Timothy Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and Professor of World Christianity. His books and courses were helpful to us as we prepared for our workshop on the Global Church.
Listen carefully to how he describes the situation in much of African Christianity:
“The problem is, in terms of sheer money allocation and the global missionary effort, there is a lot more money being placed on the missionary expenditure table to expose people to the gospel than to build them up in the faith once they become Christians. So what’s happened is…the global evangelism thrust is moving faster than the church planting movement.
In some places it’s so dramatic, it’s almost scary. The most important place where this would be true would be Africa. Maybe this is overstating the case to make my point, but if someone said to me, “I really have a heart to go to Africa and evangelize people for Christianity,” I would say “Please don’t do that. Please don’t go to Africa and preach the gospel.”
What? Dr. Tennent are you crazy? Dr. Tennent is discouraging people from going to Africa to preach the gospel? Well…almost. Only because we have so much evangelism going on what we really need is someone to go to Africa and teach and train and disciple.
People are coming to Christ in Africa faster than they can be incorporated into a church.”Transcript from lecture 10 of The World Mission of the Church, starting around 16:58; accessed from https://www.biblicaltraining.org/world-mission-church/timothy-tennent
This obseration does a lot to paint the picture that is driving Christiane and I forward. It reflects the situation that she observed in nine years of living with the church in South Sudan.
There is real need for evangelism in Africa but it is more strategic for us to focus on coming alongside the African church so that they will continue planting churches and making disciples. Our aim is to see that the word of Christ dwells richly among all of us so that the good news of Jesus will go beyond us, where Christ is least known.
Right now we are in a major push to gather a support team that will send and support us as we go with SIM. As it stands today, we need about 35 new supporters within the next 35 days.
Please join us as we we serve the Global Church so that the good news of Jesus will be heard where he is least known. Click on the Together… tab for more information about how you can partner with us.