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Mission and World Christianity

Mission as African Experience

When: June 10, 2021, 3:30 pm - Thursday

Where: Swang 112

Session 5

Session Abstract

Recent estimates suggest the total number of African Christians will reach one billion believers, nearly 40% of the world’s Christian population, by the year 2050. This will make the continent of Africa arguably the center of global Christianity. A growing part of the African faith story is the energetic forms of African mission. These presentations give expression to the missional face of African Christianity and highlight the robust missional dimension of African faith.

 

Paper Abstracts

Paul Chimhungwe, African Christian College, Manzini, Eswatini, “The Conversion Process in the Stone-Campbell Movement Churches in Southern Africa (1914–1927): An Historical Analysis”

Instantaneous baptisms, with little catechesis, ubiquitous in the Stone-Campbell Movement (SCM) churches in Africa and inhibit spiritual and numerical growth. Ironically, a critical historical study of the early years, 1914–1927, of the SCM churches in southern Africa demonstrates that instantaneous baptisms were the exception because indigenous preachers grounded their catechumen in sound biblical catechesis, worship, and life-style, reminiscent of the first-century church leading to the phenomenal growth of congregations in southern Africa. This paper argues that the twenty-first century SCM churches in Africa can contextualize this early model to reduce spiritual lethargy in Africa since the continent is now the epicenter of Christianity.

 

Anthony Parker, Pioneer Bible Translators, “Van Rheenen’s Incarnational Model for Tribal Africa and Watson’s Church Planting Movement Model: How Different Are They?”

Generations of church planters in Africa and elsewhere have been influenced by the church planting methods articulated over the decades in the writings of Gailyn Van Rheenen. Contemporary church planters, however, are likely to be more familiar with the Church Planting Movement (CPM) and Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) strategies advanced by David Watson and others. Those familiar with both approaches will notice both significant similarities and differences. This presentation will clarify these and suggest reasons why practitioners should incorporate elements of each, according to the context.

 

Linda Whitmer, Johnson University, “They Call Him Father: The Metaphoric Image of God as Father among Modern Shona in Zimbabwe”

Historically, one of the most important roles within the Shona family structure is “father.” This is so not only with the biological father, but the father figure of the missionary, pastor, and even government official who actively or passively take on the identity, status, and role of the Shona father. Today with cultural, economic, and medical crises bearing down on all sides, the Shona people can offer a helpful understanding of what it means to be God the Father. Based on this research, I provide recommendations to those who act as missionaries, pastors, and development workers.

Speakers

Chris Flanders and Greg McKinzie, Abilene Christian University; Lipscomb University, Conveners

  • Paul Chimhungwe, African Christian College, “The Conversion Process in the Stone-Campbell Movement Churches in Southern Africa (1914– 1927): An Historical Analysis”
  • Anthony Parker, Pioneer Bible Translators, “Van Rheenen’s Incarnational Model for Tribal Africa and Watson’s Church Planting Movement Model: How Different Are They?”
  • Linda Whitmer, Johnson University, “They Call Him Father: The Metaphoric Image of God as Father among Modern Shona in Zimbabwe”
  • Shawn Tyler, Lubbock Christian University, Respondent

2023 CSC Info Coming Soon

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson delivering the CSC plenary address

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Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delivering the CSC plenary address.

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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