The Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI) is a grassroots African movement committed to catalyzing the Body of Christ in Africa to work in strategic partnership to disciple the nations and to send Africans in mission around the world.
MANI emerges from a 40-year history of African national movements and given full expression during the AD 2000 AND BEYOND MOVEMENT era. Building upon this legacy, in 2001 leaders from 36 African countries gathered at the Africa Millennial Consultation in Jerusalem. They affirmed God’s powerful work across the continent and committed to accelerate the advance of the Gospel through networking and collaboration. This gathering gave birth to a continental network called the Movement for African National Initiatives.
In 2003, MANI convened a consultation on AFRICAN INDIGENOUS MISSIONS at which the various issues, models, structures and strategies of African indigenous efforts were articulated, shared and documented in a compendium with similar title.
Two years later in 2006, the world watched as 520 leaders from 49 African nations gathered at MANI 2006 in Nairobi to pray, share best practices and assess the unfinished task in Africa. They celebrated the dynamic growth of the African Church and faced up to critical challenges. Commitments were made to advance national initiatives and to cooperate regionally to advance the Great Commission.
MANI flows out of the conviction that: 1) The Church in Africa has a crucial role to play in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the 21st century; 2) The Church in Africa has the ministry gifts, manpower, and material resources to complete this task in Africa and to make a significant contribution towards global evangelization; and 3) Through the focused deployment of the resources of the African Church, we can partner with the global church to achieve the target of “a church for every people and the gospel for every person” in the countries of Africa and the world.
As an indigenous movement, it is helping churches and ministries work together and linking strategic networks for the mobilization of the African Church. MANI has a working partnership with the Association of Evangelicals in Africa and serves to bridge the African Church with global networks and African Christians in the Diaspora. Members of the MANI team relate closely with the WEA Missions Commission, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, the Great Commission Roundtable, the Third World Missions Association and with global initiatives such as Joshua Project and Operation World.
STRENGTHENING AFRICAN NATIONAL INITIATIVES
An African National Initiative is a strategic, national process designed to mobilize the whole Body of Christ to complete the Great Commission within its borders and to send Africans in mission to the least-evangelized of the world. The goal is to see healthy churches transforming every community throughout a nation and beyond. United by common vision and solid information, national initiatives take a unique form in every country and assume a local name, such as Ghana Evangelism Committee, Nigeria Finish-The-Task Network; the World Evangelization Network of South Africa, Finish the Task (Kenya-FTT), the Zimbabwe National Evangelism Task, the Disciple Namibia Movement, and a continental/global networks such Transformation Africa/Global Day of Prayer, to mention but a few. .
Nearly half of the countries in Southern Africa are engaged in some expression of a National Initiative. The first National Initiative in the region was launched in Zimbabwe in the early 1990s. Called “Target 2000”, this strategic partnership involved 60 denominations in an effort to plant 10,000 congregations in un-churched areas by the end of the decade. Intrigued by what was happening across their borders, Swaziland sent a group of leaders from 13 denominations to attend the Target 2000 national congress in 1992. Profoundly challenged, they returned home and helped the three major church associations to launch a partnership called the “Swaziland Evangelism Task.”
The AD2000 & Beyond Movement, and in particular, GCOWE 97, was used by God to light the fire of additional national movements across the region. The Namibia delegation was inspired to launch the Transformation Namibia movement, with significant strides made in networking church, business and government leaders. Building upon the foundation of the Love Southern Africa initiative, The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa helped to initiate the World Evangelization Network of South Africa (WENSA) which serves as a network of ministry streams within the country.
The Malawi National Initiative for Missions and Evangelism took initial steps following GCOWE 97 and the Copperbelt Survey began as a pilot project in Zambia in the years to follow. Lesotho has explored the initiation of a National Initiative and strong interest has been expressed in Botswana. The Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa converged at MANI 06 and voiced their commitment to encourage one another in the formation of national movements.
Each initiative is at a different stage of development. Several are vital and growing. Some are in the exploratory stage. Others may need revitalization. Yet all are expressive of the desire among many African leaders to mobilize the whole Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission within their nation and beyond.
NETWORKING FUNCTIONS OF MANI AND THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- Networking functions.
- We have made our database available to some groups.
- We have facilitated networking among certain groups.
- We have networked with some of these groups on certain projects.
- We have provided resource persons/materials for some of these groups and have received vice versa.
