The African Crisis

Africa’s Social and Humanitarian Crisis:

  • Rampant corruption
  • Social injustice
  • Political instability
  • Poor leadership
  • Greed
  • Disease
  • Mismanagement of resources
  • Immorality

Eye-opening videos:

ABC Documentary on children accused of witchcraft in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and how pastors take large sums of money from families for “exorcising demons from children.”
This is a report about Nigeria’s so called witch children. An example begins at 4:35 in the video.
Here is an example of how the prosperity gospel works in Africa. This example comes from Ghana.
This is a famous African “prophet,” T.B. Joshua, in Indonesia. Joshua is Nigerian but is known in many other countries in Africa. In this video he is supposedly dealing with Beelzebub, servant of Satan.

Africa’s Spiritual Crisis:

  • Reliance on traditional views like witchcraft and ancestor worship
  • Pastors teaching and preaching what is false while thinking it is true
  • Opportunistic false teachers taking advantage of spiritually illiterate pastors and church attenders for their own financial gain.
  • The continent is being overrun by the false gospel that promises health and wealth to those who apply a certain faith formula.

Eye-opening facts and statistics:

  • The total income of all 55 African countries is a little more than that of Belgium.
  • Africa is the world's most indebted and aid-dependent region.
  • Africa has received $1 trillion in aid in the past 60 years, yet twice as many are living on $1/day than there were 25 years ago. 17% of the African GNP goes towards debt repayment.
  • The whole continent has fewer paved roads than Poland alone.
  • Africa is poorer than it was 40 years ago.
  • African economies must grow at 5% annually just to maintain the current level of poverty.
  • Africa loses 20,000 skilled professionals a year due to economic hardship.
  • Africa has less than 10% of the world's population but 70% of the world's total HIV infection.
  • 1999 world financial reports indicate that 39% of all African GNP is taken and deposited in foreign banks by selfish and corrupt leaders.
  • Nigeria has more than 110 trillion standard cubic feet of gas reserve and about 10 trillion cubic feet of oil reserve, but also has an external debt of $50 billion. Nigeria alone produces 50% of the United States' petroleum needs.
  • The continent has one of the largest water and river systems in the world, yet it suffers from drought and insufficient hydroelectricity.
  • A recent computer analysis of the economy of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) concluded that no one could survive there.
  • By 1958, the DRC was producing 50% of the world's uranium, 75% of the world's cobalt, 70% of the world's industrial diamonds, and it was the world's largest producer of rubber. But the average income per capita in the DRC is less than 1% of that in the United States.
  • With good leadership and good resource management, the DRC could feed up to 2/3 of Africa all by itself. With all of this potential, Africa has the world’s poorest of the poor.

What this reveals:

  • More financial aid will help relieve the pain and suffering but it will not solve Africa’s problems.
  • This all demonstrates the lack of a Christian impact.
  • A Christian presence is seen everywhere but not deeply felt.
  • By the end of the year 2000, Africa had 394 million people who claimed to be Christians, or 48.4% of the continent's population, and we are told that 20,000 are being added to the African church daily.
  • The African church is often described as being 2 miles wide but only an inch deep.
  • Rom 10:2 describes the current situation: "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge."
  • Mark 7:8-10 also speaks to the current situation: "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”
  • NOTE: Most Africans don't know what the Bible says about most issues nor have they heard the Word of God being clearly taught. They mostly know their traditions.
  • Syncretism in the form of Christianized witchcraft rules much of the church.

What is Africa lacking?

  • Why can't the situation change in such a "Christianized" populace?
  • Who are the Christians in Africa and what are they doing?
  • Africa's problem is not a lack of natural resources but a lack of leaders who know and acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, who model Christ-like lives, and who see themselves as stewards of God's resources.
  • Africa's Christianity still lacks quality, spiritual strength, and in-depth discipleship.
  • Culture and tradition need to be confronted and transformed by effective biblical preaching by biblically and theologically trained pastors.
  • Up to 90% of the pastors in any given country have never received one day of training and statistics reveal that 90% of those will never enter a Bible school classroom of any kind.

What is the solution?

  • Church leadership needs to be enabled to create an environment where the national leaders can and will harness the continent’s vast dormant resources.
  • Such impact can only be realized through effective teaching and preaching of the Bible by godly pastors who have been trained to preach and teach the Word of God accurately and systematically.
  • David Jackman, a Christian leader from England wrote, "…faithful, relevant, applied biblical teaching and preaching is arguably the greatest need of local congregations across Africa." (Africa Inland Church newsletter, 4/2003)
  • Doug Hazen, a Northwest Regional Director for World Venture says, "I believe that pastoral training is the most significant and vital need in Africa today, if not around the world."

What is ITEM doing?

  • Starting with 2003, ITEM has provided between 500-600 pastors a year with a biblical and theological foundation through the Institute in the Foundations of Church Leadership (IFCL). ITEM has conducted IFCLs in Nigeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar.
  • ITEM’s Women’s Ministry empowers women to earn an income, some of which is to be used to train women to be effective in their homes and churches.

What is ITEM's vision for the future?

ITEM wants to:

  • Continue to train hundreds of pastors yearly in basic Bible and theology.
  • Equip and train African pastors to conduct official ITEM seminars on their own and then be able to follow up and work with pastors who have been through the training, assuring they will be able to apply what they have learned.
  • Expand into other countries when God opens the doors.
  • Network with local churches, helping them develop and expand their own missions program.
  • Recruit pastors to help with the training needs in Africa.
  • Help local churches recruit and train short-term missionaries.
  • Be available to local churches, providing speakers to help generate excitement and vision for missions.
  • Provide real-time reports from the mission field when Steve is away.