Written by: Alexandra Nyoni and Aron Mwasile
Article source: incontextinternational.org

Recently, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released reports on the economic state of Sub-Saharan Africa. In both reports, the outlook was grim, as the predicted economic growth of the region is not enough to dent the high percentage of poverty in the region. The region’s economies together are set to expand at an average rate of 3.8% in 2024; however, several factors including natural disasters, political instability, global and local conflicts, and corruption are hindering the region’s ability to make lasting economic changes. If the economies are set to grow and inflation is expected to decrease, yet this is still not enough to make nationwide improvements, what, then, can the local population – and especially the Church – do to help develop thriving communities?

According to the Pew Research Centre, Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing Christian regions in the world. It is predicted that by 2060, more than four in ten of the world’s Christians will be from Sub-Saharan Africa. With this promising Church growth trajectory, Christians are expected to make a noticeable impact in their communities. Reflecting on Matthew 5:13-16, where disciples of Christ are likened to salt and light, one can grasp the essence of Christianity’s status in Africa. The metaphor of salt emphasises the qualitative impact rather than sheer quantity, mirroring the transformative potential of African Christianity across social, economic, and environmental realms.

While progress is evident, strengthening the potency of the Church in Africa requires concerted efforts. Empowering African Christians to engage effectively in critical domains such as politics, leadership, and business is paramount. Unfortunately, a prevalent misconception persists among some Christians, viewing involvement in these spheres as inherently corrupt or immoral, causing them to remain passive observers. While there are instances of Christians engaging in politics and other secular arenas, the absence of adequate spiritual support and mentorship often leaves them vulnerable to succumbing to the prevailing corrupt systems. To enhance the faithfulness of the African Church and amplify its impact, believers need to be equipped with the tools and guidance needed to navigate these spheres with integrity and purpose. By fostering a culture of ethical leadership, stewardship, and civic engagement within the Christian community, Africa can harness its burgeoning Christian demographic to catalyse positive change across the continent.

When missionaries first came to Africa, many came to help alleviate the consequences of the slave trade, then moved into the realms of education, community development, and humanitarian aid. While these were all beneficial for a season, and cannot be overlooked in the present, perhaps there is a new season coming for African Christians. Christianity is growing and there are opportunities for believers to take up greater responsibility for the health of their own communities. Investing in the training of pastors and church leaders is one way the global Church as well as African Church leaders can invest in the growth and improvement of their communities. Poverty eradication is vital to the development of African nations, yet years of international aid has not fixed the problem, suggesting that a locally empowered solution could be more effective. The education, skill set, and desire is present within the African continent to help itself, so the international community of believers should journey alongside them with prayer and intercession, as well as help in training and resources as needed. If the African Church can make the switch from the ‘receiving missionary’ mindset to a ‘we are the missionary’ mindset, the potential for the African Church to make great strides for the Kingdom of God is huge.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • For the continued economic growth of Sub-Saharan Africa and for the growth to produce positive changes in communities and nations
  • For the African Church to take hold of the opportunity to create sustainable and locally driven solutions to the issues that plague the region
  • For the global Church to empower and encourage the African Church to grow deeper in its knowledge of the Gospel and for that knowledge to lead to meaningful action

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Date published: 24/05/2024

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