A Harvest Sown by Generations
By Wendy Griffith
CBN News Reporter
LONDON For centuries, England sent missionaries to Africa. But
in recent years, it's the Africans who have been bringing the gospel to England.
In fact, the fastest growing church in England is now pastored by a Nigerian
who is a former Muslim. So why is this evangelistic turnabout taking place?
Matthew Ashimolowo pastors the quickly growing Kingsway International Christian
Center in London. In the last 10 years, Kingsway has exploded from just 200
to 10,000 members. Ashimolowo is part of a new phenomenon known as "reverse
"God is sending people who used to receive missionaries to now be missionaries
around the world," he explained.
Ashimolowo is just one of several African pastors that seem to be doing the
impossible. They are packing pews in record numbers while the majority of
churches in England are losing members in record numbers.
So what are the African pastors doing differently? Ashimolowo says its simple.
They preach the Word of God and the principles of faith they learned during
the Nigerian revival, which began in the 1970's and is still going strong.
"Those teachings were foundational in them believing for the supernatural
and also believing that God is able to do the supernatural," Ashimolowo
said. "So when they come into a post-Christian Europe, shall I say, a
very atheistic Europe, they carry the faith they've known and they stand-out
and they run the church the way they believe they've seen it elsewhere. And
I believe God honors those who are daring enough like Daniel, and the three
Hebrew men, to stand-out."
London is home to nearly 12 million people. It is a city with enormous economic
and political impact, but according to Ashimolowo, it is spiritually deficient.
He believes God has placed a mandate on him and other African pastors to have
an impact on the city of London.
He said, "We believe that the city of London needs to hear the dynamic Gospel.
It used to be a city from where many missionaries went out, and also a city
where great pastors have been raised before Charles Spurgeon and the Spurgeon
Tabernacle, G. Campbell Morgan in Westminster Chapel, and T. Kendal is still
here and some other great names."
It is no secret that the church in England is in dire straits. Ashimolow
says 32,000 people leave the Anglican Church each year. Out of 37,000 churches
in England, about 24,000 have 100 or fewer members, while 8,000 churches have
50 people in attendance. Fifty-four percent of the 37,000 churches do not
have teen-agers, and 41 percent do not have babies.
Ashimolowo says the decline of the church in England can be traced back to
World War II. "The adult generation that saw WWII, even though it ended in
victory for Britain, that adult generation stopped going to church. And with
them having stopped going to church, their children became the adults of the
60's and their children didn't go to church. Their children having not gone
to church, they produce the adults of the 80's, they also did not go to church."
Despite his phenomenal church growth in recent years, Pastor Matthew says
the spiritual climate here in England and most of Europe for the matter, remains
He said, "We're the biggest church in Europe, biggest church in England
but we're not being celebrated or given such opportunity. And rather, they
would act or pretend we're not here, or rather, throw laws in our way, to
make things harder and harder, just like Daniel, his success provoked new
The good news is Ashimolowo's success is apparently rubbing off on some neighboring
non-African led churches.
"Whenever you have a visible church, it tends to challenge others within
a few miles radius to buckle up and move up," Ashimolowo said. "I
do that think a good number of white-led, evangelical churches have also woken
up because they've seen that this thing is possible."
As Ashimolowo likes to put it, he and other African pastors may be a "living
sign and wonder" to the church in England.
"God is doing something. He had a reason for using blacks in the diaspora
to start something. I think what God is doing is He's using them as a sign
and a wonder to let people know there is still hope," he said.
Ashimolow says England is not the only place God is using African preaches
to bring the Living Water of God to a spiritually dry country. He says several
Russian and Ukrainian churches also boast thousands of members, and they are
pastored by Nigerians. He calls that another "living sign and wonder" to the
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