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Why Africans should lead Africans

Posted on October 05, 2017

Africa needs African leaders who know the true African story. It’s very common to hear about poverty in Africa. You’ve probably heard about AIDS, orphans, and widows, too. You might feel overwhelmed, in fact, by the dark picture of Africa painted by well-meaning Western workers. These workers often appeal to the emotions of Westerners so they can get them to give financially and be involved in “changing the lives of the poorest of the poor.”

It all sounds noble, but this traditional, money-focused approach to Africa has done more damage than good. It maligns African leaders who are giving away their lives for the Gospel. These African leaders go into unreached villages with culturally appropriate tools and methods.

That’s why I get extremely excited when I meet African leaders who are not only building the Kingdom of God but also are raising leaders wherever they go and empowering their communities to live in a spiritually, economically, and socially healthy environment that they helped create.

Recently, I had the honor and privilege of hearing and sitting with the founder and president of ALARM. Dr. Celestin Musekura has been empowering African pastors, community leaders, women, politicians, and the like for more than 20 years. His work focuses on East and Central Africa, but his heart and long-term plan is to expand to other parts of Africa.

Why African Leaders Need Good Training

Celestin has a strong desire to see young African leaders raised up. He believes young African leaders like myself should do what God called us to do in Africa. I grew up in Ethiopia and saw the lack of spiritual leadership in many churches. And I saw the void that was left when Western missionaries departed from our country during the brutal Derg Regime. These missionaries left behind local pastors who hadn’t received theological training. They were not actively groomed to take on the leadership of the churches. Yet, they had to lead a Church that was under persecution.

Persecution forced most of the Ethiopian Evangelical churches to go underground. Then a new government came along and brought religious freedom. However, a new era of corrupt Evangelicalism ascended, giving birth to the prosperity gospel. 

How a False Gospel Took Hold in Africa

There are many Christ-centered, Gospel-believing Evangelical churches in Ethiopia. However, the problem is most of them are not attracting the younger generation. Christ-centered churches are at risk of dying out.

The prosperity gospel movement lures young people to a pseudo-Christianity that doesn’t require carrying the cross and doesn’t identify with Christ in His suffering; dying to the flesh is a foreign concept. No real sacrifice is expected besides a sacrifice of money at the altar to enrich the pastor.

This false and deadly movement has confused the Bible with pagan traditions. If only the missionaries had trained more African leaders—now, false teachers are in control.

The situation is now out of hand. There are TV stations dedicated to the man of God, the prophet, and the apostle. These are the African leaders who are influencing local communities because they are rich. After all, they collect money from the communities through untruthful, fear-based teachings. These African leaders teach that if you give you’ll be blessed, and if you don’t you’ll be cursed.

I daily plead with the Lord to raise African leaders in my country: men and women who fear the Lord, stand for truth, and are true prophets for change.

Meeting Celestin fueled my heart with hope, passion, revival, and anticipation for what the Lord has in store for my country and my people. Leadership development should be a key component of spreading the Gospel. 

Therefore, let us partner with ministries such as ALARM. It’s an opportunity to use our gifts and talents to bring reconciliation and thoughtful leadership to countries in East and Central Africa. Let us equip local Christian leaders in the church, community, government, and every sector of society and be a part of the Great Commission—a command to be obeyed by all believers, including Africans. 

 

 

 

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