AFRICA - Mike McClaflin succeeds Don Corbin as the Assemblies of God Africa regional director. McClaflin, who prior to the promotion served as the A/G World Missions administrator and East Africa area director, possesses many skills and talents to supplement the continent's miraculous church growth.
McClafin and his wife, Linda, were missionaries in Africa, serving in Tanzania and Kenya for 12 years prior to the appointment. He is set to begin his duties as regional director from January 1, 2003.
"I've always had a warm spot for Africa, when you live 20 years on a continent, it's hard to get it out of your heart," he said.
McClafin's predecessor, Don Corbin witnessed monumental church growth during his tenure as regional director from 1985-2002. The A/G churches in Africa multiplied from less than 10,000 to 33,000, and the number of A/G Bible schools had nearly quadrupled to more than 200 during his 17-year term. However, Corbin, while rejoicing the boom, regrets the lack of theological training to keep pace with such growth. He worries for many of the schools and churches for they fall short of adequate numbers of teachers and financial funding.
McClafin also experienced many changes and positive growth during his past services. As administrator, he saw the computerization of all missionary financial processing and record keeping, increased funding from $96 million to more than $177 million, and growth of overseas missionaries from 1,628 to 1,841.
Corbin expresses his faith in McClaflin, whose strategic skills developed throughout his service in the military have benefited the World Missions expansions. "The church in Africa will be a powerful missions force to the Mediterranean Rim and the Middle East," Corbin said. "Mike and Linda bring wonderful gifts, talents, experience and vision to help accomplish great things."
"The biggest challenge will be conserving the harvest of the continuing revival," said McClaflin, who served as principal at an A/G Bible school in Tanzania and at East Africa School of Theology in Kenya. "Because of the tremendous church growth, we have an enormous need to train pastors and other leaders."
During the past 12 years in Malawi, the number of Assemblies of God churches has increased to nearly 2,500 from 150. Nigeria added 400 congregations annually during the 1990s and continues to grow. Madagascar has more than 300 churches, compared to 16 when Corbin began his tenure. The A/G in Equatorial Guinea has come into existence and now has its own leadership. Fellowships from six countries have cooperatively planted the Assemblies of God in Niger. Fellowships once divided along racial lines in South Africa have reconciled. The Burkina Faso A/G is ministering to the majority Muslim population.
The new regional director McClafin has numerous trips to Africa already scheduled for 2003. He is succeeded by Cary Tidwell, former director of Personnel and Family Life for AGWM since 1990, and Rick Johnson, former area director for the Caribbean region of Latin America, has been named director for Personnel and Family Life.
By Paulina C.