Missio Dei and the Local Church: Towards a Missional Ecclesiology in the Malawi Assemblies of God

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This dissertation explores the implications of the mission of God for the nature and ministry of local congregations of the Malawi Assemblies of God. I initially reviewed literature in an attempt to trace the emergence of a growing concern for missions in the Malawi Assemblies of God. I discuss the underlying theology of the missio Dei, and review its development at selected points in the biblical narrative. The argument is made that while by its essential nature missio Dei theology is far reaching, it requires that the Malawi Assemblies of God churches nurture this missiological vision and begin to ask the question of what local congregations look like when they are shaped by God’s mission.

Two Malawi Assemblies of God churches, the International Christian Assembly and Area 47 Glorious Temple, serve as case studies from which primary data was gathered. The methods used to conduct the case studies included semi-structured interviews with key informants, focus groups and participant observation which were employed in an attempt to explore the missional self-understanding of the congregations and their constituent ministries and the extent to which this was reflected in the ministry that the churches actually carried out. Also of concern was in what ways the congregations carried out ministry appropriate to their individual contexts.

The findings pointed to the truly diverse nature of the case studies and identified seven dynamics as being key in their individual expressions of their calling to mission. Highlighting the significance of congregational leadership, I then draw on leadership theories developed by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal to present change concepts that may be utilized by other Malawi Assemblies of God congregations seeking to practically foster missional dynamics in their own pursuit of God’s mission.

Mentor: Wilbert R. Shenk

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)

First Advisor

Shenk, Wilbert R.

Document Type





Assemblies of God in Malawi, Home missions, Malawi


Missions and World Christianity


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