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I do believe Africans have the high potential to be the change agents to change our world! However, they will miss this tipping point opportunity, if they miss the way. My first time into Africa was 1977, where I was invited to speak at the first black-white conference, held at the Rand Africans University in Johannesburg, South Africa. What a thrill it was to observe and experience this melting pot, filled with fears, yet relationships and friendships were forged. This was so exciting that I returned two more times that year.
After that first visit, we hosted 3 African pastors and their wives, who were seeking training from us. We loved them dearly and we all learned a lot from this 3 week experience. HOWEVER, one thing stuck in my mind. I learned that the Africans were so bent on emulating Americans and the Churches of America. What they saw on TV was a wrong and weak image of what a pastor ought to look like. Lots of jewelry, rings, finely dressed, cars, planes and a list of material things. I realized then that the influence of the American celebrity ministers was painting wrong picture.
Africans tend to follow the wrong models. Africans are doing all they can do to emulate the American way about Church planting and Church growth. I realize there is a very high motivation for Africans to follow the American models. It’s money! American groups are very willing to pay for an African presence for their particular organization or identity. There are two huge problems with this! (1) In the US, Churches aren’t growing! We haven’t seen a net increase in Jesus followers for decades. (2) Jesus said nothing about “church planting”, only “seed planting”.
So, why imitate the “American way”? It’s just not working! I’m convinced the spiritual passion and experience of Africans is so much greater than most anywhere in the world. Remember, America isn’t the way. Religion is not the way. Your favorite doctrine isn’t the way. Jesus is the way! Your unique experience with Jesus and your commitment to follow in His steps supersedes all other cultural influences. See Jesus as the world’s tipping point and the world surely will be turned upside down!