By Andrew Mkwaila – OMSC@PTS Global Partner 2022-23
Editor’s Note: This week’s post is written by one of OMSC@PTS’s 2022-23 global partners, Dr. Andrew Mkwaila, who joins us from Malawi. During this sabbatical year of study in Princeton, Andrew is exploring new paradigms for missiology from an African standpoint that recognizes the foundational role African churches now play in mission and the world church. He is currently preparing a book proposal for a monograph exploring how concepts of “sending” and “receiving” ought to operate in a multi-polar world church.
The field of World Christianity emphasizes the importance of studying church movements in the Global South, particularly in Africa where Christianity is predominantly Pentecostal. To advance the discipline, it is crucial to have a better understanding of the movements within the Pentecostal-Charismatic family, which requires scholarship from an emic perspective.
I was excited to participate in the 5th Triennial meeting of the Association of Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa (APTEA) held in Nairobi, Kenya from 13th-16th February 2023. The conference brought together nearly 200 leaders from Bible schools, seminaries, and churches across Africa (including North Africa for the first time) to explore the theme of “Regeneration for Enhanced Fruitfulness” (John 15:16). The conference was conducted in English, French, and Portuguese to accommodate members from all regions of Africa.
APTEA is a founding member of the World Alliance for Pentecostal Education, which is affiliated with the Pentecostal World Fellowship, a global fellowship of Pentecostal denominations and movements. Currently, over 23,000 students are enrolled in programs at 75 APTEA member institutions in Africa, making it one of the largest networks of its kind in the continent. APTEA’s work focuses on three main areas that are carried out through commissions:
- Accreditation and Endorsement: This commission addresses quality assurance in Pentecostal training, particularly in contexts where governments do not regulate ministerial training. Institutions seek APTEA endorsement and accreditation to meet regulatory requirements.
- Teacher Enrichment and Certification: This commission offers three levels of training and certification to improve effective pedagogy, recognizing that being a trained theologian does not equate to being a trained teacher.
- Scholarly Writing and Research: This commission aims to cultivate the scholarly voice of the Pentecostal movement in Africa through the peer-reviewed PneumAfrica journal, emphasizing the role of scholarship in equipping the Church for Christian ministry in the continent.
One of the conference’s key aspects was the provision of resources to participants in the form of printed and electronic books on Bible school administration, academic writing, theology, and ministerial studies. The majority of the resources were written for Africa by Africans or by others with extensive ministry experience in Africa.
In my presentation on Pentecostal Scholarship for Regeneration, I shared two insights that highlighted the importance of APTEA’s work. Firstly, at this moment in time, African and Pentecostal scholarship is needed to shape the Pentecostal Church movement in Africa. Secondly, as Africa has become the continent with the highest number of Christians, the voice of APTEA members and institutions needs to be heard more than ever in the World Christian movement. These insights continue to shape my research this academic year at OMSC.
Learn more about Andrew’s ministry and research in this short video interview: