and strengthening the faith of all converts has been the task
which is so central to the ELCT Mission and Evangelism Department.
The Church's Mission has a holistic approach, which is to render
both Evangelism and Social
of the Department on the 21st century is to reach with the Gospel
the fifty percent un-reached people in Tanzania. To receive the
Macedonian call from the neighboring countries. To enable people
to understand their rights and social responsibilities.
is made aware of the involvement in the Mission activities. The
involvement of members of the congregation in Mission work has
enabled the Church to grow tremendously and have stabilized Church
leadership founded in the leadership patterns of our Lord Jesus
Christ. The ELCT is in which the lay persons play a very significant
role for propagating the Gospel.
Growth of the Church
When the seven
Churches merged in 1963 to form the ELCT, the Church had 500,000
members scattered in those Seven Churches. By January 2012,the membership
was over 6.1 million in a population of approximately 45 million
Tanzanians. The growth is due to the effective strategies to reach
the people with the gospel. Some of the strategies are Evangelism
Campaigns, Open air spiritual meetings, teaching, visitation programs,
choir songs/cassettes, Radio Voice of the Gospel (SW and FM), healing
Bible Studies and house-to-house evangelism. Christian Services
are rendered to all the people without discrimination for instace
in schools or health facilities of the Church, etc.
Evangelism is the backbone of the Church. The Church needs to
focus all its activities on Mission and Evangelism. Such a Focus
is a positive response to the Great Commission of our Lord to
proclaim the Gospel to all Nations. Mission and Evangelism Department
was established to meet this end.
has been coordinating the Mission work within Tanzania, and it
also involves Mission work of the Lutheran churches in the neighboring
countries whereby it participates in sending pastors and evangelists,
offering scholarships to the indigenous personnel to study in
ELCT theological institutions and attends consultative bodies
that are also known as Joint Mission Boards.
creation of two dioceses in 2013, the mission areas in Tanzania
are Rukwa, Tabora, Kigoma, Mtwara/Lindi, Zanzibar and Ruvuma. ELCT
operates Seafarers Mission work (also known as Mission to seamen
program) at the ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga, etc. Some Dioceses
have been assigned by the Church to be caretakers of these Missions
working in cooperation with the Mission Department as the Coordinator,
facilitator and advocate.
participates in Mission outreach programs to the neighboring countries
of Congo, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Uganda. The Department
prepares the Church Literature e.g. Hymn Books, ELCT Bible Calendar,
Books of Confirmation class and Sunday school. It also deals with
Christian Education and Theological issues of the Church and Ecumenism
questions. Radio Voice of the Gospel, inter-faith and coordination
dialogue on inter-faith relationship is part of the work done in
Mission and Evangelism Department. The Youth Desk was established
in 2010 to become part of the Mission and Evangelism Department.
Neglected areas of Mission
has to increase the efforts in exploring the possibilities of
propagating the Gospel to the neglected Communities. These neglected
Communities are the fishermen along the lakes and rivers; solders
in the Army barracks; prisoners in the prisons; people or other
faiths, minority African tribes (Barabaig, Tindigas etc), the
sick in the hospitals; workers in industries and factories, street
youths and children of whom the growth is becoming high and most
of them are alcoholics or drug abuse; The
tourists flocking into Tanzania; etc. The Department is preparing
programs to reach the above communities with the Gospel message.
Mission Thrust Areas
is Thrust Approach?
is a sampling model which applies scientific methodologies that
can be justified by empirical data. Customary, it commences with
intense observation and completing with prudent assessment and
century in which the propagation of the gospel is being carried
out is typically oriented by scientific and technological machinery,
which makes the globe a small village. The ELCT found it of paramount
importance to appropriate this relevant approach in earmarked
mission areas with a view to speeding up the spread of Good News
into communities where Christians are the minority, hence traditional
beliefs shape the life style of the people concerned. The methodology
will enable ELCT to measure the
work done at the end of the day, hence prove to be an essential
working tool for the direction the ELCT is to take.
Under Mission Thrust Areas
four dioceses under the program of Mission Thrust Areas. These
include Eastern of Lake Victoria Diocese, Diocese in Mara Region,
Morogoro Dioceses and Eastern and Coastal Diocese. Each of these
four dioceses have designated and mapped areas of operation as
focal point for Mission work for the period of three years 2004-2006.
been done so far is to put in place the modus operandi of the
entire program, by forming committees to implement the program
action plan, identification of centers, highlight the needs of
people and determine the potential ELCT has. The mission outreach
program has already started in Morogoro and Eastern of Lake Victoria
Dioceses. The progress is at a low pace as we got less money than
we budgeted. In Zanzibar the progress is encouraging as the Eastern
and Costal Diocese has taken serious initiatives for evangelization.
They still need support from outside since the area of operation
is pre-dominantly Muslim. In Mara Diocese the progress is still
basic. Mapping has been done and funds earmarked for the work
has been disbursed. We received no response from any of our partners
for the Second phase 2007 - 2009.
with in mission field is to engage in case study of each culture
of the people concerned. The focus in this regard will be understanding
of traditional beliefs, ideology, culture, customs, formalities,
rules, protocol and structure of the community.
the process will concentrate mainly in investigating the methods
the dominant churches in those areas that have been applied to
evangelize. For example the area where Catholic Church is dominant
the enculturation methodology has been applied, hence the gospel
never judge, and transform the culture of the people. From there
we concentrate on the evangelization of the gospel door to door.
