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Pentecostal Movement: A challenge to traditional churches in Africa

The particpants of the workshop, hosted by the EEC in Douala, Cameroon (photo: Zakaria Mnkai/UEM).

From 3rd – 7th September 2019, the Regional office conducted a workshop for pastors focusing on the topic of “Pentecostal Movement: A challenge to traditional churches in Africa”. The main objective was to share experience and learn from each other on matter related to prosperity Gospel, healing and deliverance in relation to Pentecostal movement. The workshop was hosted by the Evangelical Church of Cameroun (EEC) in Doula and it involved pastors from UEM member churches namely: ELCT-NED, ELCT-NWD, ELCT-KAD, ELCT-ECD, EPR, CBCA, CDCC, CADELU, ELCB, EEC and EAR.

The presentations from different pastors and discussion revealed a lot of inputs from participant who indicated the situation in their churches and countries. It was also realized that there are challenges that resulted by the presence Pentecostal movement in Africa especially:

  • The misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Pentecost churches on the matters related to Eucharist, prayers, prosperity gospels and deliverance.
  • Pentecost churches preachers emphasize on the promises of good life on earth ignoring the aspect of life to come.
  • Pentecost churches insist on miracles and not of the Word of God.
  • They condemn and judge the way of Protestant churches do baptism.
  • They claim to own the Holy Spirit and believe that they are born again Christians.

After raising the above mentioned challenges and the impacts of Pentecostalism in African churches, the participants came up with the solution on how they can address these underlined issues.

  • Pastors must be close to their believers and assist them in case of illness, joy, sorrow and all other circumstances. They should also share the information to other colleagues’ pastors and learn from each other.
  • Pastors must create a space for bible studies and prayers within families. In the case of big churches/parishes, they should organize the communities into small groups of fellowships known as cell groups and train church elders to guide and lead those groups.
  • Pastors must intensify the diaconal services, Pastoral care and counselling activities to accompany those in needs as a sign of God’s love (Poor, jobless and disables people etc.)

Furthermore, participants proposed the following recommendations:

  • The existing liturgy in the church must be respected but should be lively by including praise and worship, intercession, testimony.
  • Teach congregants to be aware the existence of demons exist but they should know that demons have no power on those who truly believe in Jesus Power.
  • Empowerment  for pastors on the topic related to Pentecostalism and entrepreneurship skills.
  • Exchange programmes for Pastors, groups of congregants from Africa to Europe, Asia for short and long term periods.

Zakaria W. Mnkai (Program officer, UEM Africa)

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