A little bit of sitting around makes me think. Firstly, it’s good to sit down. Before I drove 500 miles to get here (relaxing… not) I’d spent nearly 2 weeks running around the bush doing stuff – and that is REALLY draining. However, saying that it can be energising when you see the Lord doing stuff.
But secondly and to the point of this post, is where is Africa headed? It really is the most diverse and fantastic place. It has resources, intelligence and rich tradition going back hundreds if not thousands of years.
What I sense at the moment through thinking and reading is that there is a time of opportunity coming up which maybe the gospel would not have seen for long while in this continent. Now the history of Africa is rich and complicated, with many many mistakes that Europeans as well as Africans have made.
Why do I think there is an opportunity? The opportunity is there to take Africa together in mutual submission and respect, devoid of colonial overtones and politics. I don’t think that it is accidental the the Lord is speaking to many people about this whilst older missions are creaking at the seams out of irrelvance. This opportunity is in the cradle of a very great danger. After decades of occupation, colonial rule and dictatorships there are signs that Africa can grow and get things right. There are people and situations here that work for good. However, there is a growing sense of African Nationalism and African Pride, that I don’t think is too healthy. It is kind of the African version of the thinking in Britain, that says that only British people are welcome or can indeed contribute to Britain. If you listen to the politicians and some leaders in Africa they are saying the same things of Africa. Fortunately we see that as foolishness in the UK, problem not everyone here does.
Why would I see this as a threat? The Christian history of Africa is based upon a colonial model where largely well meaning, God fearing people achieved an awful lot, but it was tainted with a high view of their own culture. We have the opportunity in these days to forge a way of working together as brothers an sisters with those in Africa to bring about the Gospel being spread in this continent. This isn’t where resources come from the west and pastors play puppets to their donors. No! that isn’t what I mean, it is time for White and Black hand in hand to take Africa for Jesus.
Will Africa accept that though? Or will Africa make the same mistake as us Europeans? I do believe that the Lord is causing people to find new innovative ways of mission in this continent, based on servanthood and circumnavigating the simple Western Resource driven model. However, the big barrier is pride in what I believe will be a resurgent Africa. Yes the problems are huge, but I think it can happen. Will the African Church make the mistake of believing they are just the answer (and by the way at the moment by and large they are not acting like it) or will they will be destroyed by tides of materialism, money and buildings from the US, UK and other countries? This tactic of the enemy destroys many a good man – trust me.
My vision here is to make brothers and sisters work and walk hand in hand together to reach what I reckon is over 50% of this continent. Using each other’s expertise and wisdom. I do believe that is the way God intended it to be.
To put it bluntly, we must make this happen together, or Africa may be lost and the opportunity will leave us.