The recent history of Christianity in Africa involves an extraordinary story. In 1900, there were nine million Christians in Africa. By 2015, there were 541 million. While Christianity was exploding in Africa, it was declining in countries that had originally sent missionaries to Africa. Today, African Christians comprise nearly a quarter of the world’s Christian population. It was African Christians themselves that did the lion’s share of the evangelism.
This recent growth of Christianity occurred on a continent facing massive challenges related to literacy, education, healthcare, economic development, globalization, peace and security, and the development of healthy postcolonial governments.
In short, the remarkable expansion of Christianity in Africa in the context of massive social challenges has created unprecedented opportunities for leadership by Christians. Since many of Africa’s countries are majority Christian, African Christians also find themselves exercising leadership in a wide variety of business, educational, media, social service, and governmental venues.
It takes time, intentionality, sustained work, and material resources to develop and produce the institutional supports and curricular resources needed for contextual leadership development in Africa. Tyndale House Foundation resolved to initiate research to help us understand these issues and to learn what individuals and organizations were seen by Africans to be best placed to address them.
To that end the Africa Leadership Study was originally conceived as a tool and resource for use in understanding the components that produce and shape leaders and organizations in Africa to address the circumstances and needs in an impactful and positive way. As we worked together with the team members in Africa the purpose was further clarified to reflect their goals. See the separate formal purpose statement document.
There are several “audiences” that can make use of and be served by what we have learned. Educational Institutions, Churches and other Training Programs can evaluate their curriculum and training materials in light of the key components determined to contribute to excellence and impact of individual leaders and organizations. Research professors and students can make use of the existing data as well as perform additional research as they study research methods. The basic questionnaire, protocol and process can serve as a base or model for their research as well as the research that other funders and foundations might want to carry out with a focus on their interest areas. African Churches and Ministry Organizations can evaluate their programs and determine strategies to strengthen them in light of the findings related to impactful organizations. Churches, organizations and individuals in the West can have a better informed understanding as they strategize ways to support and work together with African leaders.
It naturally follows that the ALS Team would want to make what we learned as widely available as possible. To that end we have developed this website. Visit the “Findings Page” for Information on our book “Patterns in Christian Leadership”. They are offered with the hope and prayer that they can become a “seedbed” for the nurture of leaders and leadership development in Africa. May the website, the book and the Facebook page serve as a rich resource and catalyst for ideas and networking. May they glorify God and bear much fruit for the Kingdom.