The SUM (Sudan United Mission ) handed over Tivland to the Dutch Reformed Church Mission (DRCM) in the early 1900s. Envisioning an independent, outonomous church, the missionaries in 1954 started evening schools to train Tiv evangelists and pastors. The first four ministers were ordained just after the establishment of the NKST (Nongo uKristu uKen Sudan hen Tiv – the Church of Christ in Sudan among the Tiv) on 9 January 1957. They were Revv. Isholibo Sai, Ugo, Annum, and Ayaka. The NKST then had 1 800 members with 3 000 people attending Sunday services.
By the 1970s the NKST was perceived to be the fastest-growing church in the world. Today more than a million people associate with the NKST.
Financially the NKST is largely supported by subsistance farmers. The church ministers to society through 397 congregations, 672 pastors, 1 534 evangelists and various ministry departments.
The Reformed Theological School in Mkar has an extensive campus and the academic program extends to the Masters level. In 2005 the University of Mkar was established to educate students for service and to build a morally sound society. A Bible school for evangelists operates at Harga.
Today the NKST manages 9 hospitals, 352 clinics and 4 health training schools at Mkar (Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, a Medical Laboratory and a College of Health Technology).
The current strenuous relationship between Muslims and Christians in the northern parts of Nigeria calls for a new emphasis on the Gospel. The younger generation needs to be thoroughly equipped with Christ’s love to deal positively with this Muslim hostility.
A few years ago a remarkable shift of focus took place in the NKST. The church changed its name to Nongo uKristu u i Ser u sha Tar – The Universal Reformed Christian Church. The historical name was a hinderance to some, because it indicated that this church focussed on the Tiv people only. The new name indicates that the NKST wants to embrace all people into the one united body of Christ.
In 2004 the DRC family in the Cape region, through the united Commission for Witness, started rekindling a relationship with the NKST. Reciprocal visits are taking place and we are starting to partner with one another on different levels to build God’s kingdom in and from Northern Africa.
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