Networking and Collaborative Efforts

God is building His Kingdom.  He is working His purposes out.  We can rest securely in that.  However, we are his hands and feet.  If we can network together in a collaborative way, we demonstrate his power to effect change through the bonds of community.  Tyndale House Foundation has had the joy and privilege of participating in three collaborative efforts.  It takes time, energy and commitment.  We have found the benefits to be well worth the investment.  We encourage you, as you set goals and plans for your ministry, to network with others and to include efforts to foster and implement collaborative projects.  We pray the information here will encourage you as you do so. 

Africa Leadership Study

Overview

There are many organizations, schools and individuals in Africa with a burden and passion for developing and empowering effective leaders across all aspects of African culture. The Africa Leadership Study asked over 8,000 African Christians to identify those individual lay leaders, pastors and organizations demonstrating a high level of positive impact. They were also asked to identify key components of mature, impactful leadership. The survey responses and the qualities and formation experiences of those identified can serve to guide us. This data can inform curriculum development, training materials, mentoring practices, networking and gaps so as to develop best practices. We can also identify those who have been most effective and can be empowered to do more through further support.

Background

The continent of Africa encompasses a wide and multilayered diversity of cultures, languages, ethnicities, history and development. The ALS study was implemented in Angola, Central African Republic and Kenya, seeking to capture key information from one Anglophone, one Francophone and one Lusophone country. We identified some commonalities across all three countries. We also gained insight into some of the differences. In order to understand the implications of the data one has to have some context of the history and the forces that shaped the distinct culture and context of each of the three countries. As you click on Angola, Central African Republic and Kenya below, additional information is provided.

Download the Data

The ALS data from the survey is available for download free of charge. Leader and Organization reports based on the interviews are also available for download.  The “More” button will take you to details regarding the download process.  The “Access Survey and Interview Reports Bar” will take you to an overview of all the available download selections.

Add to the Resources and Join the Conversation

Planting Seeds Together: The Africa Leadership Study was prayerfully conceived to be a resource of Data and Findings to be freely available to any who might have an interest. The Resource Page and the ALS Community Forum are places where the ongoing growth and development of the seeds planted can be made available, and the fruits can be celebrated and shared. We hope others will join us in continuing to learn from and building on the ALS data gathered. There has been much work done by many others in the field of leadership development.  Links to their organizations, information and resources are included. Forum conversations can provide an opportunity for users to get to know each other. It is a place for those with common interests to learn what each is doing and perhaps discover ways to work together.  The items in the toolkit are designed to introduce and clarify the work of ALS to a wider network.

Africa Speaks Conference

Tyndale House Foundation convened and hosted an international conference with the stated goal of facilitating a network of like-minded people and organizations committed to working together to foster a flourishing publishing industry in Africa. According to THF board member Ed Elliott, “There have been real challenges over the years for publishers of books in Africa. People who really want to read books written by Africans can’t find them.”

Tyndale House Foundation hosted the Africa Speaks Conference in March 2018 on the campus of Trinity International University in Bannockburn, Illinois. Delegates from nine African countries, the UK, Brazil, and the US participated, spending several days together, collaborating, sharing successes, identifying challenges, and dreaming for the future. Literature and digital media are powerful tools for evangelism, education and discipleship. There are many in Africa and in the West, who passionately desire to see those tools developed and widely disseminated across Africa.  They can give the African church a voice to speak to African realities. They can give further access to the wealth of knowledge and books already available. 

