It’s hard to believe that the great apostle Paul was ever at a loss to know where God wanted him to go next. He had already evangelized many towns in what is modern day Turkey. Now we find him on Turkey’s west coast making plans to return east again – but God blocked him – twice. That last night he had what today we call the Macedonian vision (Acts 16:9). A man from a region just north of Greece appeared to him saying “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Paul obeyed “… concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” This was Step 1 – the moment in history that the gospel of Jesus Christ first came to Europe.
Step 2: A few years before Paul, the Ethiopian eunuch was saved and baptized by Philip after he visited Jerusalem (Acts 8:26-40). No-one really knows how far the gospel penetrated Africa after that but it took another 1800+ years before believers in Europe were awakened by the same Lord to take the same gospel to the continent of Africa. Dr. David Livingstone and a host of other dedicated missionaries have testified that Africa was both spiritually dark but desperately hungry for God – a combination that would produce a profound spiritual harvest in the centuries that followed.
Step 3: Over the years Africa has changed from a continent of independent tribal nations to colonies of Europe and now independent nations on the world stage. The African people have been exploited by believer and unbeliever alike in the 18th and 19th centuries but their spiritual yearnings have always been the same as every other human being. We have lasting testimony to their deep spiritual yearnings in what today we call ‘negro spirituals’. In this post-colonial and post-missionary age, Africans have proven how effective they are at fulfilling Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world”. Africa has undergone a spiritual revival in the last 100 years and it is showing no signs of dying down. See this interesting clip and this chart too. Today, we have more believers in Africa than in North America and more evangelicals than in Europe.
Step 4: The “Help us” message is different today. Africans are evangelizing Africans and, increasingly, qualified Africans are teaching Africans too. It’s easy to see that the Lord has been true to His word that the gates of hades will not prevail against the expansion of His kingdom. But the need to transform baby believers into mature Christ followers is desperate.
Here are some sobering numbers. The resources (institutions and teachers) are in such short supply it would be a little overwhelming if we were not confident the Holy Spirit is in charge.
|Believers||100 Million||24 Million||295 Million|
|Ratio of Believers to Institutions||435 Thousands to 1||6,000 Thousands to 1||8,676 Thousands to 1|
And here are some sobering realities. There are no verifiable statistics that I can point you to but I know from my personal experience ministering in Kenya that pastors bear a heavy ministry load as they shepherd multiple flocks. With little formal training themselves they itinerate around different congregations aiming to establish elders in each location who can care for the flock while they are ministering to other flocks that might be scores of miles away. Mary and my vision is to train and equip these pastors and to cast a vision for developing robust leadership in each church who in turn can minister to their local congregations and, in God’s time, will become local pastors themselves.
We would love for you to partner with us in this magnificent venture to build up the body of Christ not only in Kenya but in the whole of Africa. Yes, we will have students from many different African nations. Here is where you can make your support pledge today.