Over the next several weeks, the ScholarLeaders Prayer Community will be interceding for Christian leaders from Anglophone Africa. Geographically, culturally, and religiously diverse, the 22 African countries that list English as an official language span the continent, from Kenya and Tanzania in the east to Sierra Leone and Liberia in the west to South Africa and Botswana in the south. In some countries, such as Kenya and Zambia, Christianity is the dominant religion; in others, like Sierra Leone and Sudan, the majority are Muslims. To learn more about Anglophone Africa, visit our Prayer Community page. This week, please join us in prayer for Dr. Sunday Bobai Agang in Nigeria.
Nicknamed the “Giant of Africa,” Nigeria has the largest population and economy on the continent. Approximately half (46%) of Nigeria’s estimated 206 million people are Christians living in the south, while Muslims in the north comprise the other half (54%). Since 2002, Boko Haram has terrorized northeastern Nigeria, killing and maiming tens of thousands.
Sunday is the Provost of Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS), a client school of the Vital Sustainability Initiative. Previously he served as Provost of Kagoro ECWA Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching courses in theology, ethics, and public policy, Sunday has written several books on Christian responses to bigotry, corruption, terrorism, and other forms of violence. Check out Sunday’s 2012 InSights Essay: Does Christianity Have a Public Face?
Sunday is also the co-founder of GAWON Ministries, which provides humanitarian and spiritual care for widows and orphans in Nigeria. In 2015, ScholarLeaders awarded a grant to support Sunday’s organization in promoting economic sustainability through ethical business practices and microloans for women. ScholarLeaders also supported Sunday’s PhD studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Sunday shares the following message:
Dear ScholarLeaders Prayer Community,
Greetings! This past Christmas reminded us of God’s amazing gift of Christ. For my family and me, it brought the joy of knowing that we are beneficiaries of the labor, faith, prayer, and ministry of saints across the centuries.
I am particularly reminded of how God used ScholarLeaders’ donors and ministry partners to sponsor my PhD studies at Fuller from 2002 to 2007. It was a very challenging experience because I could not be with my dearly beloved wife Sarah and our four children: Nancy (now 33 years old and married), Esther (now 30 years old and married), Kent (now 27 year old), and Dorcas (now 25 years old). Your prayers and love kept me going.
For the sake of the need for theological leadership in Nigeria, I endured the hardship. Since 2007, God has reunited me with my family and church community, Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). When I graduated in 2007, I returned to ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos (JETS) as a lecturer. During my time at JETS, I became the Chaplain of the institution for one year. I was then appointed the Academic Dean from 2008 to 2011.
In 2012, I was appointed the Provost of ECWA Theological Seminary, Kagoro (ETSK), where I served for two terms of three years each (2012 to 2017). I left for a sabbatical in 2018 and had the opportunity to coordinate continent-wide research on African Public Theology. As God will have it, the textbook was published by Langham with the goal of achieving the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. Prior to this, I had written articles and books on the violent conflicts in Nigeria. Two of the books are titled When Evil Strikes: Faith and the Politics of Human Hostility (2016) and No More Cheeks to Turn? (2017).
In 2020, God deemed it fitting to take me back to JETS, where I was appointed Provost. I took over the mantle of leadership at the beginning of an extraordinarily challenging year. On March 23, 2020 all schools in Nigeria had to shut down to obey government measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. JETS had to quickly turn to e-learning to keep lectures going. However, lecturers were not really prepared for the transition. We had to train ourselves on how to do e-learning classes. Furthermore, most of the students were in areas where the Internet was either unavailable or unstable.
Due to the economic lockdown, even students who were available for the e-learning classes could not raise funds for school fees. Meanwhile, JETS employs 96 faculty and staff. I needed N9.8 million (around $25K USD) monthly to pay salaries only, not counting other overhead costs. We had to depend solely on what God’s grace provided. Of course, God did provide!
While we were preparing for the second semester in the 2020-2021 academic year, we did not expect Nigeria and the global community to experience another wave of COVID-19. So, we are now forced to return to e-learning. The Nigerian government is already threatening another lockdown. With the present economic recession, raising funds for school fees will be an enormous challenge for students. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on the Lord.
Praises and Prayer Requests
1. Thank God for all the opportunities he has given me to utilize my theological training for the benefit of my country and the continent. Thank God for a successful writing career. Praise God for using my lectures and writings to transform the lives of pastors, church planters, missionaries, public officials, and so on, to the praise of God’s glory. Praise God for the leadership privileges He has given me within and beyond my denomination.
2. Thank God for my family. In 2019, my wife Sarah completed her bachelor’s degree in pastoral theology. All of our children are graduates, and one of them, Esther Paul Moses, is completing her MA in Psychology and Christian Counseling at ETSK. Our two eldest daughters, Nancy and Esther, are both happily married with two kids each.
3. The second wave of COVID-19 has caught up with us. On Christmas day, I tested positive. Dorcas and Nancy and her family got it from me. Praise God for protecting Sarah and Kent from it so far. Pray that God will heal us all.
4. The Nigerian political, moral, social, economic, and religious context is very volatile. There is a high rise in crimes, insecurity, kidnapping, Fulani herders continuing to murder innocent farmers and destroy their villages, bad governance and increasing corruption, etc. The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is very divisive. It promotes nepotism and Fulani hegemony to the detriment of other ethnic groups. The other challenges that the country is facing are aptly captured in a short documentary (2015): Nowhere to Run: Nigeria’s Ecological and Climate Crisis. Pray that God will help the Nigerian government to delight in justice and righteousness, so that our country will be a safe place for human flourishing.
5. This year, it will be extremely hard to raise N11.2 million (around $28K USD) per month. Pray that God will raise up partners who can help us raise that amount and even more for the overhead costs of running the institution. As a pace-setting theological institution in Africa, JETS is very crucial to the theological training needed in Nigeria and Africa.
6. Our online theological education can only succeed if we have stable electricity. Therefore, we need to have a feasible solar plant. Please pray that God will also provide the funds for this crucial project.
7. In 2019, an organization in the United States approved a matching grant of $100,000 for refurbishing one of our deplorable student hostels. We have until the end of this year to raise our own part of the grant. Please pray that God will stir up the hearts of His people to give toward this critical need.
I thank you so very much for your partnership in my ministry.
Sunday Bobai Agang