Africa hosts first regional conference since 2003  

By Holly Beech, news@africanazarene.org  

 

 

People are moved to prayer during a holiness revival service on the 11th of March, led by Dr. Scott Daniels at the Africa Regional Conference in Johannesburg.  

 

JOHANNESBURG - More than 700 Nazarenes gathered last week for Africa's first regional conference in 12 years. The workshops, messages and question-and-answer sessions with leaders aligned with the region's vision to "Prepare the Way" for people to know Jesus. 

 

"I believe that the Lord visited his church in Africa in a very special way," Africa Regional Director Dr. Filimao Chambo said. "I am thrilled to see and hear a church that is passionate to follow the Lord and participate in his mission in Africa, even in the most challenging areas."

 

Church members from Africa's South, South-East and Lusophone fields met from the 8th to the 12th of March at the Good News Convention Centre in Johannesburg. They were united in the call to be like Christ and spread the Gospel in both rural and urban areas. The congregation raised the equivalent of $4,300 U.S. dollars to support pioneer missions to unreached parts of Africa.

A women's choir from Zimbabwe blessed the evening services with inspiring songs. 

 

The region will hold a second conference in August in Nairobi, Kenya, for the East and Central fields, and the Africa West Field with meet in 2016. The conference was split into three events because difficult circumstances in Africa prevented all fields from coming together in one place.

 

The Africa Region celebrated a groundbreaking moment during the conference as it commissioned Reverends Collin and Shireen Elliott to serve as the region's first global missionaries. Later this year, the South African natives will move to the Asia-Pacific Region. Rev. Collin Elliott, formerly the Field Strategy Coordinator for the Africa South Field, currently serves as assistant to Dr. Chambo, and Rev. Shireen Elliott is the regional secretary.

 

Church leaders pray over Reverends Collin and Shireen Elliott and their children during the March 11th commissioning service.
General Superintendent Dr. Eug�nio Duarte honors Dr. Paulos and Mrs. Rute Sueia for their years of service. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We are sending some of our best, and I am so proud of you, and of the region," Church of the Nazarene General Superintendent Dr. Eug�nio Duarte told the Elliotts.

 

Leaders also recognized Dr. Paulos and Mrs. Rute Sueia, who have retired from the role of Field Strategy Coordinator for the Africa Lusophone Field and are transitioning into pastoral ministry in Mozambique. 

 

CALL TO MISSIONS

A major focus for the region is sending missionaries from Africa to Africa and to other parts of the world. At the conference, Dr. Chambo called African missionaries to the stage to honor and recognize them. Seventeen African missionaries who are serving across the continent came forward.

Dr. Verne Ward, Global Mission Director 

Global Mission Director Dr. Verne Ward said the Church's goal is for there to be zero people groups who do not have a Christian witness among them.

 

"We cannot get comfortable right where we are," he said. "We have to identify with those who are unreached."

 

Leaders emphasized that missions involves meeting both the spiritual and physical needs of a community. In places of ministry where water or schools are scare, the Church will often develop partnerships in order to build wells or child development centers. 

 

"It's a genuine concern that we have, that we want people to be healthy, we want people to be provided for. ... But the Lord also uses that in a very special way," Dr. Chambo said in a vision-casting video made for the conference. "As we prepare that way, as we provide the water, as we provide the food, it opens doors that we would probably have never been able to open in any other way."

During the conference, many people responded to the call to serve God in missions or support missionaries, Dr. Chambo said. There was a renewed sense of passion and urgency to reach people who had not heard the Gospel and to pray for the persecuted Church, he said.

Dr. Scott Daniels
HOLINESS REVIVAL

Dr. Scott Daniels, a Nazarene pastor in Pasadena, California, and dean of the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University, was invited to lead the holiness revival services at the conference.  

 

He delivered insightful and empowering messages about what it means to live holy lives and what God's covenants throughout the Bible mean for his followers.

 

Pastor Sharon Ngomane of the Mmakau Church of the Nazarene in South Africa said she left the conference feeling inspired in her ministry and more aware of what it means to be a Nazarene.  

