For continuing discussion on AICs go to the
AIC Researchers Forum
Steve Hayes - Webmaster
An index of all the pages on the SAMS web site
The home page of the SAMS web site
Information about the aims and objects of SAMS and how one may become a member.
The Southern African Missiological Society publishes the journal Missionalia three times a year, with articles , reviews and abstracts dealing with Christian mission.
African Initiated Churches (AICs) are the fastest-growing Christian groups in many parts of Africa. This page gives some introductory information about them, a list of AIC researchers, and links for some articles where more information can be found.
There are several electronic forums for discussing missiological topics . These are available both as e-mail mailing lists or as BBS echo conferences.
Links to mission-related web pages in Africa and around the world.
You may find more information about how to get in touch with the committee on the SAMS information page . You may use the following addresses for e-mail enquiries:
Sign our GuestbookYou are visitor number
to this page since
27 April 1998
Leave a messageThe Guestbook allows you to leave a comment, but does not make provision for posting answers to questions. If you have a question to which you would like an answer, please use our AIC discussion forum.
Click to join aic_research
Sorting out the terminologyOne of the problems with any discussion of AICs is what the initials stand for, and especially what the "I" stands for. Some people insist that it should be "independent", others that it should be "initiated", or "instituted", or "indigenous". People who are not members of an AIC sometimes think an easy way to solve the problem is to "ask the AICs themselves", but with more than 10000 AICs there is no agreement on what it should be. Some prefer one or another, while most don't particularly care -- their denomination has its own name, and they are not really interested in how outsiders want to classify them.
There are basically two groups of people for whom the terminology is a problem:
Researchers often cause the problems in the first place, with their desire to analyse and categorise, though sometimes they are just trying to be polite. "African Independent Churches" sounded better than "Native Separatist Churches" - a term often used by colonial officials.
In spite of the problems of categorisation, however, there is
something to be said for using the various terms for different categories, which do not altogether
Another example is many of the new Pentecostal denominations that have started in the last couple of decades of the 20th century. They are both African Initiated and African Independent Churches, but most of them are not African Indigenous Churches, since much of their theology and practice derive from the world-wide neo-Pentecostal movement.
So the initials AIC could indeed stand for four slightly different and partly overlapping characteristics, and a church group with one or more of those characteristics could be described as an AIC.
Started: 13 August 2000
Steve Hayes E-mail:
Updated: 5 August 2009
Started: 13 August 2000