Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) is the representative body that brings together African Independent and Instituted Churches (AICs), offers them a forum for sharing their concerns and hopes, and enables churches to minister effectively to the needs of their members and their communities.
AIC’s are homegrown African churches, founded originally during the colonial period, that have developed indigenous forms of worship, theology and social organization, all deeply inspired by a vision that is both Christian and African. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to respond with conviction to the challenges, such as entrenched poverty, ill health and the breakdown of African cultural and social systems, that require groups to organize themselves in order to confront these obstacles.
There are about 60 million AIC members spread over tens of thousands of AIC denominations across Sub-Saharan Africa and the African Diaspora. The International Headquarters of the OAIC is located in Nairobi, Kenya.
OAIC Vision Statement
The people of Africa:
- Transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ
- Blessed by the Spirit of God
- Building on their cultures
- Living abundant life in community for their children and the world
OAIC Mission Statement
The OAIC works to bring African Instituted Churches together in fellowship and to equip and enable them to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
OAIC’s visions are based on the values and resourcefulness of African grassroots communities (ubuntu). They are expressed in our songs, sermons, prayers and dancing. The OAIC is motivated by the AIC members and millions of Africans who look forward to a society in which all can enjoy well-being. These visions are rooted in an African philosophy of life in which care, reciprocity, acceptance, openness and equality are core values. AICs are a Christian outworking of these African values and they remain important in the AICs ability to mobilize people to engage with the challenges facing contemporary African societies.
- Solidarity with the poor, powerless, and vulnerable
- Faith in God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- African traditions and beliefs
The OAIC began more than 30 years ago when a group of AIC leaders met, seeking to provide a forum for AICs to,fellowship, share concerns and learn together. Since that time, the OAIC has served as the representative body that brings together the AICs in order for them to work together towards fulfilling the founding visions.
The OAIC was founded in 1978 when a number of AIC leaders from across the continent were invited by Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Church for a meeting in Cairo. The Organization’s original objectives were to provide a forum for AIC leaders to fellowship and share their concerns. The Organization also sought ways to provide better theological and biblical education for its members, including the promotion of Sunday Schools. The OAIC is thus an institutional expression of the movement, visions and aspirations of the AICs.
The first AICs emerged during the colonial period as grassroots Christian movements. AIC leaders and prophets spread the gospel of Jesus Christ over wide areas of Africa, confronting spiritual, social and political evil in the community, and founding churches along the way. The majority of these leaders had little formal education and, more often than not, came from the ranks of the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Since political independence, AICs have continued to be founded, most of them describing themselves as Pentecostal.
The OAIC international and programme staff are organized to build the capacities of our chapters and regions. The supreme governing organ of OAIC is the General Assembly, which currently meets every five years. The General Assembly elects an Executive Committee with representation from the seven OAIC regions. The executive leadership of the organization is provided by the General Secretary.
The International Executive Committee (board) is constituted of the chairpersons of the regions OAIC works in, the chairperson of the Finance and General Purpose Committee, three women and two youths. The international office has nine (9) members of staff and one (1) volunteer.
OAIC has consistently worked with other Christian churches and organizations. These include both evangelical and ecumenical bodies. Through these various partnerships, OAIC seeks to share AIC insights and values, as well as learn from other Christian traditions.
In 1996 OAIC became a member of the All African Conference of Churches (AACC). The organization has also developed good working relationships with a number of African evangelical faith based organizations and fellowships. At a continental level, OAIC’s chapters and regions have well-established partnerships with their national ecumenical bodies. For example, OAIC Nigeria Chapter is an active member of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Similarly, Botswana Chapter is a member of the Botswana Council of Churches. Kenya Chapter is also highly involved in several Kenyan ecumenical groups including the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), the Ufungamano Inter- Religious Forum, and the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK).
OAIC’s connections are not limited to the African continent alone, but also include partnerships with several European and North American agencies. It is an active participant of the World Council of Churches, the Global Christian Forum and the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP).