AEA Transformation Agenda Summit Declaration: In the spirit of the unity of all Evangelicals
THE GABORONE DECLARATION
We, evangelical leaders from across the African continent, representing 29 nations and 250 million Christians, convened in Botswana for the Association of Evangelicals in Africa Leadership Summit. Under the theme “Transformative Agenda towards the Africa God Wants,” inspired by AEA Vision 2066 and the Africa Union Vision 2063, we declare our commitment to shaping a better future for Africa. In pursuit of our collective vision, we stand resolved and affirm AEA’s commitment to the realization of “The Africa God Wants” by the year 2066. We, together with our Partners, here state our unwavering commitment to; catalyse change and participate in the transformative agenda across and in the African continent and hereby make the following Declaration:
Article I: Reaching the unreached
Research shows that there are well over 1000-3000 people groups in the continent yet to be reached with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, making up nearly 30% of the population of Africa. That is around 400 million people. It is a matter that is not to be taken lightly and should be our key mandate as commanded by the Lord in Matthew 28:19-20. We commit to a research based and systematic approach in reducing this number to zero by the year 2033. Every national alliance, shall design evangelism strategy that prioritizes the unreached people groups (UPGs).
Article II: Transformational Discipleship
In transformation discipleship, AEA calls on the Church in Africa, to recover New Testament Effective Biblical discipleship, to build up and populate the Continent with resilient matured Christ-like Disciples, who will live lifestyles of godliness with integrity into every area of human endeavor. The Church in Africa must raise authentic Christ like holistic disciples for the Church and Society, including, the Esthers in Politics and influencing decision making in Palaces; the Daniels in effective Public Service and Governance; the Nehemiah’s in Infrastructure development and community service; the Josephs in Agriculture and Food Security; the transformed Mathews in Finance and Business; and the Pauls in Global evangelization.
As John Stott quipped, ” God intends us, Jesus’ disciples to penetrate the World. Christian salt has no business to remain snugly in ecclesiastical salt cellars. Our place is to be rubbed into meat, to stop it from going bad. Indeed, “The Africa God Wants”, will be dependent on true Christ- like Disciples, active in family life, in Church, in Education and the Justice delivery system, in community life, and national life.
Article III: Scaling Up Theological Education
Lack of meeting training needs of undertrained pastors and Christian leaders has led to an immature church, left open to syncretism, secularism, false doctrines and preachers of false hope within the Church in Africa. The gains the Church has made in past years are being reversed in the 21st century by ignorance of the Word of God, lack of contextual application of biblical truth to personal and societal challenges and problems and the inability of the evangelical churches and their training institutions to provide the necessary theological and biblical training to an estimated 85- 90% of African pastors and church leaders.
As a solution to this, we commit to offer biblical training that is contextually relevant, accessible and affordable to pastors and church leaders. Such a solution is most viable in situations where non-formal education is scaled up to meet 20% more of the biblical and theological needs of pastors and church leaders in the next three years.
IV. Transformational Leadership and Technology
Affirming the critical and pivotal role that Leadership plays in the family, community and nation, and that Africa has often suffered from a severe leadership deficiency, we commit to motivate and equip the Evangelicals to adopt a more engaged transformational leadership posture and engagement towards good governance. We commit to raising holistic Leaders and believers who shall contribute positively and transformationally to our Churches, Communities and Nations in the market place and spheres of life beyond partisan politics, tribal and denominational affiliations. We commit ourselves to the development of leaders in all spheres of life including Youth and Women in order to achieve the Africa God Wants. In today’s rapidly evolving world, the integration of technology has become pivotal in shaping and enhancing leadership practices. We shall embrace and leverage on technology, including artificial intelligence, to advance the kingdom mandate.
Article V: Freedom of Religious Belief and Solidarity with the Persecuted Christians
The freedom of conscience, belief and religion is the most fundamental of all beliefs in a continent of such racial, religious, ethnical diversity. As Evangelical Christians in a continent of diversity, we affirm our commitment to the freedom of conscience, belief and religion without intimidation, social ostracism, legal censure or penalty of jail or death.
We affirm our solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are daily forced to pay protection money, forced to renounce their faith or to flee their communities; some have been beheaded, shot execution style, abducted. We call upon the AU and every Leader of African countries, to ensure that all of Africa’s citizens are included in Vision 2063 provision for an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justices, rule of law, a peaceful and secure Africa for every tribe, tongue and every religion.
Article VI: Socio-economic Development
We, evangelical leaders, recognize the pressing need for ethical economics, ethical politics, moral leadership and ethicaI governance underpinned by Ubuntu ethic. Our commitment transcends rhetoric, as we pledge to take tangible actions to combat poverty, inequality and advocate for equity as well as empower national alliances to develop national transformation agendas for their respective countries.
Article VII: Advocacy and Social Justice
The cries of injustices from the poor among us, our youth and vulnerable children cannot continue being ignored. With unwavering resolve, we commit to new strategies of advocacy, entrepreneurship and multi-sectoral discipleships to prevent current projected youth bulge from being potential demographic time bomb to the inverse of youth demographic dividend. Our mission extends to amplifying voices of the voiceless and addressing root causes of their grievances through relevant channels. We envision a more just, free and equal society for all Africans.
Article VIII: Peace making and Peace Building
We pledge to empower National Evangelical Fellowships (NEFs) to play meaningful role in conflict resolutions and peace building within contexts of various national spaces. Peace shall be our mantra as we forge to create peaceful environments where spiritual and socio-economic development thrives. We dream and commit to an Africa where guns are silent and conflicts are resolved through dialogue.
Article IX: Youth as both Mission Field and Mission Force
Africa is forecasted to be a youthful continent for a foreseeable future, but at the same, she is forecasted as a continent where majority of the poor would be found. This preesents a challenging forecast of a continent with majority of vulnerable youth with high possibilities of social epidemics, recruitment base of extremists, perpetual socio-economic strives and political instabilities. We commit to invest our time and resources in the youth, transforming the youth bulge into both a mission field and a mission force, galvanize Christian businesses that create and disciple young entrepreneurs, thereby turning the forecasted youth bulge into a demographic dividend.
Article X: Women Empowerment
Cognizant of the fact that 52% of the population of Africa are women, and that the realization of the Africa God Wants must include women as contributors to this vision at all levels of society; we commit ourselves to support and equip the development of women in the market place and particularly in business entrepreneurship and the fostering of networks of interconnected and intersectional businesses run by women.
As evangelicals, we envision Africa-our motherland as a continent united by her diversity, where, as Africans we are each other’s brother’s keepers, where resources are stewarded sustainably, and everyone has the opportunity to flourish. The Africa God wants is a prosperous Africa characterized by peace; where conflicts are opportunities for growth and are resolved through dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation. We have a responsibility as current generation to create a better Africa for the next generation.
The holy Scriptures says;
“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed,” (Acts 13:36, NIV).
As we conclude the summit, we stand united in our commitment to realizing the transformative agenda for the continent. With the principles of our faith as our guide, we embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, confident that our collective action will shape the Africa we aspire to see and bequeath to the coming generations.