THE MISSION OF AIM
Africa Inland Mission (AIM) is a Christian mission sending agency with a heart for Africa’s peoples. We have our roots in a small band of faithful men and women who, in 1895, ventured inland to reach Africans untouched by the gospel. Their vision set the course of AIM for over 120 years, as a community called and sent to live and minister among Africa’s least-reached peoples. This call still remains.
Our desire is to see the worship of Jesus Christ spread across the continent of Africa – through individual lives fully committed to him, and collectively through Christ-centered church communities. Our Lord has done a mighty work in Africa, where His Church is vast and growing daily. But with over 1000 African people groups who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, the task is far from finished.
The landscape looks a little different in the 21st century. Most Africans own a mobile phone. They are on Facebook. They are moving into cities, modernizing, and even emigrating to places around the globe. Africa is the fastest growing population in the world, and by 2050, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 people on Earth will be African. As emerging global forces, African nations are caught up in battles for their vibrant economies and valuable resources. They are also caught up in a fierce spiritual battle. Deeply rooted traditional beliefs and a powerful movement of Islam hold many captive. But the church is here too. It stretches wide and deep but does not touch every corner. Not yet. The ‘inlands’ of today – those places where the gospel is yet to take root – are not so much geographical as they are cultural and ideological. Within the borders of a given country, the Church may be alive and well among one people group and completely unknown to another. Because of these barriers, about 1000 of Africa’s 3700 unique ethnic people groups are still unreached, with no viable witness to the good news. That’s over 300 million people who have little opportunity to hear the gospel, and even less to be discipled as a follower of Jesus. It is for these we labor.
“About 1000 of Africa’s 3700 unique ethnic people groups are still unreached, with no viable witness to the good news.”
Today, through God’s grace, calling, and power, Africa Inland Mission is overcoming obstacles to make inroads and make disciples among Africa’s remaining unreached, wherever they may live – from the center of the continent to the cities of Europe. And through leadership training and mobilization of African missionaries, we are strengthening and partnering with African churches as we together engage the unreached and look forward to seeing Christ-centered churches among all African peoples. We are part of a movement infused with rich history and fresh vision. We come as learners and work in teams. We go to some of the hardest places but we are ordinary people, transformed by Jesus and called to an extraordinary journey, privileged to be caught up in God’s great redemptive work in Africa.
WHERE WE WORK
AIM currently has personnel serving over 20 African nations including some islands in the Indian Ocean. Our work is divided into five regions, Northern Region, Central Region, Eastern Region, and Southern Region, and Diaspora Region for Africans living around the world.
(Note that not all countries are shown for security reasons.)
“…I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” Revelation 7:9
That’s the ultimate vision, isn’t it? To stand before the throne of the Lamb in worship with peoples from all across our world. In 1895 God gave Peter Cameron Scott, founder of AIM, a specific task as part of that vision – the call to share the gospel with the peoples of the inlands of Africa. A call that still remains.
AIM's Core Values
We Are God-Centered:
- We acknowledge the absolute and final authority of God and His Word in all things.
- We believe that our highest calling is to bring God the glory and worship He so richly deserves.
- We are committed to being disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- We embrace the essential role of individual and corporate prayer.
- We depend upon God as the ultimate provider for our spiritual and material needs.
- We recognize the centrality of the local church in the plan of God.
We Are Ministry Focused:
- We are committed to making disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- We are committed to establishing maturing churches among unreached peoples.
- We are committed to developing Christ-like leaders.
- We believe that ministries are enhanced through a lifestyle consistent with the ministry context.
- We are committed to learning local languages as an essential tool for effective ministry.
- We express the life of Christ through teaching and practical demonstrations of His compassion.
- We enter into partnerships with churches as an autonomous, nondenominational, mission organization.
- We hold that integrity is essential in all that we do both as a mission and as individuals.
- We look to the Lord in faith to supply all our needs while sharing information appropriately.
- We cooperate with like-minded organizations to enhance accomplishing our purpose.
We Are Member Oriented:
- We are an organization governed by and accountable to its members whose opinions regarding ministry direction are valued by those in leadership.
- We acknowledge that decisions are generally best made by those closest to the ministry.
- We respect God’s personal guidance in the life of individuals.
- We respect the role of mission leadership and seek to identify, equip and empower servant leaders.
- We value our families and commit ourselves to maintaining and enhancing the well being of our marriages and our children.
