This ALS working group primarily included scholars that would supervise and carry out the research. However, from the beginning it also included advisers representing key constituencies and pertinent areas of expertise. Over three years, the entire group convened a total of four times, with smaller country-specific working groups regularly convening to plan and carry out research and analysis. On-line “go-to-meeting” sessions often took place. Writing workshops and retreats were also held to evaluate and critique the working documents and draw from each other’s expertise and knowledge.
While a majority of the ALS team had experience with research, several individuals had unusual strengths in guiding the team in research design, implementation, supervision, and analysis. Robert Priest had strengths in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and provided leadership throughout the research process. Elisabet le Roux was a research sociologist at the Unit for Religion and Development Research at the theological faculty of Stellenbosch University in South Africa and had extensive experience doing research across the continent. Four scholars in the group taught graduate courses in research methods at Kenyan academic institutions, Michael Bowen at Daystar University, David Ngaruiya at International Leadership University, and John Jusu and Steve Rasmussen at Africa International University. All four had significant experience carrying out and supervising research in Africa and on Christianity. Building on this in-country expertise, every phase of research was first field-tested and administered in Kenya under the supervision of the above four Kenya-based scholars, before subsequently being carried out elsewhere.
While most of our team had done theological studies, our core research and writing team was interdisciplinary. Participants held doctorates in Intercultural Studies (David Ngaruiya, Steve Rasmussen, Kalemba Mwambazambi), World Christianity (Wanjiru Gitau), Education (John Jusu), Business Administration (Barine Kirimi), Economics (Michael Bowen), Anthropology (Robert Priest), Sociology (Elisabet le Roux) and Old Testament (Nupanga Weanzana and Jurgens Hendriks – although Hendriks’ faculty appointment is in Practical Theology and Missiology). Others had one or more master’s degrees in fields such as economics (Truphosa Kwaka-Sumba), African Christianity (Yolande Sandoua), Practical Theology (Adelaide Thomas Manuel), Old Testament (Alberto Lucamba Salombongo), and Divinity (José Paulo Bunga).
Some individuals with broad Christian leadership connections and experience in and across Africa served at our workshops in an advisory capacity. Joanna Ilboudo of Burkina Faso, with diverse leadership experiences, most recently as Executive Secretary of the Pan Africa Christian Women Alliance (an initiative of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa), helped us keep the lives of women in view. Originally from Chad, Daniel Bourdanné, the General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) representing half a million university students in 160 countries, helped us keep a focus on non-clergy leadership. Both Joanna Ilboudo and Daniel Bourdanne brought insights and expertise on Francophone Africa. Ian Shaw of Langham Partnership and Evan Hunter of Scholar Leaders International attended as advisors with special interests and experience in theological education. Barine Kirimi, Director of Publishing and Training at Publishing Institute of Africa, drew from extensive experience holding training workshops on writing, publishing, and leadership across the continent. As the project moved into the analysis and writing phase, Kirimi took on a central editorial role.
Nearly all who were involved in carrying out the research had broad Christian leadership connections and experience in and across Africa. For example, Nupanga Weanzana, President of Faculté de Théologie Évangélique de Bangui, had long, wide, and deep connections to theological leaders across Francophone Africa. Jurgens Hendriks of Stellenbosch University served for years as executive director of the 40-school network in 15 African countries of NetACT (Network for African Congregational Theology). Ian Shaw and Evan Hunter worked directly with scholars and students and the schools serving them across many countries in Africa. John Jusu, on staff with the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, Regional Director of the Overseas Council International, Curriculum Consultant for More than a Mile Deep, and Supervising Editor for the Africa Study Bible, has served for years as an educational consultant in a wide variety of venues across the continent.
SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE WHO PROVIDED THE SEED DATA
The ALS research had a sound foundation in the initial information gathered by a dedicated team of students from each of the three participating countries and eleven supporting institutions. Their energy, commitment, input and passion in administering the 93 question research tool was truly a gift to the research process.
In ANGOLA over 100 assistants who were theological undergraduates from five theological seminaries were trained and participated in administering the individual interviews across the country.
In CAR special thanks go to Belin Boydet, Dzifa Codjia, Didacien Dongobada, Mymy Kalemba, Fatchou Kongolona, Max Koyadibert, Viana Mathy Mataya, Yves Mulume, Jean-Claude Mushimiyimana, Mayambe Elie Muteba, Mavutukidi Lopez Nsamu, Franck Nyongona, Christopher Rabariolina, Frederic Razafimaharo, Paul Sakalaima, Yolande Sandoua, Emmanuel Swebolo, Elysee Tao.
In KENYA special thanks go to Zephaniah Ananda, Maggie Gitau, Godfrey Isolio, Moses Karanja, Margaret Kariuki, Ruth Kiragu, Rachel Kisyula, Ednah C. Maina, Duncan Malemba, Job Momanyi, Alex Mutuku, Cyrus Mutuku, Sebastian Mwanza, David Njuguna, Hesbon Owilla, Ruth Owino, Philip Tinega, and Angela Weyama.
SURVEY RESPONDENTS – We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the 8,000 plus respondents who were willing to give their time and input. We hope they will have the opportunity to visit this website and see the fruit of their participation. Their experience of the realities and their wisdom and faith practices of living as Christians in Africa undergird all our findings.