Children in Africa

by BeckyD on May 30, 2016

There is a massive shift in the world’s child population towards Africa. It is the continent with the youngest population. Currently, 25% of the world’s children are in Africa. By 2100, almost 50% of the children under 18 will be African (=1.09 billion). By 2050, Nigeria alone will account for a tenth of global births! The good news is that we are standing on the cusp of a great opportunity to reach and disciple the next generation for Jesus and in doing so, shape the future of Africa! Africa needs her children to grow up knowing Jesus!

The Children in Missions Network (CIMN) is a strategic network of the Movement for African National Initiative (MANI – http://maniafrica.com). The network is focused on creating awareness and mobilizing the church in Africa to realize the strategic role that children play in the fulfilment of the Great Commission and in finishing the task of reaching the remaining least reached peoples of the world.

At the recent MANI Continental Consultation (8th March, 2016), for the first time two breakout sessions were held on children’s issues. The challenge raised in these sessions was that the church in Africa isn’t leading the way in valuing children. There is a paradox – we love children, want to have more of them but do not value them. The church in Africa has massive reach and a strong voice – we must use it on behalf of the children!

MANI

The whole church, not just those who are directly involved in children’s ministries, needs to think more strategically on how to reach children, the majority of whom are born to non-Christian families and may never have the chance to hear the gospel. The following points were raised:

  1. We need to develop love for children in our churches and communities, giving them the care and support they need to grow up in order to be instruments in the hands of God in the Great Commission.
  2. We shouldn’t blame people who influence our children negatively but learn to take responsibility and step in to take care of them. The youths that we consider to be a problem today were once children; if they had been discipled properly, they would have grown to be a mighty force in the Hands of God.
  3. We need to encourage and support families as they raise their children. We need to develop partnerships between families, schools, communities, organizations and churches to disciple children.
  4. There is a need for us to develop materials that are suitable in our context for discipling children. As Christians, we should grow with the times and seasons and effectively use media, social networking and technology in discipling children.
  5. We must realise that children are people in whom the Holy Spirit dwells and can use and learn how to mobilize them to reach their peers and families.
  6. We need to pray for our pastors and help them develop their skills in loving and identifying with the children.

Participants at both sessions were pleased to be a part of the Children in Missions Network. They were given materials and resources to enable them go back to their home countries and mobilize the church to engage children in reaching the unreached. Regional meetings to create awareness on the role of children in finishing the task are being planned for Tanzania, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria.

The voice of African children is a cry to see children desired and welcomed in Africa; not to be shooed, told to keep quiet and kept out of sight, but to be VALUED. “Please value us, respect us as full human beings. We are here today and now, not waiting to happen tomorrow. Recognize our gifts, talents, capacity and potential and deliberately include us in your plans to redeem God’s creation back to Him.”

meseret June 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm

God bless you

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