Has the church become largely irrelevant in shaping main stream society and culture because we spend more time complaining about the problems and criticising others for not rectifying them rather than bringing the solutions to solve the problems? For as long as we don’t bring solutions to what we are complaining about we will remain of no importance and of little significance to the people and institutions that are shaping society. If over 50% of a nation’s population sits in church every Sunday then should the church not be the greatest influencer of the direction of a nation?
The highlight of my time in Ghana attending the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) conference was to see and listen to Ghanaian leaders opening up to discuss these “hard” issues. What was even more encouraging was to see that the issues were being tackled from a solution finding perspective and also a clear recognition that the Bible is the source of the solutions.
Stop looking at “others”
With so much widespread corruption eroding the economies of nations that claim to be +70% Christian in population, could all this corruption be coming from the minority 30%? Perhaps it is time for the collective body that call themselves Christian (myself included) to humble themselves – stop looking at “others” as the source of the problems we see around us and admit that we are a huge part of the problem. Perhaps the moral decay in society is just a reflection of the true condition of the institution that should be the biggest influencer of societal culture – the church. In the Old Testament we are constantly reminded that the culture, well-being and prosperity of God’s chosen nation, Israel was directly linked to the level of obedience of the chosen people to their God Yahweh – not by what the pagan people or nations around them were doing.
The ABLI conference which was organised and hosted by the Bible Society of Ghana (as part of the Jubilee – 50th anniversary in Ghana) brought together leaders from the highest offices of government, business, education, the judiciary and the church to seek a biblical based roadmap for Ghana (the 1st nation of Africa). Some of the critical topics that where covered in the workshop sessions included “The Servant Leader in Public Service, Corruption and Integrity: The role of the individual, Transformational Role of the Media in Nation Building, Youth Development for a Transformed Future, The Servant Leader in the Church, Transforming Corporate Ghana and Traditional Rites in a Transformed Society” to name a few.
The next ABLI gathering will be in Malawi in September and I truly believe that as more African nations humble themselves (admit they have missed God’s mark), pray (be reconciled to God), seek God’s face (His wisdom and His ways) and turn away from their wicked ways (leave sin behind and chase after God) – God will hear the prayers from Africa, forgive Africa and heal the land (economies) of Africa.
Kings of the world will welcome problem solvers
As the church we seem to be currently more focused on releasing letters and statements of complaint and criticism to leaders in our governments – bemoaning the increased levels of socio-economic and moral decay. The question we should seriously ask is – are we bringing any solutions to them or just complaints and criticism? The “kings of the world” will gladly welcome and open their doors to whoever brings the solution to their nation’s problems. Daniel was constantly called before the king and Joseph was called into the courts of Pharaoh. Interestingly enough they never had to beg and try to break down the door to see the king. Why? The king invited them because the king knew they carried the solution to the problems — not complaints and criticism. I think this is strategy that we need to learn and adopt.
It is so critical that we understand that the main pillars of society, namely the family, economy, government and education should all be founded upon the blueprint already laid out by the Creator in His manual to us – The Bible. Transformation of society will not come in any other way other than through God’s blueprint. So another question we should ask ourselves is “where are the Daniels and Josephs of today who will not complain and criticise but will rather bring solutions from the King of Kings to the kings of the world (presidents, mayors, governors, government officials, etc.)?
My prayer is that through the activities of organisations like the Bible Society and initiatives like ABLI across Africa we will see a generation of leaders arising who will be invited to sit before the “kings” of Africa and present transformational solutions that will transform their nations. This might be the route to us seeing the “kings of the world” (even those who don’t know the true God) repeat the words of King Nebuchadnezzar from Daniel 2:47 – “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret”. We need leaders who are prepared to be thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:19-27) because they will not compromise on the word of God because they know that through their boldness and 100% faith in God even those who persecute them will eventually say “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” (Daniel 3:28-29)
Could the book of Daniel be showing us a template of what we need to be doing right now on this continent? It is time for Africa to arise and shine. God is ready to pour His glory over this continent – but, perhaps He is waiting for us to get in line with Him.