Paraclete associates Jim and Arline recently returned from Africa. They ministered there for decades earlier in their career. Now they visit periodically in a come-alongside Paraclete ministry. Reflecting on their trip, they write of Five Things African Believers Want to Tell You.
1. “We’ve been doing this a long time.”
Americans innovate and change at a rapid pace. We Africans approach such things a bit differently. Churches in Africa were already established when the New Testament was written. Over the years we’ve seen missionaries come and go. We take it a day at a time.
2. “You have the watches. We have the time.”
In Africa, if we see you along the trail, we will use however much time it takes to greet you properly. At church we are in no hurry to end the worship service. If you ask how we are doing, we will tell you. It will take a while–perhaps over a cup of tea.
3. “Relationships matter most.”
Most Africans are not entrepreneurs, but we know some people here who can make things happen. When you work with us and get to know us, you can see the trust grow between us. That’s when we will take the risks.
4. “We have a built-in hunger for the Bible.”
Show us what the Bible says, not just platitudes. We’ve had it up to here with witchcraft and ancestor worship. We don’t need more superstitions or counterfeit gospels. When we hear teaching filled with truth, grace and Scripture authority, our hearts are pierced. We melt before God’s Word. We want to love and follow Christ. That grips us; that excites us. We need leaders and preachers willing to take pains to proclaim the Bible accurately and boldly.
5. “There is hope. Tell us that often.”
We Africans have not given up. There is corruption, violence, and deceit all around us… and within us. This is nothing new. But remind us we are children of the Most High, and that His kingdom stands forever. Plead with God for Africa’s families, her rulers, her businesses, her rebels, her churches and pastors. Don’t give up on us.