Last Sunday I attended both morning services at Deliverance Church in the Kasarani district of Nairobi, Kenya. I was dreading speaking at 8 a.m. because early services in the United States are sparsley attended and the energy levels tend to be weak. But this is not the case in Africa.
When the worship began, ushers were busy urging congregants to move closer together so they could pack people into seats. By the time pastor Jimmy Kimani greeted his flock, people were sitting or standing outside—even though there are more than 1,500 chairs in the main sanctuary. Latecomers have to wait until children are dismissed to their morning classes.
Welcome to Kenya, where churches are overflowing and where missionary-minded leaders are planting new congregations weekly. A study done by the Pew Charitable Trust two years ago confirmed that Christian faith in Africa is growing exponentially. In 1910, Christians made up 9 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa; today the number has jumped to 63 percent. The study noted that Nigeria now has more Protestants than Germany, where the Protestant Reformation began.
I know the African church faces big challenges. I wrote last week about the devastating effects of the prosperity gospel in Africa, and readers are still debating that topic in our online forum. But as I watched the people worship at altars in Nairobi and Lilongwe, Malawi, I couldn’t help but say to myself, “I wish we had this in the USA.”
Click here to read four things the author says the American church could learn from the church in Africa.