Phenomenal Growth of Missions in Africa

Peter_Tarantal“In 1900, it is estimated that there were about 7.5 million Christians on the continent of Africa. Today, there are about 500 million, out of a population of around a billion people!”

Addressing the second TWR Africa International Partners Conference (AIPC), Peter Tarantal, past National Director of Operation Mobilisation (OM) of South Africa and currently heading up the Emerging Missions Movement of OM, tackled the session titled, Understanding the African Mission Field.

He first laid the groundwork of missions in Africa by clarifying the misunderstanding that “Christianity is not a ‘western religion’ as some people assert. The notion that the gospel only came to Africa with the arrival of western missionaries is wrong, because church history shows that even from New Testament times, Africa has played an important role in shaping the Christian faith.”

Peter has found that, “African Christians are coming to realize that they are equal partners with all believers, and that the mission mandate applies to them as much as to any other Christian. Many Africans are getting involved in missions.”

Even though growth in the Christian church in Africa has been minimal for many centuries, over the past 100 years the growth has been phenomenal. But he cautions that “one of the greatest challenges facing Christian leaders today is to tell people, ‘now you are a Christian, this is what you have to do; this is how you must live.’”

He adds that while the church is growing rapidly, “One of our problems is that we are too product orientated; we have been so preoccupied with statistics (how many people have been reached and converted), that we have lost sight of the whole area of discipleship. We need to be spending time with people and teaching them what it means to be Christian. We need to tell them that the bible teaches us that in Christ we are a new creation, and to show them what it means to be a disciple, to live the new life.”

Peter stresses the need for servant leadership in the Christian community in Africa, like Jesus who came to serve, not to be served. “We need leaders who understand that they are to be people of character and integrity, who will give themselves to serving the Kingdom of God rather than their own interests, above all, people who understand the power of the Gospel.”

Peter reminded us that Africa has vast reserves of natural resources. “Political leaders are not known for sharing the benefits of these with their people, but Christian leaders must use the resources of the Church for the benefit of the whole continent and the world.”

Source: TWR Africa

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