Transformational Compassion Network (TCN) is responding to the rapidly changing context in Africa. Revd Walter Rutto explains why Digital Theology is so important in Africa and introduces the pioneering work they’re doing.
We live in a digital age. That is true in Africa as much as anywhere else in the world. Mobile technology has changed the way we interact, do business and live our lives. Here in Kenya, we send and receive money by Mpesa, we text to get information on market prices, we speak to our family on WhatsApp, we get our news through Facebook.
Christianity in Africa is not immune to the consequences of this digital revolution. Digital Theology is the study of the connection between digital technology and theology. It reflects the digitisation of our society and the implications of this for our faith and worship.
Like many different religions practiced in Africa, the Christian Church is changing through its engagement with social media, its conversation through websites, and the growing use of digital resources in worship, pastoral practice, and evangelism. The primary premise of Digital Theology is engaging with this new virtual tradition and reflecting on the new context the Church finds itself in. It demands sparkling theological conversations and new approaches.
With the support of APF and our partners, TCN aim to be at the forefront of this revolution. We are formulating a digital curriculum for our certificate-level pastor training programme. This is critical in preparing leaders for ministry in the digital age. It covers topics such as theology and technology, reading the Bible digitally, theological thought in digital culture, online worship, living ethically amidst digital technology, online liturgy and online church.
In July, we organised a workshop as a fact-finding mission for the Digital Theology programme. It was attended by 60 participants in-person and over 100 online. APF helped us facilitate the training. The sessions underlined the huge need for Digital Theology training in the Africa context. With the majority owning a smartphone, they already have the key tool they need.
TCN are grateful to APF for their support in this endeavour and invite any other interested party help develop the curriculum with us. The members of the team may be from any country as we can easily meet together online.