REDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD
OPEN HEAVENS LONDON
OPEN HEAVENS LONDON
Missional Ecclesiology at RCCG - Open Heavens London
The RCCG-OHL is part of a broader network of parishes—or denomination—called the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). The RCCG has its origin in Nigeria, and currently has member-churches in about 140 countries around the world. It is the fastest growing denomination in Africa. It is also becoming one of the fastest growing churches in Europe and North America. It has its international headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, on a piece of land called “Redemption City.”
The RCCG-OHL has its location in a town where the majority of the population is white and Christian. As a result, and just like every other African immigrant church in existence, it has been a challenge to make a missional connection with our city for two primary reasons. Firstly, because of the cultural baggage that comes with any form of Christianity, which has made it difficult for Africans to reach British people with the gospel. Secondly, most of the British Christians in the area are already active in their churches and do not find it necessary to mix with African immigrant churches even when the Africans are renting their church halls. Therefore, as Kwiyani suggests in Sent Forth, Africa’s missionary presence [in Britain] has yet to blossom.”
the future of British Christianity as a whole?
THE FUTURE OF BRITISH CHRISTIANITY AS A WHOLE?
This question of the elements of a missional ecclesiology in an African immigrant church is of extreme importance, both to the future of African Christianity in Britain, but also to the future of British Christianity as a whole. The main reason for this conviction is that, as yet, African Christians in Britain are almost entirely locked up in African immigrant churches. Also, most of those immigrant churches are practicallyaltogether African in their membership. That means that there is currently very little cross-breeding between African and British Christians. For various reasons like language and church cultures, Africans are mostly unable to reach British people with the gospel and of course, vice versa. All in all, it is a conviction that if African Christians would take the British context sincerely for the sake of mission, there is a need to become missional. Thus, their ecclesiological life will have to be shaped by mission. They will have to manifest many elements of a missional ecclesiology.
The acceptance of the elements of missional ecclesiology in the RCCG-OHL is through the reading of the books explored above as well as the mission and ecclesiology from an African perspective. Thus, even though as picked up from DarellGuder, Lois Barret, Patrick Keifert, Craig Van Gelder, Michael Frost, Alan Hirsch, Martin Robinson, and many others, the mission has brought some elements that these scholars have not mentioned at all, like prayer and generosity. RCCG-OHL would now turn to these elements starting first with those that are present and then those that are vital butnonexistent.
Generally, I have heard and learned about these elements in my conversations with non-Western mission scholars. Some of my thinking about this has been shaped by the last three chapters of Kwiyani’s Sent Forth.
PASTOR GABRIEL DIYA
Minister in Charge