- We are committed to help each member grow as they are transformed into the image of Christ.
Statement of Faith
The members of Africa Inland Mission believe in:
The unity and trinity of God, eternally existing in three co-equal Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
God the Creator and Preserver of all things, who created man, male and female, in his own image, and gave them dominion over the earthly creation.
The deity and humanity of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being very God, also became man, being begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, dead and buried, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of the Father; whose two natures continue eternally and inseparably joined together in one Person.
The deity and personality of God the Holy Spirit, and the necessity of his work to make the death of Christ effective to the individual sinner, leading him to repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and in his ministry, dwelling permanently within and working through the believer for godly life and service.
The divine, verbal inspiration and infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as originally given, and their absolute and final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
The universal sinfulness and guilt of human nature since the fall, rendering man subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.
The sacrificial death of our Representative and Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, by the shedding of whose blood atonement was made for the sins of the whole world and whereby alone men are redeemed from the guilt, penalty and power of sin.
The necessity of the new birth as the work of God the Holy Spirit, to be obtained only by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior; that men are saved by grace through faith, not by works.
The eternal blessedness of the saved, and the eternal punishment of the lost.
The security of the believer, based entirely on the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby, as a born-again child of God, he has assurance of salvation and has the right to all the privileges of the sons of God.
The responsibility of the believer to maintain good works, and to obey the revealed will of God in life and service, through which eternal rewards shall be received.
The True Church, whose Head is the Lord Jesus Christ, and whose members are all regenerate persons united to Christ and to one another by the Holy Spirit.
The observance of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The supreme mission of the Church as being to glorify God and to preach the gospel to every creature.
The personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of the body.
Africa Inland Mission’s first team of missionaries set sail for Africa in 1895. Our founder, Peter Cameron Scott, is seated second from left.
Africa Inland Mission (AIM) had its beginning in the work of Peter Cameron Scott (1867-1896), a Scottish-American missionary of the International Missionary Alliance who served two years in the Congo before he was sent to Scotland in 1892 because of a near-fatal illness. While recuperating, he developed his idea of establishing a network of mission stations which would stretch from the southeast coast of the continent to the interior’s Lake Chad. He was unable to interest any denomination in this idea (including his own Presbyterian Church), but he was able to interest several of his friends in Philadelphia in the work and in subscribing some funds. This group formed itself in 1895 into the Philadelphia Missionary Council.
Scott quickly recruited several men and women who were willing to return with him to Africa to start work. The emphasis on accepting these and other early recruits was on their Christian commitment and personal uprightness rather than on any special training. The mission was to be composed of the workers in the field and would be entirely self-governing and independent of the Philadelphia Missionary Council. The Council, headed by Rev. Charles Hurlburt, agreed “. . . to spread the knowledge of the work and forward means and workers as God may supply them. They are under no pledge to the mission to supply these, but merely forward them as supplied.” Hurlburt was also president of the Pennsylvania Bible Institute, which provided most of the mission’s workers in its very early years.
On August 17, 1895, AIM’s first mission party set off. The group consisted of Scott, his sister Margaret, Frederick W. Krieger, Willis Hotchkiss, Minnie Lindberg, Miss Reckling and Lester Severn. Walter M. Wilson joined the party in Scotland. They arrived off the east African coast in October and Peter Scott started making arrangements in the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa. In little over a year, the mission had four stations–at Nzaui, Sakai, Kilungu, and Kangundo, all in Kenya. More workers came from America, including Scott’s parents, and the small group expanded to fifteen.
In December 1896, Peter Scott died, partly because of the extremely hard pace at which he had been driving himself. The mission almost dissolved in the next year when most of the workers either died or resigned. The Council began to take more responsibility for the work and appointed Hurlburt director of the mission. After a survey trip to Africa, he returned to that continent to work and he eventually brought his entire family over. For the next two decades, he provided strong, if not undisputed, leadership for the headquarters, established in 1903 at Kijabe, Kenya.
Expansion of Ministry
From Kenya, the mission expanded its work to neighboring areas. In 1909, a station was set up in what was then German East Africa and later became Tanganyika, and still later, Tanzania. In 1912,Theodore Roosevelt intervened for his friend Hurlburt to persuade the Belgian government to permit the mission to establish a station in the Congo, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. Work was begun in Uganda in 1918; in French Equatorial Africa (Central African Republic) in 1924; Sudan, briefly, in 1949; and the Islands of the Indian Ocean in 1975. Besides evangelization, workers of the mission ran clinics, hospitals, leprosariums, schools, publishing operations, and radio programs. Rift Valley Academy was built at Kijabe for missionary children. Scott Theological College in Kenya helped train African Church leaders. The churches founded by the mission in each of its fields were eventually formed into branches of the Africa Inland Church which, however, continued to work closely with the mission.
