What do the words “African Church” evoque in your mind? In 2015, I attended the centenary celebration of a Ghanaian church. Here’s what I saw and learned about the church.
- Emergency medical services organised by the church were available during the event as were free blood pressure, blood sugar, and hepatitis screening
- The event was live-streamed on YouTube.
- The church has a university and the rector was introduced.
- The church has 6 million members in Ghana.
- The church’s offices in Accra are its international headquarters because it has congregations in a number of other countries.
- The church offers scholarships to needy students.
- The worship was mostly in Ghanaian language and was very vibrant.
- The speakers had advanced degrees – Doctor this, Professor that.
- Economic woes, moral decadence, materialism, seeking after power, and corruption were all mentioned in the same breath – a manifestation of a profoundly holistic approach to ministry.
- An elder of the church is part of the government of Ghana. He’s the Minister of Housing.
- The leader of the event was the leader of a different, major denomination of Ghana; an amazing show of practical unity among churches.
- The event was held in a major conference center in downtown Accra with thousands in attendance.
- The unveiling of a new church logo included pyrotechnics
- The church has a relief and development arm.
Of course, all churches in Africa are not like this one. But whatever “African church” means, today it has to include this church and others like it.