In 2002, the Africa Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA) Executive Committee mandated that a doctoral program be started on the continent. Key factors in the decision to move forward with the development of this new program were as follows:
- The growth of the African church requires capable and qualified leaders to address the growing challenges. The training of ministers at all levels of education is essential. Therefore, AAGA mandated doctoral-level training to assist in meeting increasing leadership requirements.
- AAGA leaders desired a doctoral program that embodies a high view of Scripture and shares the values inherent within the Pentecostal tradition.
- The African Assemblies of God (AG) Masters programs, the first beginning in 1994, had matured to the point of having graduated a significant number of highly qualified key church leaders. Many of these graduates, having earned theological masters degrees, were now ready for further training to help them lead in the twenty-first century.
- The number of experienced ministers holding doctoral degrees, both from African churches and from AGWM-Africa, had increased to the point that a doctoral program staffed jointly by African-related personnel was now possible.
Several key AAGA events led to the establishing of the doctoral program in Africa. First, an African Doctoral Graduate Outcomes Profiling Survey was conducted at the AAGA General Assembly in Cape Town in October 2002. This survey laid the foundations for the continent-wide church leadership research needed for establishing the program. This event was followed by a dialogue between interested African and AGWM missionary respondents. This was facilitated by Africa Theological Training Service (ATTS) and conducted by Rev. Don Corbin, Regional Director of the US Assemblies of God World Missions. A regionally-representative doctoral committee meeting was then held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in November 2003, further defining the parameters for the doctoral program. From there, a doctoral program design committee was appointed and a proposal for establishing the African doctoral program was presented at the AAGA General Assembly in Accra, Ghana, in October 2004. That body unanimously approved the doctoral program and mandated its starting date.
ATTS was tasked to implement this new training initiative and develop its structure. The PAThS Constitution and Bylaws and the appointment of PAThS administration were ratified at the AAGA Executive Meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, February 2005. In response to the AAGA mandate, PAThS began in November 2005 with a cohort of sixteen doctoral students from ten nations of Africa.