AIM’s BEGINNINGS IN SOUTH AFRICA
An Advisory Council was intiated by Charles Hurlburt in South Africa in 1917. The first President of this Council was Rev Andrew C Murray. This Council coordinated prayer for missions, and also met missionaries passing through Cape Town en route to their field of service in the North. The name of Reg Reynolds is very prominent in the early history of AIM in South Africa.
Reg Reynolds and Billy Graham at dinner at Kijabe c1961Reg was born in Australia in 1901 and moved with his family to South Africa as a young boy. As a young boy, Reg accompanied his father Henry on expedition to Kenya. En route, young Reg contracted black water fever at Shinyanga in Tanganyika (Tanzania). He was brought to the Kola Ndoto mission station of AIM where he was nursed back to health and converted to Christianity in the process. Impressed by the missionaries there, Reg went to Moody Bible Institute in the USA in 1918 intending to return as a missionary himself. There he met Zan, a Canadian, married her and the couple went to Kenya with AIM (USA). They were at Githumu for some years, then moved to the Eldoret area and served on a number of AIM mission stations. Reg was renowned as a linguist and a builder and became known as Bwana Morongaro (the man who likes things straight!). He was a pioneer at heart and was involved in many outreach safaris. He used his photographic skills and enthusiasm to produce a number of quality missionary films.
Later, the family moved to Cape Town with their three children (their eldest son had died in Kenya). Reg initiated a Council of Reference of AIM in South Africa in 1952. He was a well-known deputation speaker and he recruited some excellent Council members and missionaries. The first missionary to go to Kenya from South Africa with AIM was Jack Pienaar in 1951. He was followed by Mary Newlands, Peggy Pienaar, Philip McMinn, Lorna Eglin, Margaret Herringshaw and Joyce Scott who all arrived in Kenya before the end of 1961.
After some years the Reynolds were called back to Kenya where Reg was appointed Field Leader of AIM in Kenya. They permanently returned to South Africa in 1961. Reg by this time was ill. However, he did not allow his sickness to restrict his enthusiasm for the work of AIM, and they used their home in Claremont, Cape Town, as AIM’s headquarters, and developed a constituency of workers and supporters. In November 1964 Reg died of leukaemia and was buried in the cemetery in Hermanus.
Before Reg passed away, he indicated his wish that Ian McDonald succeed him as Chairman. Ian’s chairmanship continued for only two years before he agreed to fill the vacant position of honorary General Secretary and Mr Jock Schoeman took over as Chairman. In 1972, Jack Pienaar was appointed as the first full time General Secretary of the mission. In 1978, the ‘committee’ met the requirements of having enough full time missionaries to become a Council.
Today AIM is the largest interdenominational mission which focuses exclusively on working with Africans and people of the close-by Indian Ocean islands. We have more than 800 missionaries working in over 15 African countries as well as the nearby islands of the Indian Ocean. AIM’s outreach also extends to Africans living in the U.S., Canada and Europe. South Africa plays its part in this overall picture.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Welcome to the AIM South Africa website.
We are here to serve you as we encourage and challenge the whole church in our Rainbow Nation to partner with us in God’s mission, especially to the Peoples of Africa. If you are considering cross-cultural ministry in the African context, we will certainly be able to assist and guide you in your journey. Please don’t hesitate to connect with our office staff.
Our purpose is to obey the Lord’s command in making disciples of all nations, especially the Peoples of Africa. We dream and desire to see Christ Followers among as many of the nearly one thousand unreached people groups in Africa. Our priority is unreached people groups who are yet to hear about Jesus Christ. We need devoted and dedicated Followers of Christ to live among or in close proximity to these people groups, who will be intentional in sharing the Good News of Jesus. We also urgently need people to pray and support those who are willing to be obedient to our mission of “Christ Centred Churches among all African Peoples.”
Kathy is South African, serving with all her heart in our Personnel department.
South Africa Office is a ministry. The team is composed of volunteers and staff working together at a job that’s much more than just a job. The team is a broad mix of skills, personality, and experience; sharing a common vision for ministry.