Danny Wahlquist Wordpress Blog

September 21, 2013

Sep 21: Nigeria, The Central Zone

Filed under: Uncategorized — dannywahlquist @ 6:56 am


Federal Republic of Nigeria

Challenges for Prayer

Church growth has been massive and remains so.Nigeria has a large majority of West Africa’s evangelicals. But such growth is not without its own dangers. Pray against:

a) A failure of discipleship: the emphasis on evangelism and soul winning without adequate follow-up and balanced biblical teaching. Africa’s – and Nigeria’s – greatest spiritual challenge is not Islam, not corruption, not even the need for missions, but discipleship. If the Nigerian Church were truly discipled and brought to maturity in Christ, it would be an unstoppable force.

b) Unbalanced prosperity theology and chasing after dubious miracles cheapen the good news. Numerous doctrinal distortions, greed masquerading as biblical prosperity, spiritual charlatanism and unethical fundraising not only exchange the truth for lies, but they also inoculate millions against the real message of the gospel. Pentecostal groups are especially prone to these excesses.

c) Second-generation nominalism in both traditional and younger churches is a big problem. Double standards are widespread, and immorality, membership in secret societies and compromise with the world bring strife and disrepute to the gospel.

d) Syncretistic Christianity. Many newer indigenous groups have a desire for God but also much admixture of unbiblical worldviews and practices. Many are open to greater gospel light but are often isolated from, or shunned by, the more orthodox churches. They are increasingly benefitting from access to solid evangelical seminaries and sound theological literature.

e) Enthusiastic and aggressive but uninformed approaches to African spirituality. This is often and most sadly expressed in witch hunters, who identify and accuse children of being witches or being possessed by demons and then administer harsh, even fatal, “cures”. Pray that biblical truth and practice might prevail over superstition.

f) Division and disunity. There are several major networks of churches in Nigeria. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is the umbrella body for five major Christian blocks – the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN); Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN); ECWA/TEKAN (Protestant mainline); PFN/CPFN (Pentecostals); and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC). Praise God for their vital contribution to national Christian life and unity. Some megachurches and newer denominations do not bother to integrate into the wider Christian scene. Pray that leaders and in turn believers might look past the denominational and tribal rivalries that may exist to focus on their underlying and more profound unity in Christ.

Christian leaders are under great stress in today’s Nigeria, including spiritual opposition, political pressure and financial temptations. Those in the north also face very real dangers from Muslim extremists. Many have ministries with wider African or even global impact. Pray for:

a) Integrity and unity in leadership. There is frequently a gap between what is preached and what is perceived to be practiced by Christian leaders. Especially among the newer, fast-growing churches, prayer is needed for:

     i Unity. The fragmented nature of the Church is not so much about personal ambition and personal conflicts as it is about denominational or tribal differences. If leaders cannot work together, then neither will their followers.

     ii Honesty. A profusion of competing denominations and sects has emerged, many of them claiming inflated numbers to increase the prestige of their leaders.

     iii Personal holiness. Extravagant lifestyles and oily showmanship usurp spiritual depth and biblical preaching as indicators of anointing. Instances of corruption, theft, embezzlement and sexual immorality are tragically frequent.

     iv Accountability is often absent; the “big man” dynamic plays into the same materialism, pride and carnality that cripple Nigeria politically and economically.
Pray that humility, simplicity and holiness might become the watchwords of the Nigerian Church.

b) The multiplication of leaders who are Spirit-led, well versed in the Scriptures, skilled in disciple-making and steeped in the knowledge of God and the power of prayer.

c) The hundreds of seminaries, colleges, Bible schools and training programmes in Nigeria, as well as the many TEE courses. The rush of many theological institutions to affiliate to Nigerian universities has produced neither the academic excellence nor the genuine spirituality that the churches so badly need. Several of Nigeria’s leading seminaries are strengthened by pursuing the standards of ACTEA (Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa). Though demand for places is high from their own constituent churches, evangelical seminaries are able to offer significant help in the training of pastors for African Initiated Churches.

d) Servant-leaders and mentors to be raised up. One-man ministries, dictatorial leadership, empire-building and unwillingness to entrust responsibility to the upcoming generation are common weaknesses. The generation gap between older and younger pastors is often large and a source of resentment, since the older leaders cling to their power and influence rather than passing the torch.

e) Expatriate ministries, seeking high-profile campaigns that are not necessarily needed or welcomed by established Nigerian leadership networks, can always find other nationals through whom to run their events. This fosters further division and is symptomatic of the Church’s inability to stand as one.

The Central Zone

Challenge for Prayer

Muslim missionary activity has intensified in the region. Considerable efforts are made to win over followers of ethnic religions and backsliding Christians. Pray that these attempts may actually result in many coming to Christ. Pray that Christians may overcome historic hatreds and personal fears for the sake of courageous witnessing to Muslims in love.

from http://www.operationworld.org/sep21


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