Church planting explosion happening in West Africa.

By May 1, 2006

West Africa (MNN) — In West Africa, political unrest, famine, disease and other issues produce a region filled with human suffering. But in the midst of that, God is doing some amazing things through the work of CityTeam International.

They’re partnered with the indigenous True Life Ministries, an organization that is caring for the needs of the poor and involved in community development. They’re using those means of outreach as opportunities to gain access to resistant communities.

CityTeam’s Harry Brown says they’re training indigenous church planters, and the results have been amazing, “The African leaders have begun to practice the principles, and the result has been just an explosion of churches planted. In the last 105 days, from January 1 to April 15, they have seen 106 new churches planted, and that would be an amazing average of one church per day.”

Not just that, but Brown says the explosion of churches is in a strategic area. “These churches are being planted among largely a Muslim majority. And it’s incredibly exciting to see that the principles of church planting that we’ve been training are taking root and producing this kind of fruit.”

CityTeam is committed to the idea that the missionary’s role is to train and equip the national church planters who will then work inside the communities to find those who God is raising up within that community to train them to launch the church in their own community. Brown says, “It’s really a trainer of trainers kind of a model. And what’s been happening is the African leaders have fanned out into the villages covering the countryside, and have been finding the inside leaders who have been accepting the principles, been acting on them, and just seeing this church planting explosion in their own villages, their own culture, their own context.”

The key to success, says Brown is in finding the “inside people” to keep the work going, “When you think about what’s going to last after you’re out of the picture, it has to be something that the inside people understand and own and act on in their own context. And that’s what we’re seeing.”

Those 106 new churches planted since the beginning of the year are a great example of nationals taking ownership of the church planting work. Brown says the training of trainers is happening and multiplying, “Of that number 25-percent would be first generation churches, 50-percent would be second generation churches, and 25-percent would be third generation churches. What that means is it’s rippling without us, and the key prayer need there is for God to keep raising up the indigenous church planters who can keep the momentum going.”

The whole explosion has been rooted and grounded in prayer, says Brown, and is something of God’s doing. They’re thankful for the explosion, and ask for prayer that God would continue to do His work in and through people’s lives. “And I just want to emphasize, God is doing this because people are praying, not because of a special strategy or technique. It’s because people are praying and the ones on the ground are faithfully living out the principles they’re learning.”

If you would like more information, go to CityTeam’s International website: http://www.cityteam.org/international. Their website will be focusing on West Africa during the month of May.

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