News / USA

Nigerian Church Has Huge Expansion Plans in US

Nigerian Church Has Huge Expansion Plans in USi
X
October 26, 2013 12:29 AM
The Redeemed Christian Church of God was founded in 1952 in Nigeria. It had no U.S. presence a few decades ago, but has since planted hundreds of churches across the country. It now aims to harness the explosive growth of African Christianity in re-evangelizing a country where surveys show that one in five people don’t belong to any faith. VOA’s religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky visited the church’s newly expanded headquarters in northern Texas.

Nigerian Church Has Huge Expansion Plans in US

The Redeemed Christian Church of God was founded in 1952 in Nigeria. It had no U.S. presence a few decades ago, but has since planted hundreds of churches across the country. It now aims to harness the explosive growth of African Christianity in re-evangelizing a country where surveys show that one in five people don’t belong to any faith. A visit to the church’s newly expanded headquarters in northern Texas shows what is in the works.

In this bucolic setting in Floyd, Texas, the Redeemed Christian Church of God recently opened its $15-million North American Redemption Camp.

A recent gathering here featured spirituals and fervent prayer.

It also featured the church’s worldwide leader, Enoch Adeboye. “In Jesus’ mighty name we have prayed! “Amen!” he said.

His appearance was part of a U.S. tour that began at a rented megachurch in Maryland. His disciples consider him a prophet, despite the former mathematics professor’s almost phlegmatic demeanor.

“Don’t be surprised if tomorrow you have a test on what you have learned today,” he said playfully to laughter.

His lesson was on how to win converts for this intensely energetic Pentecostal movement.

Pastor James Fadele is the North American director, also based in Texas. He said the headquarters are not finished and will be expanded outward to ultimately seat one million people.

Fadele argued that if large rallies can be held in America over issues like civil rights… “Why can’t we gather one million people overnight just to worship God, to praise God, and just be ecstatic and just worship and dance. It’s going to come to pass, mark it down.”

The U.S. has many imported religions. But this one could be influential. A Rice University study found that Nigerians are the most highly educated people in the country.

Fadele concedes there’s a cultural obstacle. “Right now when I speak, people say I have an accent. Some other people that come to church say, 'You know what? We are straining our ears to understand you.'”

There are few non-Africans here and only one white couple.

But Matt Patterson believes American Christianity has lost its evangelical fervor. "Jesus said to go out and preach the Gospel, not just certain groups, not just people they’re comfortable talking to, but he said to go out and tell everyone. And that’s exactly what this church does.”

As night falls, the supplications become more intense.

The West may have brought Christianity to Africa, but this African church believes it has a mission from God to re-Christianize societies that it sees as too secular and Godless.

Could African religion appeal to Americans who increasingly are shunning their own spiritual roots?

Nigerian-born religion professor Kola Abimbola said the church has “huge prospects.”

Why? Because he says it takes the Christian belief in God and angels…

“And then they believe in evil forces which go beyond that which is contained in the bible,” said Abimbola.

Abimbola, who also is a Yoruba priest, said traditional African religions view multiple sources of evil at work in everyday life.

“It definitely appeals to people who are not Nigerian, people who believe that religion might make an important contribution to navigate this complex terrain we call the world,” he said.

“Wave your handkerchiefs and make the devil mad!” exclaimed Adeboye.

Making the devil mad makes these believers want to dance. But it’s far from clear how many Americans will make a cultural shift and find meaning in this rapidly growing African style of Christianity.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid