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6 Comparisons with Africa

This is a big PLI week.

Thanks to the generous support of churches and individuals…

  • Leadership Essentials starts in Lincoln, NE, today!
  • Leadership Essentials Year 2 starts today in Paraguay!
  • Catalyst Events were hosted in Norfolk, NE, and Lincoln, NE, this week offering a hopeful path forward.
  • Multipli just launched a new Genesis Leader cohort. And 1,000 Young Leaders also boasts a large cohort that will start soon.
  • Next week, Senior Leader gathers in Tampa for a deep dive into leading high performing teams.
  • We’re exploring new training in Malawi and Zambia. 

You already know the church in Africa is growing very fast, from 10 million in 1900 to 1.3 billion in 2025. It’s so important that indigenous leaders can be offered biblical leadership training to lead well for the sake of the mission. 

Africa Christian Church Growth

(Do any of you remember gathering special offerings in years past to support some remote mission work in Africa? Maybe in your Sunday School class? Today, those dimes and dollars, and the service and sacrifice of faithful women and men of God, is bearing enormous fruit!)

What’s always been true is still true: When leaders get better, the people they lead benefit. And the mission of God prospers!

Dr. Scott Rische, our international director was in Nashville this month and we discussed:

So, what’s different in the African context where growth is so rapid in many places compared to the United States where the opposite is often experienced most places. In other words, why would doing the same thing here not always result in the same result as there?

Here are 6 variables that you can take to your next Bible study or small group to share for some lively discussion. These may be an over simplification, but we’ll keep it simple for getting started.

  1. Unreached Peoples. In some parts of Africa, Tanzania for example, many people are hearing the Gospel for the first time and therefore have limited resistance. The Spirit is working through the Word to bring them to faith with fewer obstacles. Compare to the U.S.?
  2. Poverty. Poverty limits the false gods that any of us can trust. When someone has little, they tend to look to God for more. Compare to the U.S?
  3. Healing and Miracles. God seems to move naturally in supernatural ways in parts of Africa. When you’ve tried witch doctors to no avail and God works a miracle, it’s difficult to ignore! Okay…Wiggle in your seat a little bit and compare to the U.S.?
  4. Obedience to the Word of God. A few years ago, Gail and I sat down with the President of the Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church in Ethiopia. When asked a similar “comparing” question, he reluctantly replied: “I think we read the Bible differently in Ethiopia. We believe that when Jesus said: ‘Go and Make Disciples…’ that Jesus meant that we should all go and make disciples.” He didn’t finish the comparison…. Compare to the U.S.?
  5. Community. In Africa when one person, especially an influential person, comes to faith in a household, it spreads through the extended “family.” Compare to the U.S.?
  6. Spiritual Fervor. The large numbers of people being converted by the work of the Holy Spirit results in a passion that can’t be overlooked. It’s the “I once was lost but now I’ve been found” fervor! Which is different oftentimes than the “grown up in the faith” or “always been a Christian.. So… Compare to the U.S.?  

NOTE: The profound transformation and absolute excitement that I hear in the testimonies of participants in Multipli’s Genesis Leader and PLI’s 1000 Young Leaders rivals a fervor, confidence and resolve not often observed. Without hesitation, I’d put this in the hands of some of your favorite people to sign up in either fully online experience.

We might say it differently, but many of us would say: The world is a dark place and I “think” God wants me to do something. But I don’t know what and I don’t know how…so I don’t do anything.

What if, person by person, we began to eliminate “so I don’t do anything!”

Can we learn from our brothers and sisters in Africa or elsewhere? Absolutely

Can we simply learn from them and always expect the same result by doing the same things as them but in a different culture? Probably not.

Finally, I’m seldom this bold but if you’ve read this far, answer these 2 questions:

  1. What is God stirring in you? (Pause for a moment.) What is God stirring in you?
  2. What are you going to do? What is one action you can take and not procrastinate away?

One last thing…consider joining us for a webinar marking the 20th anniversary of PLI’s international work.

Join us for a free webinar on the Growth and Impact of PLI Internationally on Tuesday, May 16, at 12 pm CST. Register here.

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