Editor’s note: I had the privilege of meeting G. Randall Bond, M.D.Â at Urbana12.Â Randy was one of a number of people who visited the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) booth to shareÂ not onlyÂ a vision for, but also a commitment to next steps in “academics-as-mission.” A hearty “Thank-you!” to Randy for sharing his passion with theÂ Emerging Scholars Network via our blog.Â I encourage our readers to share their thoughts/insights on the topic with Randy. He truly enjoys engaging inÂ Transformative ConversationsÂ andÂ I am hoping for the Emerging Scholars Network to be on the cutting edge of larger “academics-as-mission” conversations in a number of contexts in preparation forÂ Urbana15. To God be the glory!Â ~ Thomas B. Grosh IV, Associate Director ofÂ ESN, editor of ESNâ€™sÂ blogÂ andÂ Facebook Wall.
The case for academics to consider â€œacademics-as-missionâ€ in sub-Saharan Africa.
The call to Christian missions in Africa in the 21st Century is quite different than even 40 years ago. The Holy Spirit is now primarily using Africans to advance Christâ€™s church in Africa. But our brothers and sisters are still in great need. African church leaders are asking for help in transforming their communities â€” through development, not charity. But development is not just about village based projects and micro-enterprise loans.
Before the turn of the 21st century university education was de-emphasized across Africa in favor of primary education. But the population of sub-Saharan Africa has almost tripled in the last 40 years. More Africans than ever are completing secondary education. The number seeking university education is up from 1% of the population in 1970 to 6% today â€” though this number varies country to country.
It is now understood that rapidly expanding economies also need university graduates â€” for government, for business and as professionals. Therefore private and public universities in Africa are starting and expanding at an incredible pace. Between 2000 and 2011 the number of institutions recognized by the Inter-University Council for East Africa almost tripled â€” from 33 to 87. In this context it is impossible for qualified AfricanÂ faculty to fill the needed teaching positions, especially in fields where advanced training has been limited, government and the private sector compete for limited talent and the â€œbrain-drainâ€ has taken potential faculty out of Africa. Consequently, there is great need for expatriate professors.
I believe that Godâ€™s grace to us, spiritually and materially, calls us to participate in responding to this need. One option is to get personally involved as a professor helping to educate the next generation of doctors, nurses, business leaders,Â entrepreneurs, engineers, architects,Â secondary teachers, university professors, lawyers and political leaders. [Read more…] about A missionary calling to Africa for Christian academics: Part 1