Invisible Influence in Africa

Goodie sent me a great article on Willow Creek’s outreach to Africa called “Making the Local Church A Hero.” One particular sentence caught my eye.

“While Willow’s contribution to these ministries is vital, the megachurch’s role is nearly invisible.”

With an approach that comes along effective work already being accomplished by indigenous African leaders, Willow Creek has been able to serve exponentially more people than they could have on their own.

Mark Galli writes: “Willow Creek’s outreach to Africa—specifically Angola, Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa—is as extensive as it is extraordinary. And it is extensive, ironically and precisely, because it bypasses multimillion-dollar nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to work mostly with local churches. And hardly ever with other megachurches, but small, small churches. Furthermore, Willow refuses to bring to bear most of its vast expertise and technological resources. Instead, it relies on the basic resources and expertise of that small, local church….

The people I met and the churches I visited in South Africa are the heroes. That’s partly because they (not North Americans) are also “the experts,” the people on the ground who know directly what the problems are. They are also part of believing communities that have people in them who sacrificially rise to the challenges God places before them. Willow, like many other North American churches doing church-to-church mission, knows all this. It’s the reason Willow tries to support the local work, and then just gets out of the way.”

Showing 2 comments
  • Taylor Lyall

    Thanks for this article. I am So Cal guy who’s been living in South Africa for a month now. Just got back this weekend from a trip to Zimbabwe with my church here. It’s cool to this kind of thing already happening. We went up there to give food to the local church to distribute, but more importantly, got to know a local church and hope for future partnership. The Bride of Christ is alive and well here in southern Africa.

    Taylor Lyall’s last blog post..Zimbabwe

  • kristiapplesauce

    Yes. This is how it has to happen. We have had “big church” come here and it really doesn’t do much. They come, they tell us what to do then they leave. It is nuts actually. Local church, with local people – raising local leaders, building local disciples is really what it’s all about. Relationships, right? I think that’s what it’s all about in America too…everyone just keeps getting confused by all the shinny lights. The thing with Africa though (South Africa for me) is that we never have power…so it isn’t a problem 🙂

    kristiapplesauce’s last blog post..Oh Sheep!

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