Only These Four Dioceses Are Under Mission Thrust Areas?
numerous areas in the ELCT that could be identified and placed
under Mission Thrust Areas. With the limited resources we have
it was prudently decided to begin with few areas.
embarked on identifying these four areas because they had serious
challenges which called for urgent attention of the church. Almost
all four dioceses under mission thrust areas share many things
in common, though there are some of those that are unique and
exclusively related to one diocese. To give clues and glimpses,
the explanation of the Eastern of Lake Victoria Diocese will serve
as an example:
of Lake Victoria Diocese used to operate in two regions of Tanzania,
namely, Mwanza and Shinyanga, with a population of six million inhabitants,
which is 20% of the entire Tanzanian population. Among these people,
only 6% of the population is Christians. The rest adhere to traditional
beliefs and some few Muslims.
in this area depend on agriculture and livestock for living. Cotton
is the major cash crop which most of the cloth industries in the
country count on it as their source of raw material. The area
is also rich in precious gem stones including gold and diamonds.
Fish in Lake Victoria enrich the country in terms of million shillings
expect people living in this area to be better off since they
are surrounded by numerous of potentialities, which could benefit
them abundantly. But the negative is the case. Most of the people
in this area live abject poverty.
how rich the area is, it does not help them at all. They are just
spectators of what is going on. They rank to be among the poorest
and the most deprived people in the country.
Most of the
time poverty always results into something terrible. Being poor
as they are, people of this area most of the time face shortage
of food. They are also subject to disease, mostly malaria and HIV/AIDS.
Health Services is not adequately rendered. There is very little
rain, hence vegetation is not to their advantage. They face drought
and deforestation partly because of the introduction of tobacco
cultivation that has led to massive destruction of tree cover.
beliefs they adhere to, high illiteracy rate and the lack of Christianity
influence in this area are some of the major factors of all these
challenges the area is subject to. In this area they have strong
belief in traditional religion which does not translate their
life positively. But most of the time it leaves them with fear.
witchcraft, fear of customs and taboos etc.
As a result
the area and its people does not want old women, they axe them to
death as they are most of the time suspected to bewitch their young
ones. Old women with red eyes are always suspected to be witches.
A man with red eyes is a drunkard. Men are always spared, women
are hacked to death. The red eyes among the old is a result of using
cow dung instead of wood for fuel because of massive deforestation,
therefore firewood is not easily available.
Mission in Neighboring Countries
of the ELCT is not bound by boundaries but crosses beyond them.
Thus the church participates in mission outreach programs to the
neighboring countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda,
Malawi and Congo. The church is exploring possibilities to bring
the Gospel to Burundi and Sudan. In these mission fields there
is a need to send missionaries, train indigenous people in theological
and secular education, have exchange programs for parish experiences
and support them with funds.
program to the neighboring countries need funds to facilitate
it. The ELCT is able to cover local coasts for preparation of
the missionaries. The local costs include transport expenses,
charges to obtain their passports and visas, orientation and seminars,
etc. The expenses for missionaries while in the mission fields
are always requested from our partners. I will mention a few partner
including LMC, ELCA, NMZ, MWB, COS, LWF, etc. We are very grateful
for the generous support offered to our church to enable the church
foster in mission.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uganda
field was established in 1991. It started as a fellowship group
with few converts. According to the statistics of 1997, the Church
had a membership of 2,364 Lutherans. Currently it operates in
Mbarara Region and Kampala city.
In 1993 the
ELCT through North Western Diocese sent a Missionary to Uganda.
He worked there up to mid of 1997.
trained one pastor who became the Chairperson of ELCU. The growth
of this Church is tremendous but hampered by the internal conflicts
which resulted into four splinter groups which do not go along.
LWF through LUCCEA is working to resolve the problems.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in MOZAMBIQUE
in Mozambique was established in 1989. It started with eleven
converts and now it has approximately three thousand members.
Congregations have been established in Maputo, Tete, Nampula and
is registered according to the law of the Government of Mozambique.
It is also a member of Lutheran Churches in Southern Africa (LUCSA)
and Lutheran World Federation. It has a Mission Board. The Board
comprises of partners from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Tanzania, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, Evangelical
Lutheran Church in South Africa, Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Bavaria, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Brazil.
has five local Pastors and one missionary from Zimbabwe who is
the Senior Pastor and leader of the church.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in ZAMBIA
Lutheran Church in Zambia was established in 1983. The Church has
a membership of approximately three thousand converts. It has six
Parishes, eleven congregations and nine preaching points. The Church
has a Mission Board. The members of the Board are from the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in South Africa, Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Malawi, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Lutheran Evangelical
Church in Africa, Lutheran World Federation (World Service Lusaka)
and Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland (LEAF).
ELCZ has nine
local pastors of which two are women. There are two missionary pastors
one from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia who serves as
a Senior Pastor and the other one from the ELCT. The Church has
few Evangelists who were trained in Tanzania and Zambia.