A new day in missions collaboration

Peter Tarantal, who leads the Emerging Mission Movement in OM, comments on the recent MANI conference in Nigeria and how global partnership is growing.

Peter Tarantal leads the Emerging Mission Movement in OM. He is a native South African who has served with OM for over 20 years. For 14 years, he was the National Director for OM South Africa. He is currently the coordinator of WENSA (World Evangelisation Network of South Africa), and is the Southern Africa Coordinator for MANI (Movement for African National Initiatives). Peter’s vision is to see the Church in every nation find its role in world mission, and for OM to empower the Church to do so.

In September, I attended the third Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI) Consultation in Abuja, Nigeria.

The theme of the conference—Africa: The Blessings, The Challenges and The Opportunities—supported MANI’s overall purpose to “affirm, motivate, mobilize and network Christian leaders by inspiring them with the vision of reaching the unreached and least evangelized in Africa, and the wider world.”

A total of 614 delegates from 60 countries attended, including 515 delegates from 43 African countries.

During the conference, I was encouraged to see the great number of senior church leaders and the number of those who attended the specially-convened breakout group for church leaders. I felt that these leaders held a new sense of ownership. It’s exciting that they have already decided to host a continental heads of churches summit in 2013 in Ghana.

We also launched the Generosity Network for Africa, with more than 400 leaders signing the declaration and committing themselves to mentor and model a renewed drive for biblical stewardship across the continent. Each country came up with a realistic plan of action and renewed their commitment return to their countries and implement the goals.

The MANI 2011 declaration says, “The African church exists in communities facing serious challenges, often more so than in other parts of the world. These challenges present the church with new opportunities for sharing God’s Good News. We believe God has sufficiently prepared and endowed the African church for taking the Gospel to every part of our continent and of the world.”

Included in the list of challenges and opportunities in Africa written in the declaration were the Church and mission, migration, poverty and resources, media and the rising generation. To view the full MANI 2011 declaration, click here.

What thrilled me in particular was that 89 delegates from outside of Africa came primarily to support the initiative run by Africans. Most, if not all of these 89 brothers and sisters, would have been the plenary speakers at similar conferences. Yet at this conference, they listened and participated with humility. They were there to honour what God was doing in the continent.

We openly engaged on issues which could have been contentious. For instance, I challenged the global delegates not to weaken the hand of African leaders by pushing programmes that are wholly sponsored by those outside the continent. When African leaders then call their own to engage with critical issues on the continent, they have the expectation that they will be sponsored because that is what they’ve expected in the past. This does not breed a culture of ownership but instead a continued dependency.

Overall, it was obvious to me that a new relationship between the Global South and Global North is being established. I sense a new day of walking together in a spirit of mutual respect and partnership.

 To read more written by Peter Tarantal, visit OM’s blog at www.blog.om.org/blog/author/petert.

 

By OM International