What we can learn from Africa

Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner has some great reflections about the observations made by a group of young African Christians who came to tour Indiana as a choir. At the end of the column, the bishop shares a conversation he had once with an African bishop about the African bishop’s views of what the American church needed:

  1. Prayer — he said “The American church is not a praying church. You say lots of prayers, but you don’t pray deeply and listen to God. If you really want your church to be more alive, you need to pray for your church, your pastors, and your leaders.”
  2. Love — he said, “You Americans love one another in your churches, but you don’t extend love beyond your close group of friends in the church. In Africa, we love people into the church, we don’t just love other church people.”
  3. Indigenous Worship — he said, “In Africa the church only began to grow dramatically after we were freed from the colonial style of worship from France, Portugal, and Britain. We brought our drums into worship and we learned to sing the Gospel in the languages of the people.” He went on to advise, “Your pastors need to learn the culture of those outside your old churches and bring worship to them in words, music, and style that they understand.”

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