Africa

Here come the Africans!

The Africans are coming. No they’re already here.

There are six African church plants in our home city of Leicester, England from just one movement of Nigerians. A few weeks ago we began training them in how to reach the city. They want us back again next week.

Philip Jenkins is writing a new book on demographic trends and religious faith. Here are some highlights of he’s written so far on the impact of fertility and faith in Africa:

By 2100 Africans will make up 40% of the world’s population.

In 1900, there were three Europeans for every African. By 2050, there should be three Africans for every European. That figure, incidentally, is misleading in one way, as many of the “Europeans” in 2050 will in fact be of African descent. By some projections, the African share of global population by 2100 could be 40 percent.

By 2050, six of the world’s 20 most populous nations will be on the African continent — Ethiopia, Nigeria, Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, and Niger.

In 1950, the combined population of these nine nations was around 100 million, rising to almost 400 million by 2000. By 2050, they will have a combined population of 1.2 billion. That would represent a twelvefold increase in raw numbers in just a century.

Africa is now home to some of the world’s largest Christian and Muslim communities.

In 1900, Africa had substantial Muslim and Christian populations, with Muslims strongly in the majority. During the 20th century, both groups grew substantially, partly by demographic expansion, but also through evangelism and conversion. About half of black Africans joined one of the great monotheistic faiths, and they favored Christianity over Islam by a rate of 4-to-1.

 According to Jenkins, what happens in Africa is very unlikely to stay in Africa.

Training church planters in Madagascar

The vision of our team is primarily to raise up godly leaders, church leaders to see a multiplication of disciple making churches throughout southern Africa into the world.

Karl Teichert

OC International 

Karl Teichert tells the story of how OC International is training church planters in Madagascar.

Looking for a house of peace in Gisambai

Russell Godward

Russell Godward

A story from our latest newsletter

I was in Kenya to train fifty young Africans how to spark movements that multiply disciples and churches. Russell Godward, a church leader from England came with me.

On the first day, Russell grabbed two Kenyans, Louis and Ken and took the gravel road into the town of Gisambai looking for “a house of peace” (Luke 10:1-11).

They struck up a conversation with two young men outside the “boda-boda” (motor-cycle) station where you can pick up a motorbike taxi.

The two men thought it was a great joke that a white Englishmen and two Kenyans wanted to pray for them. Soon they settled down.

Both hadn’t worked in a long time. They were drinking and using drugs. One was going to court to face a serious charge. He told them he was innocent.

more…

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The gospel works in Kisumu UPDATED

Trainees sharing the gospel in Kisumu

Trainees sharing the gospel in Kisumu

I’m in Kisumu, Kenya this week training 50 young Africans to multiply disciples and churches.

We took a long lunch and went out looking for people and houses of peace. Some of the brothers were invited back to visit the two young men and meet their families.

The wives were believers, but the husbands were far from God. Our trainees led the men to Christ using the 3Circles gospel presentation.

Tomorrow they will return to the home to begin the first lesson in discipleship — Repent and Believe: the Story of Zacchaeus.

UPDATE: The trainees are out again this lunchtime looking for houses of peace. Four houses have already opened up for a return visit — either to share the gospel or begin discipleship lessons. Tomorrow is our last day of training, but local workers will continue the discipleship.

The top 20 countries where Christianity is growing the fastest

20 Countries where Christianity growing fastest

I’ve just stumbled on this report from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity.

They identified the top 20 countries that have the highest percentage Christianity Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR). The number of years for the number of Christians to double, based on the Average Annual Growth Rate has also been calculated.

Top 20 countries where Christianity is growing fastest table

Notice a few things:

  • 19 of the countries in the top 20 are in Asia and Africa.
  • 11 countries on the top 20 list are Muslim majority countries.
  • not a single country from Europe, Northern America or Latin America makes the top 20 list
  • the highest Christian growth rates are found among all major non-Christian religious groups: Hindus, Non-Religious, Buddhists, Muslims and Ethno-religionists (Benin and South Sudan)?
  • the majority of the top 20 countries are clustered in three areas: Eastern Asia, Western Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
I’m amazed by the figures out of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Bahrain,Yemen and Kuwait. Obviously the percentage increase is off a small base. Does anyone know if this growth is among Arabs or is it among migrant workers?
 
An interesting omission is Iran. I keep hearing stories of Iranians coming to Christ both in Iran and among the Iranian diaspora. Perhaps the growth has picked up since the report was written.
 
There is also some amazing growth among the people of north India. I’d like to see a list of the top 50 countries.
 
(Thanks to Grant Morrison for the heads up.)

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Tomas for providing this link to more details from the report. Table 3 shows the impact of immigration on the growth of Christianity in Arab Muslim countries. So some good news, but the figures look much better than they are.
 
Related:

West Africa

IMG_2580.jpg

One thing travel does to me is remind me of the magnitude of the task of discipling the nations. Nigeria is country of 170 million people. Half of them are muslim. One in five Africans on the planet is a Nigerian.

Africa is an immense continent. If we begin with the end in mind we just don’t have the people, the money or the time to reach Africa with the methods of the past. Whatever methods we use must be low cost, simple, reproducing, and indigenous. Africans — dependent on the Word and the Spirit — must reach Africa.

The good news is that we already have some impressive disciple making movements in Africa. I’ve just finished reading Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus by Jerry Trousdale, an account of movements of muslim background believers in West Africa.

When someone labels these movements in Africa as “half a mile wide and half an inch deep” I like to ask them whether they are really describing the modern-postmodern church in the affluent West.

These movements take discipleship seriously. They don’t disciples converts, they disciple to conversion. Discipleship leads to conversion and continues beyond it. Simple groups gathered around the Word, learning to obey Jesus.

The case studies are African, but the principles are universal. The same radical dependency on the Word and the Spirit is yielding fruit all around the world.

West Africa

IMG_2580.jpg

One thing travel does to me is remind me of the magnitude of the task of discipling the nations. Nigeria is country of 170 million people. Half of them are muslim. One in five Africans on the planet is a Nigerian.

Africa is an immense continent. If we begin with the end in mind we just don’t have the people, the money or the time to reach Africa with the methods of the past. Whatever methods we use must be low cost, simple, reproducing, and indigenous. Africans — dependent on the Word and the Spirit — must reach Africa.

The good news is that we already have some impressive disciple making movements in Africa. I’ve just finished reading Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus by Jerry Trousdale, an account of movements of muslim background believers in West Africa.

When someone labels these movements in Africa as “half a mile wide and half an inch deep” I like to ask them whether they are really describing the modern-postmodern church in the affluent West.

These movements take discipleship seriously. They don’t disciples converts, they disciple to conversion. Discipleship leads to conversion and continues beyond it. Simple groups gathered around the Word, learning to obey Jesus.

The case studies are African, but the principles are universal. The same radical dependency on the Word and the Spirit is yielding fruit all around the world.