African missionaries are increasingly planting churches in the U.S., and are attracting a multicultural following in the process, reports the Christian Century magazine (Aug. 13-20).
The movement of African churches to the African nationals (and Caribbean residents) in Europe, especially in Britain [see January RW], but the trend in the U.S. seems to be less about race and nationality than evangelism and missions. Such African-based denominations and networks as the Nigerian-based Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Deeper Life Bible Fellowship (many of these networks of congregations seem to be from Nigeria) are finding a growing followng in the U.S.
Estimates of these groups’ membership in the U.S. range from hundreds to thousands, according to the article. These African congregations share an emphasis on exuberant worship, a heavy emphasis on prayer and a strong missionary, church-planting thrust. Such evangelistic fervor is directed to both African and non-African.
These congregations often include whites, blacks, and Asians, as well as Africans. Obstacles for further expansion are these churches’ hesitance to cooperate with other churches; they do not even interact with other African churches from different ethnic groups and nations. Because of the uncertain immigration status of many African church leaders in the U.S., there is also a lack of stability in leadership in these congregations.