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Summary: Learning How To Plant and Grow Village Churches A Case Study in Village Evangelism

Learning How To Plant and Grow Village Churches

A Case Study in Village Evangelism

Learning Objectives

1. The students will be able to describe four ways to plant a church in a village setting.

2. The students will be able to explain how Malam Maudi overcame the forces of evil in village church planting.

3. The students will be able to list three hindering factors in the growth of the church in a village setting.

Introduction - One of the reasons we want to study case studies is to learn through history. By observing the patterns, trends, causes, motives, and reactions of the people, we can learn errors to avoid in our evangelism today. One such case study from Kwoi in Kaduna state presented by a student a Jos seminary, Emmanuel Doyaro about his evangelist-grandfather, sheds light on how the Lord used men to begin the church in Kwoi. Let us look for Biblical models that he used or neglected. Let us also look for the way that God worked to convince the people of the truth of Malam Maudi’s message. By examining the perceptions of the people, the resistances they had to the gospel, and the ways God undertook to see His church started, we can learn valuable lessons for evangelism today!!!

I. The Effects of Culture and Traditional Religious Perspectives on Village Church Planting

We know that cultural values affect decision-making of all types. Therefore, we must ask God’s wisdom in understanding the cultural, spiritual, religious, physical, educational, and family framework with whom we wish to evangelize. By examining the historical record of how the gospel came to Kwoi area we can learn how to start churches in new areas. Perhaps, we may learn how to revitalize lukewarm churches in other areas. At any rate, by examining the precedents set by the early church planters, we can gain valuable insights into the best ways to do evangelism today!

In many Nigerian villages, the belief that the world consists of a hierarchy of gods is common. Some gods may be directly involved in the affairs of humans, others may control animal fertility rates, weather patterns, or insect infestations. In the following case study, we learn how God used an evangelist to prove His superior power, authority, and dominion over the gods of the people of Kwoi. When they recognized Malam Maudi’s God’s power, they turned their allegiance from ``idols to serve the living and the true God.’’

Malam Maudi, a recent convert to Christianity through the ministry of the late Rev. Archibald of the Sudan Interior Mission, began his church planting ministry by constructing a small mud bricked building for the church and his home in Kwoi area. The pagans in the village started reacting in a negative manner toward the messages preached by the evangelist. Apparently, the pagans became afraid that if the Christian believers continued in their worship to the ``new’’ God, their animistic gods would be upset and trouble would come to the village. They began to make life hard for Malam Maudi!

Problems were compounded for Malam Maudi by the fact that the chief of Kwoi, at that time, was also a pagan. As the chief sided with the views of the majority of the people against the evangelist, warning to leave the village came swiftly to the young preacher.

Determined to plant a church in the village, Malam Maudi respectfully told the chief he could threaten him all he wanted, but he would not leave until his work was completed. Stirred by the wicked hatred of the people for the evangelist, the chief declared that if the Christian missionary be allowed to stay, the people might experience terror from the juju spirits who were becoming angry about what the evangelist was teaching the people. A conflict seemed imminent in Kwoi.

During this time, the Lord helped many people in Kwoi to become frustrated with the powerlessness of their gods during times of trouble. It seemed that many villagers were experiencing great problems, but no matter what they did for their gods, no solutions were provided. Growing discontentment among the people allowed the evangelist to appeal to the people’s needs for real solutions to their problems in Jesus Christ. He stressed that for some time the pagan priests were losing their abilities to demonstrate signs, healings, and miracles. From this sign, Malam Maudi stressed that God was hindering their powers to show the people that He alone could provide real help for them!

As a result of Malam Maudi’s preaching, many people expressed interest in becoming Christians. However, most people were afraid of what the chief might do to them if they renounced their belief in juju and dodo spirits. It became clear that the Lord would have to perform a miracle to convince the people, the chief, and the priests of the truth in I John 4:4 that says,

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