Africa is the church of the future, says IFES Gen Sec

Africa is a continent ravaged by conflicts, poverty and HIV/AIDS but there is still hope because God is at work in the land, African Christian leaders said at the Lausanne conference on Friday.

In the last century, the African church has grown 3,000 per cent, according to Daniel Bourdanne, general secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students and international deputy director for the Lausanne movement.

Even though Africa does not have money or technology, he said Africans could celebrate because God’s grace has been poured out on the continent.

“This (church growth through the Holy Spirit) is more than technology, more than money, more than anything that we can have,” declared the African leader from Chad, drawing loud applause from the 4,000 attendees of Lausanne III.

Christian leaders from over 190 nations are gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, for The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation. While all three Lausanne conferences have focused on sharing the Gospel worldwide, this conference is also addressing a wide range of global problems facing the Church, such as pluralism, globalisation, HIV/AIDS, and prosperity gospel.

The Rev Gideon Para-Mallam of Nigeria, the international deputy director for English, Portuguese and Spanish-speaking Africa, invited Western Christian leaders at the conference to stand up and asked Africans to applaud them for the sacrifices Western missionaries had made in bringing the Gospel to the continent.

“As a result of their obedience, God has been at work in Africa,” said Para-Mallam.

“Africa has moved from a missionary-receiving continent in 1910 to now [in] 2010 a missionary-sending continent.

"Missionaries will be leaving Africa to Europe, from Africa to the United States of America, from Africa to all over the world.

“The church in Africa is the church of the future,” he declared.

The weeklong conference concludes Sunday.