 

Ngomane was born and raised in the Nazarene church but wasn't aware of all the resources available to her, she said. The conference empowered and encouraged Ngomane in her ministry, which she admits can be a challenging journey.

 

"I feel like most of my questions are answered through this conference, and I really appreciate (the leaders) understanding our needs as pastors," Ngomane said. "It is by God's grace that we have such a leadership that is able to listen to people and address the needs of their people at the right time."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART OF A TEAM 

Believers from various countries, cultures and languages were united in a shared identity.   

 

"I think more than anything, having that sense that we're part of a movement that's bigger than us and seeing brothers and sisters in Christ who are serving passionately ... allows us then to be sent back home with a new kind of identity and energy than when we came before," Dr. Daniels said.

 

At the conference Dr. Duarte introduced Nazarene Essentials, a new effort by the Church to educate believers about the denomination's core beliefs and values.

  

Learning about the vision and identity of the Nazarene Church helped Equatorial Guinea District Superintendent Daniel Mifume Ecuna feel more connected, he said. Ministering in Africa's only Spanish-speaking country is isolating at times, he said, but spending time with other believers and church leaders at the conference made him feel like he was part of a bigger team.  

 

Questions about the Church's values and identity were also addressed during two question-and-answer sessions with Africa's six Field Strategy Coordinators. Participants were anxious to learn more about the Church's stance on topics like divine healing, prayer practices that involve slaying in the Spirit, homosexuality, polygamy, worship styles and churches' struggles to pay pastors.

 

Many people expressed appreciation for these meaningful conversations, Dr. Chambo said.

 

"I was encouraged and revived in many ways," he said. "I am absolutely proud of the church in Africa."  

 

 

  
Click here to a view a photo gallery of the conference.

Watch a clip of the joyful time of worship.

 

 
PREPARE THE WAY
At the conference, three videos were shown to explain what the vision of "Prepare the Way" means and to demonstrate how God is powerfully working in Africa. Watch the videos here.

The meaning of holiness

One of the core values of the Nazarene Church is living a life of holiness. Church leaders in Africa share what that means to them:
Pastor Dawie De Koker
Agape Church of the Nazerene Rustenburg, South Africa
 
"I love the message of our Church: holiness. Holiness is perfect love. Jesus loved me when I was still a sinner. He got me when I was in a mess, and he changed my life. If I want to live a holy life, I must love other people where they are, in their mess, and bring Jesus to them that they can change and experience the perfect and complete love of Jesus through me. And that's a holy life."

  

 

 

Dr. Filimao Chambo
Africa Regional Director
 
"Holiness is obedience to God. The beauty of holiness is that I am in a covenant with the Lord, and as I walk with him, he continuously shapes me and teaches me what it means to be like Jesus Christ."

  

 

   

 

 

  

John Yual Nguth 
Mission Coordinator, South Sudan
"The message of holiness for me is a holistic ministry. We need to feed both the spiritual and physical needs of human beings. ... While I was in Bible College, I had a vision of going back to South Sudan. People were dying because of disease, because of war, because of lack of food. I did not have anything to bring to them. But I said, I have something that I can really share with them: that is the love of God, the hope that I find in Jesus, because I'm a part of that hope. So I decided to go back to share the same hope, this message of holiness with my people."

 

 

 

Rev. Dany Gomis 
Field Strategy Coordinator 
 Africa West Field

"When we talk about preparing the way, we're talking about having the men and women of God ready for Christ to come. But also preparing the people of God and those who don't know God so that everybody can be ready for his coming. That's the power of the Gospel. God brings simple men and women, and that's what I see all over - simple men and women who do just amazing things."

 

  

 

Note: Quotes and images were taken from the "Prepare the Way" videos made by Derek Bowshier for The Church of the Nazarene Africa Regional Conference.   Click here to watch the videos.
 
ABOUT THE REGION  About 
T he Nazarene Church is in 42 countries in Africa, with more than 600,000 members in six fields. 

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Holly Beech, editor