- We have served as a clearinghouse for certain groups, providing endorsement of their ministry.
- We have represented Africa at the global level and have assisted in the African registration process for major global events.
- We have helped the Church to focus her resources where they make the most difference.
- We have identified gaps and have sought to bridge resources to meet these priority needs.
- In which ways has this networking accomplished the purposes of MANI? (benefits)
- We have helped to connect outside networks/organizations with credible, functional African leaders. This has served to strengthen the ANI process in Africa.
- We have been able to guide outside organizations to prioritize needs within Africa.
- Guiding principles.
- Partnerships at the country level do not necessarily translate into partnership with MANI.
- MANI prioritizes the local African church, helping her to take the responsibility for what needs to be done in Africa.
- Anything from the outside must encourage this.
- MANI emphasizes the mobilization of the whole Body of Christ.
- Outside input must enhance ANIs and serve to mobilize the whole Body of Christ.
- MANI is (and will) not become event-oriented. We are a movement of people.
- We don’t want to engage in any project that will perpetuate dependency and outside control.
- We are open to outside resources but to be implemented at our discretion. The African Church has matured and must relate with outside organizations as equals. The message of MANI 2006 is that the African Church has come to maturity.
- We are committed to encourage what will strengthen local initiatives and empower the African Church. Any group/network that we work with must share this understanding.
- MANI should play the role of advocacy within the African Church and a prophetic role to those coming in to help from the outside; the latter need to be coached in how to partner effectively to advance the goals of the African Church.
- We don’t want to control anything; but when organizations/networks seek our help we must make decisions regarding the degree to which we help them.
- Any network that is willing to come to MANI asking for guidance is demonstrating sincerity. We should interface frankly with them, spelling out the criteria that guide MANI.
- It’s all about genuinely empowering national initiatives and encouraging unity in the Body of Christ.
WHO COORDINATES MANI?
MANI is coordinated by a team consisting of a Continental Coordinator and Regional Coordinators. The Team seeks to facilitate the MANI vision at a continental level and works with National Coordinators, Regional and National Church and Missions leaders, Network Coordinators and Task Force leaders whose responsibilities are related to the following areas:
- Helping African Church Leaders and God’s people to understand the ‘kairos’ moment that has come upon the Church in Africa and the mandate from God for the Church to play significant role in the end-time harvest
- Building bridges of understandingbetween older missions and emerging missions in Africa, on one hand, and between the former harvest forces that are becoming harvest fields and the former harvest fields that are becoming strong harvest forces.
- Helping Missions and Ministries from outside and within Africa to explore new and strategic ways of doing ministry in Africa
What Are the Roles of Continental and Regional Coordinators?
The role of the Continental and Regional Coordinators is to function together as a team:
- Catalyzing and keeping the MANI vision – keeping a primary focus on the unfinished task in Africa and the development of an African missions movement with global impact;
- Planning for and facilitating the MANI process;
- Developing policies and the observance of codes of practice;
- Providing accountability and requiring it at appropriate levels;
- Providing encouragement and appropriate levels of assistance to National Coordinators;
- Encouraging and facilitating Regional Consultations at appropriate times;
- Editing and approving special reports to be released on MANI E group;
- Provide liaison with global and continental networks.
What is the Selection Criteria for Regional and National Coordinators?
- Credibility: An active member of a local church, recognized by national leaders and respected by the different segments of the church as in good standing in his or her immediate Christian community. In the case of a National Coordinator a letter of recommendation from the leadership of his/her ministry or denomination will be required.
- Experience: A responsible Christian leader who is recognized in a particular interest area or resource network. Regional Coordinators must have a proven track record in facilitating a functioning National Initiative and National Coordinators in facilitating inter church activities.
- Bridge builder: Prepared to build bridges between God’s people within his/her country, region and internationally.
- Spiritual maturity: Above reproach in his or her testimony; approved by church leadership in the country and with his or her own accountability support structure.
- Vision: Burden for the church in his or her region/country and for the evangelization of the region/country. A person who desires to see a church for every people and the gospel for every person in his/her region, country and the world.
- Team player: Works well with others. Can comfortably interact with others who might disagree with him or her while maintaining mutual respect.
- Leadership qualities with organizational support: Has the financial support base and organizational structure to facilitate National Initiatives within his or her region or country.
