Nigeria: Christians challenged to ‘disciple at work’

[Anglican Communion News Service] An international network of mission agencies, Faith2Share, recently held its West African Depth Discipleship Consultation to “discover what following Jesus, the Prince of Peace, means in every aspect of our lives especially as we live amongst those who have very different faith convictions and traditions.”

The consultation, which was held in Jos, Nigeria from Nov. 22-25, saw the participation of more than 50 mission and church leaders from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and other parts of the world.

In a report to ACNS, Faith2Share’s international director, Canon Mark Oxbrow, said: “Participants in the consultation expressed a concern that churches fail to disciple their members for the workplace.”

Oxbrow reported that there was a general agreement that Anglicans need to “focus more on whole-life discipleship which can act as a powerful witness in diverse communities.”

He added: “Although most Christians spend a major part of their time in work little is taught in our churches about how to be a Christian manager, how to handle business finances, corruption and how to discipline employees and many other challenges that are faced daily.”

Participants also heard of the “church planting” initiatives by Anglicans in West Africa. One such example is the winning of support and goodwill of the local village chiefs who in most cases have even donated land for church building.

“Many neighboring villages are now asking for their own churches,” reported Oxbrow. “One of the local Anglican missionaries, Ngozi Nwosu, has a particular ministry amongst families who are trapped in traditional belief systems, one of which involves the killing of albino children who are believed to bring evil into the community.”

“By preserving the lives of albino children, Ngozi has been able to introduce families to a God who loves everyone and is more powerful than an evil spirit,” said Oxbrow.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi, the local Anglican bishop in Jos; the Rev. John Kafwanka, director of mission for the Anglican Communion; and the Rev. Oliver Ofoegbu, an Anglican missionary from Togo, were among those who took part in the consultation.

Kwashi also led a session on “character formation for Christian family life,” a theme which he recently addressed in his diocesan charge.

The consultation discussed diverse topics such as Christian discipleship in politics and the media, community action for transformation, encountering Islam, and dealing with witchcraft and polygamy, as people become disciples of Christ.

The consultation ended with an urgent call to develop “specific and effective ways to disciple and support young people whom God is calling to a career in politics and in the media.”

The Anglican Church of Nigeria Missionary Society and the ecumenical Nigerian Evangelical Missions Association jointly hosted the consultation.

Faith2Share draws together most Anglican mission agencies and a wide range of mission agencies from other traditions ranging from Orthodox to Pentecostal to work together on issues of discipleship and mission collaboration.

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