Namibia is a large territory on the southwest coast of Africa bordered by South Africa on the south, by Botswana on the east, and Angola on the north. The narrow Caprivi Strip extends Namibia's boundaries to the Zambezi River and shares a short border with Zambia.
Current SIM Ministry
Namibia has the highest percentage of ‘Christians’ (90%) for any country in Africa. Unfortunately, liberal theology and indigenous cults have resulted in nominal commitment, much unholy living, and deep divisions within the church. AEF entered Namibia in the early '70s, working with youth of the Herero people group in and around Windhoek. The Herero had been reached with the Gospel many decades earlier, but today are considered unevangelised. In 1981, AEF and the church began work among Angolan refugees along the northern border.
Opportunities among young people are especially promising. Qualified missionary teachers have an open door to teach in government secondary schools. The tragedy of HIV and AIDS is devastating Namibia. The mission and church together are developing ministries to help those affected.
SIM’s Partner Church
SIM partners with the Evangelical Bible Church (EBC) which recently established a National EBC Council, making it a church for the whole of Namibia. Thus far the EBC is found mainly amongst the Herero, Luchazi, and Hambukushu people groups. Congregations are established from the border with Angola in the far north to the border with South Africa in the south. About 20 churches have been established in the north through the efforts of church evangelists with support from mission personnel. Other churches are at various stages of development.
SIM also partners with the Church of England of South Africa (CESA) with 8 organised churches and 15 developing ones. SIM missionaries are involved in theological training in the Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Windhoek and the Evangelical Bible Institute near Rundu. There are also programs of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) in the Afrikaans and Oshiherero languages.
Opportunities among young people are especially promising. Qualified missionary teachers have an open door to teach in government secondary schools. The tragedy of HIV/AIDS is devastating Namibia, and the mission and church together are developing ministries to help those infected and affected, many of whom are young people.
The Damara, Nama, Mbukushu and San are considered partially reached. However, the demographic which SIM considers the most unreached by the message of Jesus' love and forgiveness is the emerging generation of young people.
History of Christianity
The Portuguese touched the coast of southwest Africa as early as 1485, but no sustained Catholic influence was felt until the end of the nineteenth century. Originally part of the prefecture of Cimbebasia in Portuguese Angola, the area south of the Angola border was designated a prefecture in its own right in 1892 and received its first Oblates of Mary Immaculate missionaries after 1896.
The nomadic Khoi-San in southwest Africa were first reached by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1805. At the request of LMS, the Rhenish Missionary Society (German Lutheran) arrived in 1842, followed by Finnish Lutherans in 1870.
In 1971 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South West Africa (outgrowth of the Rhenish Society) and the Evangelical Lutheran Ovambokavango Church (related to the Finnish Lutheran Mission) came together to form the United Evangelical Church of Namibia. The Christian community of this federated church (over 300,000) formed 50% of the total population of Namibia in 1970.
Africa Evangelical Fellowship (AEF) entered Namibia in the early 1970s working with youth of the Herero people group in and around Windhoek. The Herero had been reached with the gospel many decades earlier, but today are considered unevangelised. In 1981, AEF and the church began work among Angolan refugees along the northern border.
Please pray for
- jointly staffed church/mission teams to plant churches in new areas. development of effective church-based AIDS-related ministries.
- youth workers and teachers to be strategically placed to minister in local schoolsand with the churches.
- church leaders, laypersons, and missionaries to grow in understanding andeffectiveness regarding church development and issues of leadership.
- spiritual renewal of churches that have largely become lifeless.