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If you are serious about growing God’s kingdom in Africa, you need to understand the cultural context; you need to know the challenges you’re going to face. Like the 1st Century Apostles in Corinth, we must not shy away from challenging the established “way we do things”. That is the only way we will see genuine evangelism. It’s the only way to see churches filled with genuine disciples of Christ.

You need to understand the cultural context; you need to know the challenges you’re going to face.

African Culture Is As Challenging As Any Other

In this sermon Conrad Mbewe steps through several key cultural characteristics which form stumbling blocks for the Church – stopping Christianity from truly seeping into the African soil.

“You will appreciate that culture is as relevant to ministry as water is to fish. It’s a context in which you either harness its full potential and consequently get to your desired end a little more meaningfully, or it is a source of ongoing frustration. And consequently – do as you will – you are failing to find any achievement in all your work.”

The Rocky Road To Genuine Evangelism

“Africa is generally very spiritual: people believe in a divine entity, they believe in ancestral spirits who need to be appeased, but it is a mistake to just add Jesus. Christianity cannot just be bolted-on or mixed-in to the African traditional worldview – the biblical worldview stands alone.

Christianity cannot just be bolted-on or mixed-in to the African traditional worldview.

Evangelistic preaching in Africa has to address these things.

The Church must also work to understand African cultural norms if we want Christianity to be more than a repeated prayer or names on a membership role. Building Christ’s church is not about numbers, it’s about leading people to a redeeming and genuine faith in Christ.”

Our Biggest Problem Is Foundational

“You see the biggest problem in the Christian Church in Africa today is foundational. It’s at the point of our evangelism. That’s where we are making a grave mistake. And so when we are busy trying to solve problems in the Church itself at the level of branches, we are failing, desperately failing! The problem began long ago in the way in which we are going about our evangelistic work.”

There are aspects of our culture that undermine the very message of the gospel. We will therefore have to clash with it.

“We need to re-examine our evangelistic and missions methods. Are they honestly dealing with Africans in their African culture? Are they properly serving the gospel message, so that the Lordship of Christ is truly submitted to by those who claim to have become converted by it. Is this really the case? And are we seeing genuine evangelism?

We need to realise that there are aspects of our culture that undermine the very message of the gospel. And we will therefore have to clash with it.

We will need to believe, ultimately, in a God who is present by his Spirit on the globe, seeking out his own and bringing them to himself through the true gospel. It is that faith that will enable us to deal with the challenges that lie before us in evangelising the African continent in an African culture”

African Culture Sermon Series

Conrad Mbewe looks at the challenge African culture poses to the Church in Africa in these three sermons:

1. African Culture & The Challenge of Genuine Evangelism

2. African Culture & The Challenge of How To Do Church (Forthcoming)

3. African Culture & The Challenge of Community Impact (Forthcoming)

 

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

Date preached: 5 January 2009

Location: Grace Ministers Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa

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