It’s Not Reverse Mission If You Just Stay in Your Own Church

Johnson Ambrose Afrane-Twum wants African migrant Christians to collaborate with and revitalize churches in the UK.

Several years ago, Johnson Ambrose Afrane-Twum was under consideration to become a black lead pastor of a white-majority church in the United Kingdom, when a white friend approached him.

“Johnson, everybody here knows that you can lead this church,” he said. “There is only one problem: Some people say they don’t want you as a pastor because you speak with a Ghanaian accent.”

“I thought to myself, what has an accent got to do with this?” said Afrane-Twum. “Is this the way God wants us to do church?”

Originally from Ghana, Afrane-Twum had planted churches in three West African countries through the Calvary Chapel movement before immigrating to the UK in 2005 to further study theology and leadership. He soon observed many newcomers to Britain starting vibrant congregations—and numerous local churches dying. These realizations, in tandem with his challenging experiences working cross-culturally, led Afrane-Twum to research how African Christian leaders could better work with UK locals to revitalize faith across the country.

In Christian Mission in a Diverse British Urban Context, Afrane-Twum explores African identity in UK churches, the cultural barriers Africans face in the UK, and the need for more creative ways to reach out to diverse communities. He recently spoke with CT about the African migrant community in the UK and its potential to bring revival to the body of Christ in that country.

How would you assess the current relationship between the established UK churches and African immigrant congregations?

Some people refer to the black churches in the UK as doing reverse mission. The UK brought the gospel to us in Africa, they say, and now we are bringing the gospel …

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