missions for over two centuries. Many missionaries came when Africa was considered a “dark continent” and laboured until Christianity was established. Today the landscape looks completely different than it did two centuries ago. Africa’s thriving churches boast over 182 million evangelicals (Operation World 2020). As the Church grows, so does the conviction that Africans should play an active role in gospel propagation.
This conviction has led to the establishment of African missions sending agencies. Over the last 50 years, God has been doing an amazing work, raising up and sending African missionaries across the nations. Many of these are being sent through indigenous African sending organizations.
Why go with a missions organization?
Why should missionaries go under the umbrella of a mission instead of independently? Well, mission agencies have gained a lot of experience working cross-culturally. They know what is needed for successful ministry among the lost and the training and preparation needed to ensure the missionary has a fair chance of succeeding.
They have also learned to navigate the path of sending missionary support and finances across borders, something independent missionaries have to navigate on their own. An organization like CAPRO, which has been sending Africans since 1975, will better prepare the missionary for the work across nations. Currently, CAPRO’s 700 African missionaries serve across 40 countries. Their success in sending – and retaining – personnel testifies to the fact that they have discovered and mastered the art of sending African missionaries.
Agencies give missionaries a sense of community and ensure that they join something much bigger than their individual ministries. The missionaries get to be in a team, to strategize and pray together, to share victories and struggles. Agencies also provide ongoing member care. Missions agencies are a platform through which Africans go as missionaries and benefit from accountability, vision, direction and member care.
Missionary sending in the Bible
The first missionaries in the Bible were sent out in Acts 13. We notice they did not send themselves. The church affirmed their call and sent them out. Today churches still have a huge role to play in ensuring the gospel is taken to the ends of the earth. In Acts 14:26-28, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch to report on all that Christ did through them. This is essential in mission. After being sent, the missionaries return for a time of reporting and accountability with their sending churches. This highlights the role of the local church in sending, supporting and caring for missionaries.
The African peoples are rising and taking a leading role in the mission of God. As they rise, so are African mission agencies. They are not there because it is the most fashionable thing to do. They are there to serve the many Africans who want to go. If God is calling you, look for someone who is already doing what you want to do and join in. A leader once said to me, “Don’t try to create a wave when you can ride on an already existing wave.” So don’t struggle with things others have already conquered. Join in and enjoy all their wealth of experience.
In this issue, you will be inspired by the stories of intrepid missionaries who went first alone and then with agencies. Oumar Mohammed went from persecuting Christians to becoming one; he then obeyed God’s call to take the gospel to Muslims. Sister Bella bravely went alone and is now serving under CAPRO in Kenya. Timothy Babweteera Nomwesigwa of Uganda shares how to find a mission organization and how to know it is of good quality. I hope you will enjoy this issue’s offering of testimonies, insights and resources. Happy reading!
Tshepang Basupi serves as a missionary with AIM International. He is married to Queen and they have two children. They are currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. He can be reached at email@example.com.