Edfri

A Call To Africa PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 March 2009 02:32

title_arrowIntroduction

For many years passed, Africa has been seen as the dark continent, dark in many areas; politicallly, economically, in development, but most of all spiritually. But simply, Africa was known as the dark continent because little was known about it.

This document tries to point out African loopholes and their contribution to missions. It also points out overseas missionary weaknesses in connection to their missionary work in Africa. The same seeks to bring a balance between the two. It is a combination of all aspects in relationship to missions. It seeks to show remedies to the problems facing mission strategies in Africa. It seeks to show remedies to the problems facing mission strategies in Africa. It is our prayer that as you read this article, something new and fresh will take place in your heart. You will catch the vision of missions to invest part of your life in missionary work locally and internationally. At the same time you find the need to commit oneself wholly to what God has genuinely called you into. At the same time, you will want to pour the same blessing to others who are struggling somewhere around the world. The idea also seeks to challenge every believing Christian to be initiative yet facing the facts of life as situations are different everywhere. Most of all, it also seeks to give you update details of what is currently happening.

title_arrowDemocracy in the Church

We are not ignorant that most African churches have remained spiritual novices. This has happened because of shallow milk. They are not able to live on hard food but forever on milk. Most church leaders like to present simple gospels, that the laity wants to hear. They favour the congregation's interests, not necessarily knowing that they are spoiling them. At times, some do that, because they are ignorant while others do it because they want to give the congregation a good feeling as to win their favour.... One of the biggest problems with church leaders we cannot ignore, is that of not being ready to hear the voice of God and communicate it to the church. Some preachers are no longer hearing God. But the case cannot be generalised for there are remnants everywhere. Just as the scripture says, " There are good and bad shepherds of the flock" so is common everywhere, (John 10: 11 - 12) Most African churches are quite advanced in the things of God, though most others are right at the ground level. There are churches with very good products, producing faithful and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ. Africa is not only a missionary field, but it can also be a missionary sending centre. We have capable African brethren who can evangelize other parts of the world. Therefore, it is wrong for overseas missionaries to approach African missions as in the 1840s when it was referred to as the dark continent. Many missionaries have given a wrong image of African churches in their mother churches just because they want to make money and not because they are called to work in Africa. Most parts of Africa have been reached with the gospel, but we still need the involvement of the missionaries on the basis that we are building the body of Jesus Christ together for the body is one. There are some missionaries who are not helping the churches in Africa at all. This is because they are not grounded in the word or have a special vocation from God. They just come to TEST whether they can work here. Finally, they end up being tourists and big businessmen. They have no insight to the ministry. We would rather advice the overseas missionary organizations to be sending someone whose potential is widely known and with the ability they can count on. We do not also want the neglected ministers, retired army officers, hawkers and the like. We are now more serious for we are building something to last and not just performing. African ministers must also be persuaded that our churches are far much grown. Many societies have really grown. Therefore, they should be ready to meet the demand for growth. Regarding decision making and solving out contentions, African churches should also be left to take their own decisions and forums. They should not be dictated by the donor churches or from without, but if anything, be assisted to excel. Many donor churches have ignorantly spoilt the work of God here because they seek to impose restrictions and harsh domination thus limiting the autocracy of the church itself. Financial support should not lead the church into a cage of indecision but to accomplish its objectives, aims, visions and dreams in God. Church leaders must keenly realize that their master and judge is God. They are responsible and accountable for the flock that God has entrusted unto them. Whether they get money or not, they must not corrupt themselves or mislead the flock. The truth is , though we get financial support from the west, they are our co-workers in the kingdom of God. This means we should not make our members a merchandise or sell them for personal benefits.

