African lady with child
map of Ghana
GHANA

THE APOSTOLIC LUTHERAN CHURCH OF GHANA
The Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana was started in January 1995 as an offshoot of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana, a missionary church of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). Originally called the Lutheran Church of Ghana, the church has since June 2004 been affiliated with the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America, and as a result has since been renamed the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana.

The Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana has six congregations, all located in suburbs of the capital city of Ghana, Accra. Currently, we have about 500 members. However, we work in close association with 20 African Indigenous Churches in the capital city alone and over 30 others in regions close to the capital city. The two groups have a total membership of about 9,000. Most of these partner churches have expressed interest in joining with our church but we have been hesitant in giving the nod because, invariably, they request that we take over their financial and all other responsibilities. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity and capability to do so. In any case we are comfortable working with them on independent basis and even that takes a hard toll on our very limited human and financial resources. We do the best we can in the circumstances.

Our connection with our African Indigenous Churches outside of the capital city however continues to suffer a serious jolt on account of our inability to reach out to them as often as would enable us make a significant impact on their faith. Means of transport to visit and work with them is one of our primary needs. Public transport to most of these areas, where available, is woefully unreliable and this unfortunately tend to frustrate our evangelism efforts. We will not give up though, especially because these churches continue to look up to us for insight regarding the Gospel.

OUR MISSION
The Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana aims at working toward creating awareness of the saving power in Jesus Christ with the view to drawing un-reached souls and Christians with self-righteous disposition to Christ in order that they might put their faith in Him, depending on Him alone for salvation.

To reach our stated Mission, the leadership of the Apostolic Lutheran Church has placed great emphasis on teaching the true Doctrine of Jesus Christ, of course using the Bible and related literature developed by the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America, first to its members, and sending them out to identified groups and communities that are so deeply steeped in scriptural legalisms. In equipping our members for evangelism we ensure that they do not go out, pointing their targets' sins to them but to declare the unfailing love of Christ to all with the view to making disciples for Him.

We in the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana have towed this mission line because of the dominance of several orthodox, Pentecostal and African Indigenous churches on the African Christian arena and their disparaging attitude toward the Gospel. The theologies of these churches are informed by anything but the Gospel of, and about the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, even though well over 50% of Africans claim to be Christians, a vast majority of them believe that the way to salvation is by one's good deeds (self righteousness) and prayers. In the circumstances, Jesus Christ is put on the back burner in many churches in Africa!

We do not condemn our legalistic sisters and brothers of other denominations; in fact, we admire them for their tireless efforts to infuse morality in the church and society through their teachings but we seek to correct the imbalance in their biblical teaching, maintaining that the horse ought to be put before the cart, not the other way round! We believe that when people truly come to faith in Jesus Christ, His Word, through the work of the Holy Spirit, is able to bring them in line with right living. Doing what we have set ourselves to do as a church is no mean task at all in our African milieu. It requires several hundred times the human and financial resources at our disposal but we think that we can do something with what we have.

It is being bandied around that Africa is the continent with the highest Christian growth rate in the last century. While this is true, it remains an indisputable fact that very many (blinds) are being led by the blind and unless some meaningful intervention is made for Christ by those of us who have been called to be his ambassadors, Christianity will lose its very essence - salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone - in the not-too-distant future. To think that 30% of "Christian" churches in the capital city of Ghana do not use the Bible at all!! Not that they cannot afford to buy them - indeed there are many who cannot afford them - but the real reason is that their pastors either do not have any training in the Bible or are not interested in the Gospel which cannot be used in "extorting" money from poor thirsty souls. These pastors are merely concerned about using the name of God to perform miraculous healing in their churches. Another 30% who use the Bible are only comfortable referring to the Old Testament. 25% tend to make laws out of Gospel, leaving only about 15% who do well to use the Bible to exalt Christ through a balanced teaching. These figures are research findings I made when I was writing thesis for my first degree in 1995. While orthodox/mainline churches like the Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican etc. use the Bible at varying levels, many African Indigenous churches (AICs) only partially employ or do not use the Bible at all as noted earlier. some of these AICs could only be described as faith healing centers. I have been to several of these churches and observed that, from start to finish, the 'pastors' only prophesized (Forecast) and used elements like "Florida Water" and "anointed" oil to perform healing exercises. Many of their congregants go to "church" only to seek spiritual solutions to their problems. In other words, they do not go to hear to Gospel. We in the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana and others think that we have a responsibility to fill the Christ-faith void in their lives in order to bring true healing to them via the Gospel.

OUR MINISTRY
Driven by the dictates of our Mission Statement we are currently engaged in teaching the Gospel to several African Indigenous Churches and other Christian groups. We had planned to do radio evangelism (A very effective way of reaching out with the Gospel in Ghana) but have not been able to raise the required money and so have put the plan on the shelves for the meantime. We have also decided to use our church premises to train African Indigenous pastors especially in the teaching of the Gospel. Our Church President with several years experience in lecturing in a theological seminary has offered to run the program. Readers would find request for funds for this ministry at the back of the latest edition (July-Sept 2005) of the Foreign Mission Board of the ALCA Newsletter. We are also working toward raising funds to complete a school for children of Liberian Refugees in Ghana. This project is being spearheaded by our Refugee Congregation at a refugee camp close to the capital city.

HIV/AIDS Advocacy and Awareness is a major ministry that we are currently engaged in. Fortunately, we receive funds from a donor in America to run this program. It is gratifying to know that this ministry has become the lifeline for our Mission. We would definitely not have made the impact we have made in Ghana as a church if we did not have the support to go into HIV/AIDS ministry. The point is, when we go our to do this ministry we take the opportunity to project the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel to all people with varying religious inclination especially Muslims and animists who would otherwise turn their back to us. HIV/AIDS funds, limited as it were, have tremendously helped us to reach out of the capital city to associate and work with African Indigenous Churches who are thirsty for, but denied insight into the Gospel by their leaders.

I wish to have it on record that our Youth have been the driving force of our ministry. Without them we would have achieved very little. They deserve the church's further commendation for their voluntary spirit demonstrated especially in clean-up exercises in the community and hospitals. Equally commendable is their occasional outreach to educate households on proper sanitation.

In the future, when our church is better resourced, we would think about going into Adult Education Ministry in rural Ghana to enable more illiterates read the Bible in their own dialect.

We urge all readers to keep our church in prayer as we struggle to evangelize Ghana. The Church in the USA continues to be in our prayers.

GOD'S PEACE.

Pastor Frank Kodjo Famiyeh
Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana

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