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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid