What can the Western Church learn from Africa?
Among African Christian congregations, growth is normal. Dr Emma Wild-Wood discussed the variety of African expressions of Christianity with church, youth and mission thinkers in Sheffield.
Our Senior Lecturer in African Christianity and African Indigenous Religions was speaking at a one day conference organised by the Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World (Africa, Caribbean, Asia and South America), 13 October 2018.
The proportion of Christians in sub-Saharan Africa rose by over 10% between 1970 and 2015, to 565million.
Closer to home, ScotCen’s most recent Social Attitude Survey (July 2017) found that 58% of people in Scotland have no religion, up 18% from 1999 when the figure was 40%.
Whole hearted Christianity
Dr Wild-Wood told delegates at the event, Conversations in World Christianity:
“While African Christians appreciate the spiritual in everyday life and are whole hearted in their worship, diverse and vital, coming together in worship, they often see Western Christian practices as time-limited, routine, liturgical, boring and out-dated – a view shared by most Europeans.
“The question is: can the Western Church learn from African Christians’ approaches to Bible study, prayer and testimony, discipleship, evangelism and commitment, repentance and reconciliation, faith in social action, worship and lay participation?”
Dr Wild-Wood is a member of our Centre for the Study of World Christianity.