Ghana 2013 Report
For Immediate Release - 10/15/2013
Around 500 church and mission leaders from over 45 countries gathered last Sept 25-28 for the Ghana 2013 Global Mission Consultation. The gathering was held at the Pentecost Convention Center (located just outside of Accra, in Kasoa) through the coordination of the Ghana Evangelism Committee (GEC) and Ghana Evangelical Missions Association (GEMA) in partnership with other national, regional and global mission associations.
Ghana 2013 was a regional follow-up gathering to the Tokyo 2010 Global Mission Consultation held in commemoration of Edinburgh 1910. The theme of the gathering was on the Great Commission mandate to “Disciple all peoples.” The Africa consultation kept the same dual emphasis of the Tokyo meeting, focusing on both the breadth and the depth of the Great Commission. The breadth dimension was represented by the Finish the Task network which highlighted the needs of Africa’s 383 remaining "unengaged" unreached peoples. The depth dimension was represented by the national transformation tracks which looked at what it means to see nations discipled through transforming business, education, the arts, government and health.
Finishing the Task
Evangelicals in Africa are poised to make a significant contribution to finishing the task in their own continent and around the world. Today, the African church has over 180 million evangelical Christians in over 2,500 reached people groups. Just under 700 unreached people groups remain in Africa, or 19% of the total, and 40% of these are already engaged by missionary teams. As in Tokyo 2010, delegates at Ghana 2013 made specific commitments to reach unreached peoples without any known missionary work in Africa and beyond. Over 250 commitments were registered at the consultation with the Finish the Task Network to send church-planting teams to 150 unengaged unreached people groups by the year 2020.
Ghana 2013 highlighted the reality that the African church’s role and commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission will become increasingly impactful in this century. Today, Africa represents 15% of the world’s population. By the end of the century, almost one in three people in the world will be African. Even more significant, by the year 2100 over half the world’s evangelicals will be in Africa. For this reason, among others, the strength and vitality of the church in Africa will soon have a global impact. As if by design, while this great demographic shift is taking place, many economies in Africa are now experiencing double-digit growth, which history tells us will help fuel the coming surge of missionary expansion from the continent.
Ghana 2013 Challenge
The delegates at Ghana 2013 issued a statement called the Ghana 2013 Challenge, which represented Africa’s response to the Tokyo 2010 Declaration. The Challenge included four areas which were of special concern to the African church: Servant-Leadership, Disciple-Making, Social Transformation and the Least-Reached. Under Social Transformation, the Challenge declared:
"We acknowledge that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the light of the world and the salt of the earth. As a person should reflect the life of Christ, so society should reflect God’s kingdom. The true gospel will impact every sphere of society from government, to education, to business, to the arts…. We confess that we have secularized our work and have often forgotten that every calling in life is sacred and an act of worship. We covenant before God to be his witnesses in every sphere of society and to represent his kingdom with integrity in everything we do."
The full text of the challenge can be read at www.ghana2013.org/challenge.php. Those who wish to sign the Challenge can also do so at this site.
Africa Missions Association
One of the history-making developments and fruits of Ghana 2013 was the formation of an Africa Missions Association. The purpose of the Africa Missions Association (AfMA) is to strengthen and create national mission associations in every country in Africa and assist in the development of new and existing African sending structures. The association came about through the joint initiative of the Ghana Evangelical Missions Association and the Nigerian Evangelical Missions Association, together with leaders from 9 other African nations. Reuben Ezemadu, one of the founders of the Movement of African National Initiatives, exhorted the association to concentrate on those areas in Africa which are least developed in the area of mission sending. For many mission leaders, the birth of the Africa Missions Association has been a dream fulfilled, entirely by the grace of God and in His perfect timing.
World Link Mission Association
The Third World Mission Association (TWMA), one of the international organizers of Ghana 2013, took a major step at the meeting to change its name to the World Link Missions Association. Representatives from Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Asia unanimously ratified the decision to take this step under the leadership of the current chairman Dr. Obed Alvarez. The new name is reflective of the many economic changes taking place in the non-Western world and the discontinued use of the phrase “third-world.” The new name also reflects the desire of this world-level mission association to open up its membership to Western mission associations. There is still tremendous work to be done in developing national and regional mission associations around the world, especially in non-Western contexts. A primary purpose of mission associations is to establish agreed upon standards for mission sending and to hold members accountable to those commitments. This is one of the reasons these professional-level associations are so vitally important to the emerging mission movements around the world.
As a final objective of Ghana 2013, the countries represented at the consultation examined five components of national discipleship and developed or reaffirmed commitments towards specific objectives in these areas over the next seven years. The five components were identified as 1.) Reaching every unreached people group, 2.) Saturation Church Planting, 3.) Multiplying Disciple-Makers, 4.) Transforming Society, and 5.) Blessing the Nations.
Passing the Torch
The extra funds generated by Tokyo 2010 were used to seed Ghana 2013. In the same way, the delegates at the Ghana meeting took up an offering to pass the torch to the next regional meeting which will be in Lima, Peru in October of 2014. Those interested in participating in this event can contact Dr. Obed Alvarez, chairman of Lima 2014 (firstname.lastname@example.org).