Theological education is terribly scarce
Rapidly Growing Church
The growth of the African church is well documented, and has not slowed. Its growth is expected to place the African church as the dominant force in Christianity in the next 50 years, making up 40% of the total church. Historian Philp Jenkins says, "By 2050, Christianity will be chiefly the religion of Africa and the African diaspora."
Our experience in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Uganda have confirmed this. The average pastor has 5,000 people in his care in the average church of the conservative Reformed CCAP (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian) denomination in Malawi. Clearly the church is growing, what will it be like with so little discipleship for its people and hearty theological training for its pastors? What will that church look like? What will they teach and preach?
Those questions are answered by looking at the seminaries today. If we can be involved in shaping the next generation of pastors, this will not only effect the African church but the shape of Christianity in the future.
More Pastors, MORE GOSPEL FORMATION
Pastors are often overburdened with massive congregations and multiple connected smaller congregations ("prayer houses"). Combine this with multiple funerals to conduct every week (a result of Malaria, AIDS, and famine), and you can see the challenge a solo pastor faces. More pastors are needed. But that's not all.
Pastor's need more gospel formation through theological education. Discipleship in congregations is desperately needed, and current pastors need their training to be furthered. There is a tremendous hunger for training, as well as a steady determination to get it whatever sacrifices, extra work, or even risks to their lives it may take.
There are more Christians in Africa than there are people in the USA. Wouldn't we expect the African church to have more influence? Why aren't we seeing more excellent teachers, excellent books, excellent ministries of mercy from African pastors, thinkers, and churches?
At least part of this question is answered in noting that the few quality seminaries and theological colleges in Africa simply can't meet the demands. Pair this with what is commonly found in church culture there (legalism, prosperity gospel syncretism, love of status, ignoring the needy and impoverished, and a general lack of discipleship) we can the number of challenges they face.