Most people have a desire to help those less fortunate than themselves, whether this is giving some food or clothing to a homeless person in their own neighborhood or donating further afield to causes in other countries. For many people in the western world, the continent of Africa is a place where they would like to see people’s lives improved.
Africa is the second largest of the seven continents of the world and consists of 54 separate countries. The African continent has a population of just over 1 billion people who between them speak about 2,000 different languages. When you realize Africa’s size and diversity it can make it difficult to know how to give help that will be effective.
Depending on how you calculate things, sub-Saharan Africa receives about $134bn each year in loans, foreign investment and development aid. This begs the question, why with all this money being invested, are so many African countries in such a mess?
Some might say colonial history, lack of accountability, endemic corruption and many other natural reasons revolving around the selfishness of those in power.
My Christian friends would say they need the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus, and I would agree with them, but… let’s look at some facts.
Around 62% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be Christian. This percentage tends to be higher in the countries further south than those further north who, being closer to the Muslim countries in the far north of Africa, have higher Muslim populations. For example, South Africa, the southern most country in Africa, had 79,7% of the population identify themselves as Christian (in some way) in the 2001 national census (the last census to have religion as a question). So with so many people calling themselves Christian, why are things still so broken in so many African countries?
Well you might say, “Many people may put ‘Christian’ on a census form but do they really believe in Jesus?” This is most certainly a valid point – as with other places in the world, many people are nominal Christians who have no real relationship with God and have never had anyone explain the true meaning of accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But many have had the Gospel preached to them and have accepted Jesus Christ and been Born Again. Many past and current missionaries have done a great job of preaching the Gospel and millions including leading figures have been saved! Where, then, is the fruit of this? Where are the changes in society and government that one would hope would flow out of this spiritual awakening? Unfortunately, these appear to be thin on the ground.
I contend that while we absolutely need to continue to preach the Gospel and get people Born Again, it is critical that we also effectively disciple existing and new Christians in how to live their lives in the victory that the Bible describes is theirs. In the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus said we were to “make disciples of all the nations”, not just converts. He went on to say in verse 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”.
This is what we at 418GLOBAL want to achieve by partnering with Charis Bible College to open a Charis campus in Johannesburg, South Africa. We want to disciple believers in all God has for them so that they can live victorious and transformed lives and then take what they’ve learned and teach it to others. The apostle Paul said it best in 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
We need to take the millions of “babes in Christ” and teach them to become mature in the things of God so that they can transform their Cities, Countries and ultimately the Continent of Africa!
If this is something that speaks to you, why don’t you partner with us by signing up to our email newsletter and supporting us in prayer? If God lays it on your heart, then you can partner with us financially too.