Ghana is full of signs of Christianity – literally. There are signs on vehicles, on business and even billboards that bear unmistakably Christian messages. Some of them are a bit exaggerated or even humorous such as the “Last Stop Christian Centre”.
On my recent road trip from Accra to Tamale, we stopped to grab a bite to eat and found a group of ladies from a church selling “Shalom Delicious Bread” and “Jesus is Alive” bread. In addition to English, one of the bread stands had a blurb in the Thwi language meaning “Jesus is risen”. They readily talked about their faith and started witnessing to me. The growth of Christianity in Ghana is part of a much wider phenomenon. Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa, South America, parts of Asia and the Pacific. Even as Christianity shrinks in Europe and large parts of American society are cutting ties with its Judeo-Christian heritage, people in other parts of the world are adopting faith in Christ in the largest numbers in history. In the next decade or two, Africa will become the center of world Christianity at least in terms of sheer numbers of Christians. The title “Whose religion is Christianity” is borrowed from a book by Lamin Sanneh, an African, a believer and a professor at Yale. The book analyses the shifts taking place. Anyone who believes that Christianity is a western religion is way behind the times.
Billboards advertising all kinds of churches can be found alongside the roads in Ghana. Accra, the capital, has a number of growing and vibrant mega-churches. We drove by one when I came back to Accra. One of these mega—churches started a Christian university with money raised in Ghana! Christians in the growing Ghanaian middle class are filling those churches, giving to all kinds of ministries and organizing outreach in the cities and in the more remote rural areas. This has happened in the last 20 years, which makes me wonder what more will happen in the next 20.
Of course, not all is roses. There are sects. Some call themselves believers but their lives do not bear witness to that. But these things are true all over the world. Other things are right on target. Look up Deuteronomy 15:11 and see how appropriate that text is in the poorest continent.
My 18 days in Ghana were spent working with a Ghanaian Christian organization full of articulate, dedicated Ghanaian Christians who want all the peoples of Ghana to be blessed with God’s Word in their own languages. The churches are behind them. They are even talking about sending Ghanaians to do translations in other countries in Africa. I was part of a team, itself mostly African, sharing with them about how to make the work go faster and have greater impact. It looks like I will be blessed to make some more trips to work with them in defining specific ways to fulfill their vision.
It is so exciting to live in these days. God is at work in this world! If you are discouraged about what is happening where you are, lift your eyes!