The spontaneous and rapid growth of indigenous African Christianity, especially in South Africa, has undermined the appropriateness of the term "mainline" for the traditional, denominational churches in the area. Some of these churches lost more than 25% of their membership in the period 1980-1990, while membership of the indigenous chuches increased by a similar percentage in the same period.
The contributions to this volume are based on grassroots research and each one treats some significant aspect within the life and work of this vast, self-motivating movement, a movement largely ignored for over a century by western-oriented Christianity. The work of these researchers clearly indicates how it is that African indigenous churches, with their holistic approach to religion - a feature of traditional African religion - serve as such a dynamic vehicle in effectively addressing the needs of their flocks. The essays also focus on issues faced by these churches within their own church context.