The need of the academy in the Global South is so significant, the Network does not actively seek projects outside of our mission. However, opportunities to benefit the Church in the form of projects tangential to our core work are weighed. If they are impactful, flow into our core work, and leverage our strengths (a large collection of high-quality books and low-cost logistics capabilities) we give them serious consideration.
Recently, one such 'irresistible' opportunity presented itself through a visiting partner.
On March 12, 2019, we were blessed to receive Mussa Magwasela at the Network’s Global Distribution Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan (pictured below). Mussa, the Archbishop of Tanzania's African Inland Church, oversees 2,000 churches. We thought it was an interesting coincidence that he would arrive within a few months of our scheduled shipment to Tanzania.
When asked about the number of his pastors who had enough training to appreciate and use reference materials in English, Mussa was able to identify 400 individuals. According to Mussa, of these 400 pastors, “None own a single reference book.” Mussa explained, “The Preaching and Teaching Ministry requires a continuous learning process. Pastors learn through reading and if they stop reading they stop growing. Many of our pastors have limited access to theological resources after college.”
Without promising Mussa anything, we reviewed our inventory from the perspective of these pastors' needs. Between our holdings and titles we can purchase economically, we built this collection:
- Africa Bible Commentary - Zondervan
- Portable Seminary - David Horton
- Evangelical Dictionary of Theology - Elwell
- Pastoral Preaching - Mbewe
- Prosperity: Seeking the True Gospel - The Gospel Coalition