Some of the people on whose back we all now ride ‘African Christianity’ today would be totally embarrassed by the kind of hero worship and cult of personality African Christianity has become. In fact, I post this at the risk that Gottfried Osei-Mensah who I’m citing as an example, would somehow chance upon this and send me an email rebuke for giving some sort of ‘public praise’ to him. As for giving him accolades like ‘Papa,’ he might puke!
You probably have never heard the name. There will be many surprises in heaven. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus said. In fact, he added, “On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”
Why would a certain group of people get it so wrong? Because we would’ve measured how good our Christianity is and how powerful our ministries are by worldly metrics and defined success wrongly.
In all my ranting over the last couple of weeks that the church in Africa straighten her ways, I’ve had very interesting rebuttals and questions thrown back at me. One of the most fascinating was something like, “If you know all this how come God is not using you?” He isn’t? How did you know?
What would make a young African Christian make such a presumptuous statement but for the metrics he’s been trained to identify as signs of God’s hand upon somebody, what blessedness is, how an anointed minister/ministry looks like etc. especially in NUMBERS and PUBLICITY.
As I shared with friends of Face Book, it is very likely that if Mary the mother of Jesus had lived in our times, she might not have even been on social media. She wasn’t wealthy or influential. If she happened to be on social media though and raised an issue, some dude might’ve gone like: “How come God isn’t using you?” He isn’t eh?
A couple of days after Billy Graham died, I happened to be in the presence of Gottfried Osei-Mensah who had been appointed by Billy as the first executive secretary or international director of the Lausanne Movement (Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization as it was known back then). When I asked what he remembered most fondly about Billy Graham, he said, “His genuine concern for me and my family’s well-being.”
Osei-Mensah was hired by Billy Graham right after the 1974 congress in Lausanne, Switzerland to run the organization, which I’m humbled to currently be one of the leaders of as a catalyst! Gottfried served as the executive secretary of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization from 1975 to 1984. Born in Ghana, he worked as an engineer in the oil industry before helping develop Christian witness in the universities of West Africa through the Pan African Fellowship of Evangelical Students. From 1971-1975 he pastored Nairobi Baptist Church in Kenya.
In 1973, he served on the planning committee of Lausanne, and presented a plenary address at the International Congress on World Evangelization in 1974. Appointed as executive secretary following the congress, he travelled the world, encouraging the formation of national and regional movements based on The Lausanne Covenant, to identify unreached people groups within their own communities and beyond, and devise effective ways of evangelizing them.
If all these noise-making Charismatic churches started in the 1980s had any foundation to build upon, it is because of the work of the likes of Gottfried Osei-Mensah yet I bet that 99% of the millions of members have no clue who he is.
Back to Jesus. Who were those who measured up to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and be rewarded in His eyes? “ONLY THE ONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.”
Success in life and ministry, in God’s books, is measured by becoming the person God calls you to become and doing what God calls you to do–in His way and in His time.
WILL YOU BE SURPRISED ON THAT FINAL DAY?