How will AICs Minister to a largely digital generation that is tech savvy? That is a question that many Theologians are currently grappling with as the world is advancing and becoming digitised in many aspects.
Some have argued that the 21st century, is Africa’a century to exhale where growth and development and especially in the information communication and technology sector is driving commendable change. Despite uncertainties in the political atmosphere of many African countries, a lot of great activities that spur growth in the continent abound.
Technology has been argued by some as being at the centre of growth in the continent. Africa is the second largest mobile market after Asia. Start-ups in many African cities continuously inspire innovations that spur growth. South Africa; Egypt; Nigeria Kenya; Ghana; Rwanda; Botswana; Angola; Uganda and Zimbabwe are some of the top technologically advanced countries in Africa.
OAIC has presence in most of these countries and it remains to be seen how the Churches will be able to reach out to a mostly tech savvy generation that requires a lot of creativity, knowledge and a different engagement process in order to communicate effectively. “As AIC’s we have to minister to the whole world which comprises the digital generation. Soon when you preach, young people will reach out to their smart phones and google about your preachings as they search for Bible commentaries. You can’t lie or guess at the top of your head on what you want to preach to them. We must all be prepared for these eventualities to ensure that we don’t lose them in the process,” noted Reverend Nicta Lubaale.
During a recent visit to OAIC Tanzania chapter in Mwanza, there were discussions on how OAIC purposes to accompany Church Ministers in their quest for better ways to minister to their congregants. In an increasingly complex world, there are Seminaries that may not be friendly to the AICs and thus linking and working with the friendly ones is key in this regard. OAIC will sponsor some Ministers to pursue higher education in Theology and thereafter become trainers.
“By 2050, 1 in 3 young people, 1/3rd of the world’s population will be comprised of young people who will be African. What is the church leadership doing to prepare for this eventuality? In Uganda, 48% of the population is made up of young people and 44% in Tanzania. How much are churches investing in the children Ministry? Is the Theology department preparing their communities and countries for this reality?” posed Reverend Nicta.
OAIC encourages leaders to set aside funds in their annual budgets for Theological education training. Reverend Nita further urged Bishops responsible for the various churches to put more efforts in ensuring that there were more trained pastors in the various churches. OAIC will hence accompany these churches but the primary responsibility ought to be AIC member churches. “The world is changing and the church needs to be equipped properly.”
Increasing the number of trainers in the various countries will help to ensure that less time is spent traversing the vast areas for trainings. In a dynamic society, the Chapter was also encouraged to urge the trainers to organise and conduct trainings where there are large populations of students rather than waiting for the students to come where trainers are whilst ensuring inclusivity by including women in the trainings.
In Livelihoods, the Chapter has made headway in ensuring that their programmes are enhancing the lives of their congregations. With the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Goal number 2 aims to ensure there’s zero hunger by 2030 : End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Political will would ensure that there are right policies for a food secure country and continent.
“Proper leadership in politics, religion and business will ensure development of the various sectors. As religious leaders, our role when leading our churches is to know if our congregants have sufficient food as their livelihoods is equally important as their spiritual nourishment. When you meet a child with kwashiorkor, you can clearly see that they have a deficiency in protein. Nevertheless, others in church will be busy exorcising demons out of this child. The child needs prayers but clearly they also need nutritious food,” stated Reverend Nicta.
He further advocated for reinventing agriculture for nutritional purposes as well as for incomes and not merely peasant farming. Families were also urged to plan for the right type of food to feed their children during planting as good nutrition reduces child mortality by 40%. “Organise people in congregations and farmers’ organisations to be trained and also to learn from each other to improve farming practices; enhance better production as well as organisation for better marketing. Churches should organise themselves and engage with policy makers. Buy a seed rather than buy a soda and invest in better agricultural practices to ensure you take your children to school.”
The leaders present during the meeting were grateful for several trainings that OAIC had initiated and especially where one Farmer Resource Person from Kenya, John Amisi trained them successfully on best farming practices which was evident in their farms.