- A person of faith: Prepared to trust God for finances and other resources necessary to carry out his or her job description and related activities in his or her region/country.
- Ability to communicate: Must be able to communicate in the regional/national language of his or her region/country. Must also have a capability for email communication and be will to acknowledge receipt of all MANI related messages and provide at least an initial response, within 72 hours, to messages requesting feed back.
- Action: Must be pro-active. Must see that the appropriate action steps are being taken to bring about the realization of the goals and purposes of MANI in his or her region/country.
What is the Job Description for Regional Coordinators?
- Casting and stimulating the vision of MANI in the countries within his or her region.
- Facilitating on-going National Initiatives and seeing that initiatives are launched in countries where none exist.
- Encouraging National Coordinators in the execution of their responsibilities.
- Coordinating regional activities, programmes and projects.
- Being accountable to MANI Continental Coordinating Team (i.e. Continental and all Regional Coordinators), National Coordinators in his or her Region and his or her own accountability structure.
- Mentoring National Coordinators and Regional Resource Network Coordinators in his or her Region.
- Communicating information related to MANI’s objectives to Continental, Regional and National levels of the movement.
- Providing liaison between National Initiatives within his or her Region and the continent.
- Generating resources to carry out Regional programmes and keeping adequate accounting records of all financial transactions related to MANI projects.
- Identifying and recommending credible leaders for National Initiatives and Resource Networks.
- Providing encouraging reports and models related to the MANI vision for circulation on MANI E groups and for publication.
What is the Job Description for National Coordinators?
- Casting and stimulating the vision of MANI in his or her country.
- Facilitating on-going National and State/Provincial Initiatives and seeing that initiatives are launched where none exist.
- Encouraging Network and State/Provincial Coordinators in the execution of their responsibilities.
- Coordinating national activities, programmes and projects.
- Being accountable to MANI Regional Coordinator for his or her Region and his or her own accountability structure.
- Mentoring Network and State/Provincial Coordinators in his or her country.
- Communicating information related to MANI’s objectives to Continental and Regional levels of the movement.
- Providing liaison with National Initiatives with in his or her Region and the continent.
- Generating resources to carry out National programmes and keeping adequate accounting records of all financial transactions related to MANI projects.
- Identifying and recommending credible leaders for National Networks and State/Provincial Initiatives.
- Providing encouraging reports and models related to the MANI vision for circulation on MANI E groups and for publication.
HOW IS THE MOVEMENT TO BE FINANCED?
MANI is primarily a catalytic movement networking and operating through existing organizational structures. As such it is not a funding agency. It is not anticipated that MANI will establish itself with its own office and paid staff. Rather it is expected that those who serve as coordinators at continental, regional, national and ministry levels will do so from and with the support of their existing ministry base.
- Consultations at continental, regional, national and ministry levels should be planned as self-funding projects.
- An annual plan and budget is to be prepared by the Continental and Regional Coordinators for publications, newsletters, email groups, office expenses, seed money for consultations, travel of regional coordinators etc.
- All support gifts designated for MANI are to be receipted and if possible held in a dollar banking account to be operated by the Continental Coordinator.
- Income and expense accounts are to be prepared quarterly by the Continental Coordinator and copied to the Regional Coordinators.
HOW DOES THE MOVEMENT RELATE TO EXISTING STRUCTURES IN AFRICA?
MANI does not see itself as having a monopoly on the task of evangelization in Africa. Nor does it have the manpower, ministry-giftings and material resources for the completion of the task. These resources are to be found in the denominations, churches, ministries and mission agencies that make up the Body of Christ.
MANI is a movement committed to affirming and serving existing structures and ministries as a catalyst and network of networks for the mobilization of the Body of Christ in cooperative efforts to reach the least evangelized nationally, regionally and globally.
MANI’s commitment is to servant hood and cooperation with continental, regional and national structures, networks and ministries called to the Great Commission mandate.
TO WHICH GLOBAL STRUCTURES DOES MANI RELATE?
The members of the MANI Continental team have established relationships with (and to a great extent involved in some of the following) the WEA Missions Commission, Third World Missions Association, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, Joshua Project and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa.
It is anticipated that MANI will adopt the following documents related to the above bodies:
– Lausanne Covenant as MANI’s doctrinal statement.
– Joshua Project definitions and security standards
Note the above is extracted from MANI documents tabled and adopted at ‘MANI 2006’