APF has worked hard in recent years to amplify African voices. Through eVitabu and by empowering “African Training Partners” to lead and develop resources within their own communities, the charity is deeply commitment to representing the African church. But is there more to do? Dave reflects on opportunities to further contextualise our work and plans for an increasingly African-led future for the charity.

Since joining APF, I’ve encountered raised eyebrows, especially when introducing myself as CEO. “But you’re not African!” is a common response.

This sparked an important question: How African is African Pastors Fellowship? How far is our mission and strategy contextualised and reflecting the priorities and perspectives of African pastors?

Sitting in my home office in Kent, scrolling through photos of past African visits and praying over a map of the continent, I have questioned the long-term viability and ethics of a UK-based charity claiming to serve the modern African church. While we have real depth of relationship, trust and fellowship with our African partners, is there room for APF’s ministry to be further contextualised and African-led?

Hearing African Voices:

For several years now, APF has aimed to amplify African voices. We create opportunities for African church leaders to share their resources and news through the eVitabu app and Impetus newsletter. We also invite African pastors to visit the UK, attend international conferences, and participate in cross-cultural exchanges like Walter Rutto’s current teaching experience in Papua New Guinea. These initiatives exemplify the enriching exchange of knowledge and experience that defines African Pastors Fellowship.

Providing Contextualised Resources:

Our commitment to resourcing the African Church extends beyond simply making literature available in local languages. We strive for enculturation, encouraging resources prepared and delivered by those deeply embedded in the African cultural experience.

I vividly recall the profound learning experiences at the feet of Ugandan and Kenyan pastors, receiving unique interpretations of biblical stories. This is why we seek more African contributors to eVitabu and are exploring the creation of an African app development team to enhance the platform, even discussing potential partnerships with African mobile network providers to generate sustainable funding at no cost to users.

Releasing African Training Partners:

A key strategic priority is empowering “African Training Partners” (ATPs): individuals or organisations called to serve their peers, deliver training, and pioneer community projects that embody the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. These partners are diverse, ranging from denominations and colleges to individuals uniquely positioned to reach marginalised communities.

Previously, APF’s activity in Africa depended heavily on the presence of the Director. Today, thanks to our ATPs, there’s ongoing activity throughout the year. We’re also transitioning from making multiple small grants to annual grants, enabling our ATPs to plan training programmes with confidence. A major conference in Africa is planned for September to further explore this vision and formalise the partnerships with our ATPs.

Towards a More Representative Board:

While our board has always provided excellent governance and support, it has lacked diversity. We are actively seeking African trustees, both from within Africa and the UK African diaspora. We welcome recent additions like Kingston and Rose and hope this shift towards a more truly African APF continues.

Ultimately, my aspiration is to appoint an African Director for African Pastors Fellowship. Now, that’s a thought!