title_arrowThe Economic Situation

The will of God concerning us is, the rich should bless th less fortunate or the poor. We cannot ignore the fact that the western churches are richer than the African churches. It is good to minister spiritual things, but it is excellent to minister both spiritual and material blessings. Why? Because we are on body which cannot be separated by the distance or locational factor like it is in the secular world. We would say that the western church should not be proud because they support or lay restrictions upon the African churches, and if they do, they are ignorant fo ecclesiology ( the doctrine of the church) which states that "a church is a body". If one part suffers, the whole body also suffers pain.... As a church, we sternly condemn the spirit of poverty in the Name of Jesus. Poverty has held Africa behind a great deal. More harm than good in our churches has been caused by splendid poverty. Many church ministers have departed the work of the gospel as well. Many have backslidden, many believers have wandered away from the truth and they have compromised their Christian values because of poverty. We really need money from able churches and individuals. But African churches must realize that the western church though mother in faith, is not pushing or compelling them to love, respect and serve God with their money. They are only giving a hand where necessary to enable us gain roots in our ministries without strains. Christians and their leaders must understand and learn to trust God. Besides that, giving is the sole principle to prosperity. It is humiliating but we have to talk it out, that some ministers cannot serve God if there is no handout. We need to be extremely careful in the way we handle such situations. We should not use ungodly ways to get money deceiving ourselves that the end justifies the means. Secondly, many christians organisations, individuals who have supported African missions or ministries, have gone home totally disappointed because some African brothers have messed up and mishandled their finances. This is an issue and an error that most Africans do not want to mention, but we must say it. This attitude has caused a big mistrust and resentment. As a result, they have becomevery discouraged and also attempted to withdraw their support. But, all situations are not the same. It is possible that these organisations and individuals fell on bad hands and that is why they were mishandled. We can confidently confess that we have good, faithful and committed servants of God of high integrity, who can handle finances in the strictest convenience. They have accomplished much for the kingdom of God. However. what has been seen in Africa can also be seen in other parts of the world, because human nature is the same. We have watched and witnessed in disbelief white missionaries swindle a lot of money for their personal interests. Many missionaries have portrayed an image which has discouraged us and have also corrupted those others like them. Initially, much was accomplished by the missionaries. Most suffered and we really felt with them, others died in their struggle to preach the good news of the kingdom. But nowadays, they are using the opportunity to enrich themselves. They receive a lot of money from their donors, yet little is done; instead, they end up being tourists who enjoy sun bathing along the coast of East Africa. Sadly; they submit false reports to their supporters. Now, what is the balance between the two parties? We need faithful servants of Christ, of one intent, unity of purpose and accepting one another and working as a team. We also have to be good overseers of each other if we all share equal values. Thirdly, many African brethren have been conditioned and restricted by donors on how to utilise funds. We disregard this idea but not leaving a room for misuse. The rich should bless the poor without any condition. Why? The more they are restricted, the greedier they become. We all denounce the spirit of greed because the bible tells us that " Contentment with godliness is great gain".

title_arrowCan Africans really manage funds?

Absolutely yes. They are completely competent, and able to manage faithfully. There are remnants who can manage better. I managed and kept safely by African brethren as well. They may refrain from fear of any mismanagement. For example, we as a ministry have received a lot of money, but we have been able to handle it rightfully, not because the whiteman manned, but because we are responsible and accountable.

We undoubtedly believe that if one is faithful with the little, much will be entrusted to the same. We believe God for much finances because our attitudes are right and ideas brilliant. Churches in Africa will not be supported because they are poor, but good ideas and visions are also vital. Anybody anywhere would want to put his/her money in something brilliant. Otherwise, no money can fall where there are no ideas, visions and clarity of thoughts.

title_arrowPractical Aspects

We have clearly noted that Africa is a poor continent. Though poor, we cannot deny the existence of wealth. One of the biggest problems facing us is the lack of capital. In many parts of Africa, we have very good resources and wealth. There are good places suitable for farming, others grazing but we have no funds to support initiate a certain project.

Now, how can this demand be met? It is good that overseas churches support African churches for growth especially in finances.... At times they send their monies on monthly basis. Yes, that is a brilliant idea - But the most preferable way of supporting now is have that very amount saved for a certain period of time and then sent as one cheque with a reasonable amount that can help initiate a big project of a bigger value. There are many ways we can do this. For instance, we may buy a dairy cow for every member from which he can cater for the family or buy a piece of land where one can till and supply for the family, or we can start a poultry project from which every member can benefit and several others. Such ongoing project is excellent for even if the support is terminated once and for all, the said person or group may not encounter much problems.

title_arrowThe Cost of Success

In an approach to African missions, it should be understood that Africans like cheap things. Most church leaders are not ready to sacrifice in order to build something to last. We especially give up in things especially when we face opposition. For instance, many preachers have planted churches but of premature ending. The reason for that still remains a matter of speculation among the religious leaders.

