Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Raison d'ĂȘtre

 Critical needs that iServe Africa Seeks to meet
A new apprentice recently confronted me demanding to know the real reason why iServe Africa exists. I managed to get a few reasons together to his satisfaction but deep within I knew there was more to say than we could in that short moment. So, Omenda , here is a list of 12 [significant number?] reasons why you should stick through the programme for the [12!] months.
  • The need for ‘taster’ training. Many young people are not sure whether gospel ministry is for them. They need some elementary training and experience that would expose them to what it really means to be a Christian worker. iServe Africa is an ideal place to ‘test the waters’ before  further commitment in Bible School.
  • The youth are at a critical stage in their lives when they are exploring what they would like to do with their lives; it is therefore timely to help them develop a mission vision which will impact whatever they end up doing in life. The immense potential of the youth – full of energy, daring to explore new things, and often available. iServe Africa seeks to tap into this huge potential.
  • Africa is a youthful continent with some countries with over 50% of the population under 15 years old. iServe Africa is therefore a move to invest in the youth if we are to have a strong African Church and African mission in the future.
  • The need for faithful Bible teaching. This has been described as the most urgent need in Africa today. Through the Ministry Training Course (MTC) iServe Africa seeks to equip future leaders with basic Bible handling skills.
  • The challenge of Cross-cultural living. Most Young people grow up in mono-cultural contexts with no experience outside their own. iServe Africa offers opportunities for cross cultural living, helping break down stereotypes and develop social skills. This is especially helpful in fighting tribalism and other forms of ethnic prejudice prevalent in Kenya.
  • Many fresh graduates spend a long time before landing a first job. Such young people have a lot of free time and unfortunately it is not always spent productively. iServe Africa offer a structured way of spending a year out for Christ.
  • The need for trained gospel workers in Africa. This has been a great challenge due to lack of affordable training opportunities. iServe Africa’s Ministry Training Course is a low cost, easy entry and time sensitive programme that offers targeted training for practical use.
  • Young people are "adventurous" - They are interested in having new experiences and are keen to be involved in a variety of activities. Unfortunately there have not been structures in which this energy, skill and time can be properly channeled in much of Kenya. iServe Africa apprenticeships provide constructive adventure for the youth.
  • Churches especially in the rural areas are heavily deprived of resources. The work is huge but the churches cannot afford extra workers. An apprenticeship model is one solution to the problem of shortage of staff, not as cheap labour but as a win–win situation where both the church and the apprentice mutually benefit.
  • There is insufficient ministry to the youth and children in much of Africa. Many young people have become disillusioned and lost focus in life. Many turn to drugs and sects in their search for identity. iServe Africa sees sending workers to work with the young people as one possible intervention.
  • Local Mission: There is a notion that the African Church is thriving.  Many churches are full and this reinforces the impression that Africa is generally reached. As such, mission is not adequately emphasized in the typical church even large swathes of the continent are unreached with the gospel. iServe Africa seeks to encourage apprentices into mission.
  • World Mission: The African church is rising up to the challenge of world mission and slowly emerging as senders.  iServe Africa is a first step into further involvement in world mission. iServe Africa recommends apprentices for further involvement in world missions and exposes them to available opportunities.[1]
I think the list is not exhaustive. Any thoughts?

[1] iServe Africa Concept Paper, 2007. [unpublished]