Comments from Delegates: 

  • “Africa is in a state of mega-transition between orality and reading.” Daniel Bourdanné, Executive Director of IFES,  
  • “Africa is in need of a community of people working together to make that happen.” Nigerian publisher and author Pusonnam Yiri 
  • “We need to listen to people with perspectives different from our own.” Nigerian author Modupe Ehirim 
  • We have to invest into training the right people in order to produce good quality books and we will see the growth of Christian literature in Africa. Trainer, Author, Editor and Writer from Burkina Faso, Joanna Ilboudo 
  • My vision is to train cohorts of African Christian writers who research the African realities present in churches such as witchcraft, dreams, tradition, funerals, marriage, etc. Francophone Africa Publisher and IFES Regional Secretary Augustin Ahoga 
  • A true Christian publishing industry must rest on three solid bases. First, well-qualified African publishers able to offer Christian literature that meet the needs of African readers. Second, Christian printers well equipped with modern publishing technologies capable of printing books at reasonable rates. And third, the establishment of a real network for the distribution of Christian literature…” Director, Center for Evangelical Publication Jules Ouoba 

 As the conference concluded, delegates joined together in celebrating and signing the Africa Speaks Accord, committing to working together toward common goals. A “Continuation Committee” of volunteers was formed to foster implementation of the Accord. The Committee has met monthly to focus on networking with individuals and organizations to strengthen efforts throughout Africa. They are building a new website as an important tool to facilitate their networking efforts.  

May we all be open to new ideas and possibilities. In the end, Africans are the ones who have the role to carry out the task in a way that is unique to Africa. Daniel Dama, a writer from Benin, believes the ultimate results will be eternal. Because of the collaboration of so many from Africa and around the world, “I believe one of my sisters there or one of my brothers there will one day sing the songs of salvation and the songs of the kingdom together with Jesus in heaven.”

Preamble:

The Engagement de l’Afrique (EA) project arose subsequent to a 2012 consultation sponsored by Langham Partnership involving a wide swath of francophone theological schools brought together to help determine the needs of leadership development in francophone Africa. The basic objective of EA could be summarized as follows:

  • To strengthen the capacity of the three francophone evangelical schools (FATEAC in Abidjan, FATEB in Bangui, UShalom in Bunia) in providing quality postgraduate-level training (Masters & Doctorates),
  • These three schools are training in Africa for faculty members for the undergraduate seminaries and Bible schools in the region, thus creating a ripple effect for the investment in the three major schools.

The project includes the following partners:

  1. a) the three schools involved
  2. b) three nonprofit capacity builders (Overseas Council, Langham, ScholarLeaders)
  3. c) four foundations (Blankemeyer, Cornerstone, Crowell, Tyndale).

Process

It was agreed that we would hold a series of consultations with the leadership of the three schools to discern their infrastructural needs and priorities with a view to the effectiveness of their postgraduate training programs and structures. These three meetings were held in Brussels, in Abidjan and in Chicago. Five key strategic initiatives were identified by the three schools as priorities for collaboration among them. The capacity builders and foundations joined together with the three schools in a commitment to work together seeking to implement and fund these five priorities.

Progress

 (1) Internet and related infrastructure:

GOAL: Provide a reliable internet infrastructure at the highest level possible at each school to facilitate and support all staff, work and activities on each campus.

 (2) Colloquia and publications:

GOAL: To speak to the needs of the church, provide context for discussion and action in addressing issues faced in complex day to day lives; have an impact for the Kingdom. Host an annual colloquium presenting information pertinent to the issues facing the church in Francophone Africa.  Each school will serve as host in a three-year rotation.  Information presented and gathered at each will be published for all.

 (3) Library and Librarianship:

GOAL: The focus is to work towards developing a collaborative research culture between the three libraries, provide information and training in various tools and on-line resources and to assist staff in attaining the highest professional skills and credentials possible so as to support a solid research culture together.

 (4) Doctoral studies and supervision:

GOAL: Under the leadership of Langham, this is conceived as a 5 year program focused on “Building up Doctoral-Level Theological Education and Research-Culture in the Three Seminaries.  Trainings are planned for each year with a 4 month residency in 2020.

 (5) Vital Sustainability Initiative:

GOAL: Work together at each school over a period of three to 5 years to examine the Mission and every component of the structures in place to support and implement that mission.

Publications

The EA project has also engendered impetus for the publication in French of various titles from the Langham ICETE collection.  The librarians are working together to translate and update the International Association of Librarians “Manual for Librarians” for the French speaking world.

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