Most africans emphasize a denomination. Children alike are taught denomination other than the way of faith. Sadly, you find a preacher struggling with this handful congregation. You find preachers becoming enemies of one another..... Two denominations cannot fellowship under one roof. A preacher is afraid that his congregation will be taken. Therefore it becomes extremely had for churches and pastors to team up in one purpose. Unlike in the western countries, where there are bodies like New Frontiers International, Links international whose aims are uniting the churches and pastors who are willing to share in the worldwide revival movement. It is our prayer that God will make such a vision real in Africa. If we can co-operate we can do something comprehensive. The stable will support the unstable and the weak. The Kambakia Christian Centre is a very young church which out of its poverty , has supported other several sister churches coming up. At the end of the day, we praise God because those other churches will learn to liaise together for a purpose. If all the churches everywhere can catch the same vision, then we will experience a dynamic breakthrough. We appeal to brethren everywhere to pray, and break the spirit of denominational barriers and its hold on the Church of Jesus Christ to the glory of God. Much has been lost through this division. In a similar incident, we have no respect for law and order. We twist the law in our favour. This attitude has damaged many african countries, churches and individuals. Many pastors who know what they are doing, tough administrators are easily disliked by the congregation because they dont want to show obedience in practice. For instance, it is lawful from the scriptures for one to tithe, but if the pastor stands and addresses the individual for the default, they all start grumbling.The only remedy for this problem is having very tough administrators.Be adamant to the truth for by so doing ,we will not only win the favour of the laity,but we will also have helped them to respect God's law. Members have rebuked their pastors in dishonour and in a manner not appealing according to the scriptures.If we cannot respect the law of the land ,how seriously can we obey the law of God? Therefore toughness with much love, grace and justice is required if we are to build something to last. But sadly we have come across white missionaries who manipulate Africans without grace.They mistreat them because they are giving them certain incentives ,but this is not the will of God concerning the church.The church is abody whose members ought to enjoy equal benefits. The idea of superiourity or inferiority complexes should be condemned by all accordingly. Humanity is the same and so man should be looked at the way he is supposed to but not in dishonour. A missionary who befriends and mingles with the Africans can succeed well. Secondly, many missionaries claim that they know more about Africa. All missionaries working in Africa have come up with what they call missionary fellowships, where they discuss Africans and missions. Proudly, many claim they know Africa. They write reports to their mother churches explaining what Africa is like, but not necessarily what it is for that is what they have discussed. They do that for merchandize. They also must learn to be sincere and genuine. Africans are very complicated people, who keep things to themselves. Many a times, they will tell you "yes" when they mean "no" or vice versa. They will laugh and eat with you, yet they are disillusioned. In many occasions you might not know when they are real. They know how to work well behind the curtains. You will never see them in the scene, yet they are actively involved in the deal.Therefore I can confidently say, "No overseas missionary especially those from the west can claim to have known Africans deep". The only cure is willingness to work close with them, entrusting them with some things and wanting to get advice form them in your approach to missions. This challenge comes to Africans along this area, that they should be real and not mysterious. The above are tough and sensitive things to mention yet we cannot hesitate to do it because we dont want to leave any stone unturned within the religious circle. Most countriesof Africa are inhabited by more than two tribes. For instance, a country like Kenya has got more than forty linguistic tribes. Having known the culture or the traditions of one or two of these, you cannot claim to have known and understood Kenyans. Or having been a missionary in Tanzania is not the same as in Kenya. Africa is not a dark continent politically. There are reforms that have taken place within the African political trends. Without looking on the previous years, we are now in the democratic era. Though democracy is not fully understood, the same has geared our level of understanding from one political degree to another. We are able to see what has been hidden and enjoy our rights in a wider range. At the same time we have competent political leaders capable of leading, directing and giving counsel. The only threatening factor of African political procedures is the foreigners attempt to influence our political leaders to make decisions in favour of serving countries for this, but also our fellow citizens. Some political leaders after failing to achieve their personal political interests call for assistance from without, other than solving their problems and differences locally. African political leaders should as well learn to trust their own discretion other than liaising with foreigners very far away. Africans have one big problem, they believe that everything foreign is good, but the real sense, everything that glitters is not gold. We must learn to be patriotic and indigenous as well. We have potentials that can produce promising results. Brieflly, we have known what pertains to us in relation to the state. Last and not the least, we have GOOD NEWS for you. Our centre is operating as a Missionary Consultant Centre. We are about to give counsel, direction, guidance to those missionaries who feel God has genuinely called them to serve in Africa. If you are interested you may contact us by our addresses and we will help you to accomplish your vision here. We have advised many missionaries and they are now experiencing success in their ministries and we praise God for that. Now we are committed to help our friends from all over the world to initiate something out of nothing. May God bless you as the blessing and understanding of this article will never leave you the same. NB: EDFRI INTERNATIONAL, a Kenyan based International Christian Organisation has assisted many oversees Christian organisations, individuals and NGOS with missions at heart for the vast continent. We also provide consultancy to local and international church organisation based on practical research and with all fairness!

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 14:56
 

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