"STRONG WORDS - Overseas Leaders"
by Diane - Jan 30, 2005.
What do Christian leaders in other countries, especially Third World
countries, think of Christians and their leaders here in the United States?
The January 2005 issue of Charisma magazine has fascinating
remarks by various people in ministry from other countries. Here is
a sampling, with their comments edited for brevity. I think there just
might be a few general themes here.
From church planter and trainer Natalia Schedrivaya, Russia:
"Materialism is the No. 1 enemy of Russian churches. Today pastors
are not praying about how to reach those who have not heard the
gospel. They are praying, 'God, how can I have a megachurch.' This
is where the church in America has been confused. What are our priorities?"
Are we listening yet?
From pastor Sunday Adelaja, Ukraine (largest church of Europe with
30,000 members): "There is not a sense of desperation for God in
the United States. [Another] problem I see in the American church
involves money. The American church is spending most of its money
on things that are not priorities of God. If the church doesn't under-
stand the priorities of God before spending its money, then abuse
From the president of the All India Christian Council, Joseph D"Souza
(-he does work among the Dalits - the "untouchables"):
"The American church has made four critical errors that account for
its lack of substantial growth:
1. American Christians have put God in a comfortable box [so that
they might have a comfortable life].
2. Faith in the United States has become consumer-oriented. What
is God going to do for me?
3. There is an inadequate understanding of suffering and persecution.
4. The American church has ignored the fact that it is no longer the
epicenter of global Christianity. The activity of the church has moved
to the Southern hemisphere.
From pastor Samuel Lee, Holland:
He asks the question, why aren't American churches growing
compared to churches in other countries? Here are his conclusions:
1. We must embrace the miraculous. Because America has so
many comforts, people don't seem to need miracles. But we need
the Holy Spirit's agenda.
2. We must reject Hollywood tendencies. Some churches in the
United States look like they are sponsoring fashion shows or TV
3. We must forsake pride. Outsiders read our character, not our
Then he says "I wish my American brothers realized how hurtful it
is to the cause of Christ when they focus so much on material things."
From pastor Jackson Senyonga, Uganda:
He says there are several key reasons why the American church has
not grown as rapidly as churches in Africa:
*The American church is more program-oriented than 'presence-
*The people come to church on their terms and pastors serve those
terms rather than God.
*America has no time for God.
*The American church suffers from prayerlessness.
From overseer of the African-based RCCG, Enoch Adeboye, Nigeria:
"If the American church is to experience the rapid growth that other
parts of the world are currently experiencing, then it must have
revival. But revival is expensive. It is not cheap. There is a price to
pay for revival. A revival takes us back to the basics of Christian
principles that are fast disappearing from the Christian horizon. This
includes a disciplined life of sincere holiness and a life devoted to
prayer and fasting."
I see some patterns in these statements. For example, too much
materialism was mentioned by most of the ministry leaders. It's
seeming to me more and more that this is one of the key problems
that will ultimately destroy the American church.
I hope we will listen to these people.
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