Church has played critical role in Africa’s progress

Thursday, March 28th, 2024 04:49 | By
The Church and Clergy Association of Kenya chairman bishop Hudson Ndeda during a past Press briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print
The Church and Clergy Association of Kenya chairman bishop Hudson Ndeda during a past Press briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print

Recently, I visited Nakuru City. The renowned religious figure, Prophet David Owuor, was in town, drawing crowds during his mega service.

The city was abuzz with excitement and lots of economic opportunities. Local businesses saw a surge in sales as visitors flocked to the city to attend the event. Hotels had bookings, restaurants were bustling, and shops filled with eager customers.

The vibrant atmosphere and economic boost brought about by the event were truly remarkable. Economically speaking, the event brought lots of revenue to the county. It was a testament to the power of the church in other spheres.

As the Easter holidays approach, we wonder and reflect on the influence the church has in this modern era. Karl Marx famously stated that religion is the opium of the masses, but is this truly the case, or have we been scrutinizing the church through a biased lens?

In today’s world, some view the church as a nuisance. In Europe and parts of Africa, churches seem to have lost their significance in the development of society, and there is a growing dismissiveness towards churches. It is crucial to recognise that, without the church, human history would be vastly different. The story of humanity is intertwined with the story of the church.

Civilization has evolved over the centuries, starting with the establishment of the church over 2000 years ago within the Roman Empire. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the church played a pivotal role in shaping society.

It spearheaded education, establishing centres of learning in the Western world. The church was not only a hub for academia but also for science, the arts, and culture. Many pillars of Western society, such as music, art, and science, owe their origins to the church.

The work ethic in the Western world, of which Kenya is a part, can be traced back to the Protestant Reformation. The church instilled the belief that individuals could change their fate through hard work and determination. Health, science, and humanitarianism were all influenced by church teachings.

It is essential to acknowledge the profound impact the church has had on history. Discounting its influence is a denial of the past and the significant role it has played in shaping the world.

Africa has developed significantly, thanks to the church. In Kenya, the church has been a great source of development. Even if the church has encountered opposition from some sections of society, it is critical to acknowledge the good contributions it has made to the continent.

Over the past 40 years, African society has experienced significant improvements, largely attributed to the influence of the church. The church was instrumental in teaching individuals about setting goals, having a vision, being forward-thinking, and inspiring people to start enterprises.

The church emphasized the importance of building nuclear families, faithfulness in marriage, and responsibility towards our children. These key factors have contributed to the emergence of a new Africa, driven not by state sponsorship but by the messages and teachings of the churches.

The churches have played a crucial role in creating a visionary and aspirational society, inspiring individuals to achieve their goals and giving them the courage to face each day. The church has been at the forefront of shaping this new Africa. It is important to recognize the historical role of the church, both in Western society and in Africa, to fully appreciate its impact.

It is essential to avoid making sweeping generalizations about the church based on isolated incidents involving church leaders. A critical examination of the church’s contributions to society over the past four decades reveals its significant role in fostering an aspirational society.

Without the church, Africa would not have the same level of aspiration and progress that we see today. The church continues to be a driving force in shaping the future of Africa.

—The writer is an Innovations Evangelist and a PhD Candidate.
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