The launch of The Gospel Coalition Africa (TGCA) comes at the time when the centre of Christianity has shifted from the West to the majority world (Africa, Asia and Latin America). Our beloved continent is staring at great opportunities for the advancement of the gospel, on one hand, and formidable threats on the other.
Current statistics show that the African church has grown exponentially since the turn of the 21st century. Looking further back, we are reminded that in 1900, only about 8% of the population (9 million) professed to be Christians. By the year 2000 that figure grew to 45% (over 330 million) and now it is expected that by 2050 Africa will be home to 1,25 billion Christians. The greatest challenge is how to sustain this momentum amidst dangers and pitfalls threatening the well-being of the church.
The church in Africa is ever vulnerable and susceptible to pounding theological waves, unsound doctrinal deviations and harmful practices that stunt gospel-centred discipleship and healthy growth. Part of what needs to be done collectively is to equip spiritual leadership and empower church members with solid biblical teaching and reliable resources, as well as relevant tools and materials that speak to and deal with the lived realities of African people.
Part of what needs to be done collectively is to equip spiritual leadership and empower church members with solid biblical teaching and reliable resources, as well as relevant tools and materials that speak to and deal with the lived realities of African people.
This is a huge task that cannot be done by one or a few churches, single denominations or mission organisations. It seems to me that “coalition” is the way to the future if we are to succeed in strengthening, edifying and solidifying the church in Africa.
Why gospel coalition?
There is a popular West African saying that goes like this: “If you want to go fast go it alone, but if you want to go a distance, go together.” Down South, the Batswana people say: “Khetsi ya tsie e kgonwa ka go tshwaraganelwa.” Loosely translated, it means that any meaningful and weighty or worthy undertaking is best achieved through collaboration and working together.
One English dictionary defines the word coalition, as ‘organisations or people who commit to an agreed-on purpose or cause, to act together to achieve something.’ When it comes to TGC, it is important to be reminded that The Gospel Coalition Africa is not another new organisation in the mix, rather it is a collaborative platform and a space for the evangelical fraternity, rooted in the Reformed tradition; calling the Christian community to a renewed faith in the gospel and sound ministry practices that conform fully to the Bible. It is a networking space where valuable information is shared, and helpful resources are pooled together and made freely available for the benefit of the wider church.
When it comes to TGC, it is important to be reminded that The Gospel Coalition Africa is not another new organisation in the mix, rather it is a collaborative platform and a space for the evangelical fraternity, rooted in the Reformed tradition
Benefits of the coalition
At the heart of TGC is God’s powerful gospel – the message of hope for Africa’s spiritual renewal and transformation. Much of what the coalition platform intends do is to serve in such a way that the gospel is advanced and made known from every nook and cranny – from Cape Town to Cairo, Senegal to Somalia. For this to happen, partnership and collaborative fellowship in the gospel must be prioritised. Willingness and readiness from those who have resources and means to participate in sharing and being a blessing to others is encouraged.
The gospel has a chance to advance where there is concerted prayer. When we pray with fervency and expectancy – God delights in answering the prayers of his children and the Spirit works in ways beyond our comprehension. Our confidence in the gospel and faithful proclamation in the power of the Holy Spirit is likely to result in changed lives and transformed communities. Through this kind of coalition we can establish and confirm a solid gospel footprint of the gospel in Africa.