Nigeria (MNN) — Yesterday, we talked about what happens after ISIS. Now, we’re discussing the militant group known as Boko Haram. While they are being pushed out of northern Nigeria, their influence is still as potent as ever.
Just ask Ken Janke of Global Advance, who just returned from a trip training Christian leaders across Nigeria. Thanks to the work of Boko Haram and others, he says Nigeria has a strong religious divide between the northern and southern regions of the country.
“There [are] extreme manifestations of years of indoctrination from negative propaganda against Christians and Christianity from Islamic leaders in the north,” while the south as stronger Christian influence.
But strong Muslim influence in the north isn’t stopping Christian leaders from operating in the area. “These are underserved and isolated pastors who are committed to the long-term, and they are greatly relevant to their context because of our prayers and our support and even the training we were doing there,” says Janke.
(Photo courtesy of Global Advance)
These leaders believe fixing the Church is the key to bringing change and stability back to Nigeria. “The truth is that the presence of Christ ushers in peace, and when the Church thrives and grows, the peace of God fills the land,” Janke says. “We can see the transformation of society and the uprooting of this Islamic threat across northern Africa when we’re strengthening the Church.”
That’s why Global Advance is training Christian leaders across Nigeria. These believers will be equipped to train and encourage their sisters and brothers so they can think strategically about building back the Church.
But the opposition for these leaders is fierce. Pastors are being beaten, churches burnt or bulldozed, farmers deprived of their land, and Christians have been denied service at markets and Muslim businesses.
That’s where you come in. “We believe that we can help defeat the Islamic threat that is pushing against the Church and intimidating and causing slow growth and the spread of Christianity across that part of Africa,” says Janke. But that can only happen through prayer.
When these leaders are trained, Janke says the Church grows, the Gospel is advanced, misconceptions about Christianity are corrected, and local believers learn to integrate their faith with their daily lives. Pray that “believers can push back against the Islamic movement” and that the Church in the north and south of Nigeria can unite in the face of these trials.