In rural Africa, dedicated pastors serving in remote and marginalised communities have few opportunities for training. It is a constant struggle to effectively lead their churches and provide for their families. The local church can be fragile and unable to tackle the spiritual and material needs of the community.

Studies estimate that across the developing world, as many as 3.2 million pastors are untrained or undertrained. In Africa, the challenge is particularly stark. Research found that as many as 90% of church leaders in Africa may never have received even a single day of formal training.

That’s exactly what APF are changing. APF fund training workshops like the one pictured here in the far north-west of Tanzania, led by APF partner Pastor Heavenlight Luoga. Only well-trained African leaders like Heavenlight can speak with understanding, authority and deep cultural insight into rural contexts like these.

In rural Africa, pastors do not receive a stipend or salary for their work but rely on their small farms for their livelihoods. Besides covering key pastoral themes like Christian theology, church leadership, children and youth work and conflict resolution APF funded training conferences also help pastors think more creatively about the resources they already had in their households. This means they can better support their families, ministries and churches. APF training conferences are attended by leaders from many different church traditions and demand is high. Often, many more pastors arrive than expected, some walk many miles to attend locally lead training conferences and workshops.

From time to time, APF also fund academic scholarships to enable pastors to study to higher levels. This happens in nations like Rwanda where government legislation requires faith-community leaders to have accredited academic qualifications. APF supported Wisdom Bible School in northern Rwanda, for example, is providing Diploma and Certificate theology qualifications for pastors who have not had any formal training before. Without a qualification like this, their churches would be closed by the government.

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