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HIS STORY TO ALL PEOPLE

The 5th AbR Media Continental Convention was held in Accra, Ghana on the 13th – 15th September 2017. This is a summary report from the first day of the event.

Jan Erik-Nyman (Chairperson) opened the proceedings by telling us that 26 out of the 53 African nations was represented at the Convention and also that 7 non-African countries were also present.
There is a task ahead that out of 3529 people groups in sub-Sahara 832 were still totally unreached. This is why the organizers have chosen the theme of “His Story to all People” for the convention this year.

The Welcome Address was given by Rev. Theo Asare, founder and director of Theovision, Ghana. His challenge from Genesis 39 was very clear, as the young Joseph was shown to be 'in charge' in whatever situation or environment he found himself in, even when he was a slave, in prison or tempted by his master's wife. Asare went on to say that temptations will always come to test our character. He concluded by challenging us to be men and women of integrity and that it is only with this at the centre of our character that will enable us to take charge of our work and country.

Shodankeh Johnson of New Harvest Ministries and the African director of City Team International introduced us in his first plenary session to 'His Story to All,' the theme of the Convention. He pointed out that we must tell 'His story' in his own way and not our way. Even with the best technology, without the heart and love of God we would not change the heart of man. Shodankeh pointed out that Jesus was a disruptive person, certainly among the religious rulers of his day. The disciples followed their master in being disruptive in society. We need to start small and grow big.

He said, there are several principles we need to follow as we go and make disciples: (1) Prayer & Fasting are essential. Jesus who is God prayed before everything he did and so should we expecting God to answer. (2) Our serving should be with purpose. Shodankeh demonstrated how building relationships is important and advantageous – the Gospel flies best on the wings of relationship.

After some refreshments were taken Jonathan Ballah, General superintendent of the Assemblies of God of Guinea and West Africa field director for IBRA led a presentation on the 'Buffer Zone' of Africa – that long thin strip that lies between the Muslim north of Africa and the Christian South stretching from Senegal in the West to Somalia in the East.
Within the Buffer Zone there are 667 unreached groups out of the total of 883 in the whole of Africa and 209 of these have a population in excess of 100,000. Some of the challenges in the Zone that Christians need to contend with are corruption, food crisis, rapid population growth, unemployment, poverty, drug trafficking and many more.
Jonathan maintained that in order to overcome such challenges we need to have a prevailing prayer lifestyle and be involved in productive holistic ministry partnerships. Emphasis should be given to focusing on children and youth since 65% of Africa's population is below the age of 35 years.
He went on to point out that we should (1) plan to engage key cities (2) have purposeful and intentional discipleship and be engaged in the positive use of Social Media.

The final plenary session before lunch and the afternoon zone breakout groups was the presentation by Younoussa Djao, City Team International director for Africa.
Younoussa pointed out that we must be intentional if we are going to make disciples firstly by evaluating what we have done before, then change the way we have done things, if they need changing. The instructions given by Jesus to his disciples was to pray - go into the communities as a peace provider - look for what causes people not to have Peace - then serve in the community for what works for peace. Media must look at himself as a service to the community.

The Zone Breakout groups in the afternoon looked into which unreached groups still needed to be reached in the Buffer Zone and efforts were made to plan for future development of actions.

Reports from the other two days will follow….

By: Norman Brierley

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