Acts Hq Book Shop

The literature ministry known as Africa Christian Textbooks (ACTS) is the grown-up child and partner of Mission Africa. I lack words to express the gratitude of the ACTS Board and staff for the prayerful and financial support of Mission Africa. The Mission’s assignment of myself and also Pamela Gaiya to this strategic ministry continues to impact Africa for good. I am thankful that Mission Africa still puts an emphasis on theological education. While I miss being directly involved, I remain convinced of the importance of theological education and literature in Christian leadership development. I am grateful for the good foundation I had at Westminster Theological Seminary. I appreciate what I learned from my teachers and also their published writings. One of them (Jack Miller) wrote this: 

The death knell in the spiritual life is when we switch our trust from relying on the Holy Spirit and his presence and empowerment, to things we can see, measure and count. The Holy Spirit is the first one unemployed in a spiritual restructuring and the last one re-hired.

This reminds us to pray for the Holy Spirit to bless our efforts in providing training and books for church leaders. 

Literature in Christian history

Pamela With Acts Board Members Barrister Pius Akubo And Prof Danny Mc Cain

Mission Africa has had an emphasis on literature since its earliest years. The Mission Press at one time employed Nigerian colporteurs and ran 14 bookshops. Later David and Leon Griffiths saw the need for literature and helped many through their book van ministry. Their zeal was part of our inspiration in starting ACTS.

We can go back much further to observe the role of literature in the history of the early church. In Destroyer of the Gods, Larry Hurtado points out, “early Christianity was unusual as a ‘bookish’ religion”. He observes that in the Second Century, “churches in several major cities ... were both producing texts and copying and disseminating them among early Christian circles”. He further explains that at the time there was no postal system. “Christians had to invest their own personal and nancial resources in disseminating their texts”. Today we have better channels for the distribution of Bibles and Christian literature, but this work still calls for us the make sacrifices to make it happen 

Strategic Thinking

In about 30 years Nigeria will overtake the US to become the world’s third most populous country, behind China and India. More than half the population is under 25, hungry for education and jobs, but often frustrated by the lack of opportunities. This is a fertile recruiting ground for radical Islam or a market for the people-smugglers peddling dreams of wealth and a better life in Europe. And in many ways Europe has more. Take books for example. Cambridge University alone has 12 million books in 114 libraries, and adds 80,000 new books per year. In the West we need to understand how privileged we and our children are. We need to be concerned about this imbalance and send more books to the underprivileged. Many seminary and Bible college libraries are struggling to train the next generation of church leaders. 

I welcome opportunities to explain to interested supporters how ACTS is involved in the strategic ministry of training African church leaders. By locating our bookshops in seminaries, we facilitate culturally-appropriate ministry and mission training in partnership with the African churches. By encouraging African writers, we are encouraging the gifts of those who understand and can address local needs. 

Encouraging Developments

Delivery Of Books For Idp Children To Daniel And Kathleen Gula Copy

At the beginning of 2017, I handed over the role of CEO to Rev Luka Vandi. It has been my privilege to work with someone who has been my colleague since the beginning of ACTS (in 1993). Luka and his Management Team are doing very well but they need much prayer. The recent robbery at ACTS HQ was distressing but we are encouraged by the arrest of some of the thieves. Prayers were answered for the ACTS Board as we welcomed three capable new Board members. At the end of 2017, we held the of cial opening of the Lagos book depot. The depot is operated jointly with the Revival Movement Association (EHC). We recently opened a book shop in a seminary in Ilesha, in south western Nigeria. This, our 13th shop, gives us the opportunity to serve the Christ Apostolic Church. CAC has 7,000 local congregations and close to 3 million worshippers. The needs and opportunities are great.

Donations to our Needy Children fund enabled us to give away more than £10,000 worth of children’s books distributed to the children of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). There is always a great need for Bibles and were glad to get access to 7,000 affordable Bibles through partnership with Biblica. Another long term partner, the Banner of Truth Trust, help us with a wonderful discount and also the donation of considerable number J. C. Ryle titles. 

The newly opened Writers Retreat Guest House has been in regular use. We were encouraged by this comment from a lecturer at the University of Jos who is already a published ACTS author: 

“I spent a few days last week at the ACTS writing retreat centre - and it was amazing. I switched off my phones, did not check my email, and got heaps of writing nished. That place is amazing, thank you.”

Africa Study Bible2

We continue to publish new books by African authors, including Preaching the Scriptures by Dr Joel Biwul and Evangelism and Mission by Ben Kwashi We are thankful for funds that have come in for the support of the printing of the Hausa edition of the Africa Bible Commentary. When the finishing touches are put to the inside and cover, we will begin our first print run of 5,000 copies. We believe that this will be a strategic tool for the advancement of the gospel in northern Nigeria and more widely in West Africa where the fledgling but still growing Christian church is under great pressure. The pen is mightier than the sword. 

God can use you to help ACTS

Acts Management Team At Launch Of Asb

In view of the demand for quality second hand books in Africa, we are open to receive donations of books to ACTS. We are encouraging pastors who are retiring and reducing the size of their libraries to consider us. Help is also needed in tracking down special orders.

Finance is needed to help us provide seed money to establish ACTS- Cameroon. We also would like to buy several strong and road-worthy vehicles for book distribution and management.

In view of the robbery and developing needs, we need help to provide new computers and training for the processing and ordering of books through our shops and warehouse. Would you be interested in visiting Africa to put your skills to good use?

Support is also needed to enable us to offer sponsorship to African writers, as well as to move ahead with Phase 2 of the Writers Retreat Centre. We hope to provide more accommodation, office and seminar facilities, and an improved road network to ease access.

Perhaps someone reading this will hear God’s call to get involved short or long term. We need all kinds of people: IT professionals, warehouse inventory managers, online retail experts, theological teachers and editors. Can God use you? 

Desperation Prayer

How burdened are we in our prayer life? Have we become complacent because of the growth of the church in Africa? Repeated attacks on isolated Christian villages have led many to ee their homes. Can we join with them in prayers born of desperation (not despair)?

Pray for missionaries and ACTS staff who continue to travel across Nigeria in uncertain times. Pray for God to use every book and Bible to equip African pastors to expound the truth and expose error. Above all, pray that God will send down his Holy Spirit to use his Word and servants of the Word to bring revival and reformation to many who are “like sheep without a shepherd”.

There is a reason the Lord’s Prayer is such a powerful way to pray. It’s a cry of desperation, seeking God’s power in transformation that is beyond human ability. Yes, we play our part. Yes, we engage in mission activities. But only Jesus can affect lasting change. It’s why he instructed us to pray ‘Our Father... your kingdom come...on earth as in heaven’.