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I received an update from friends at the Church of Christ (Ghanaian Congregation) that meets in the building of the University Park Church of Christ in Hyattsville, Md.
I visited the church earlier this year — during a reporting trip to the Washington area with Bobby Ross — and reported on Ghanaian congregation as part of our ongoing Global South series. (I also wrote a blog post about my time with the Ghanaian Christians.)
(Worshiping in the twi language on U.S. soil was a unique experience. I also remember that, as I snapped photos during the service, one of the church members offered to use my camera to take some photos of me singing with the congregation. That was a first.)
Recently, the Ghanaian church celebrated its fifth anniversary. Members participated in an all-night prayer service “aimed at thanking God for his guidance and blessings over the church since its inception, and (asking) God to revitalize us with renewed strength to grow the church,” said Kingsley Boateng, a member of the Maryland church and a research fellow for the National Institutes of Health.
The church also hosted a picnic, featuring a variety of Ghanaian dishes (hopefully, they enjoyed some Red Red — my personal favorite) and a thanksgiving and memorial service. Richard Adu Sr., one of the church’s pioneers, presented a history of the congregation. Adu is a senior microbiologist at George Washington Hospital.
Earlier this year, the church hosted an international lectureship for Ghanaian congregations in the U.S. and Canada. About 212 people attended, representing 10 U.S. states and Canada. The theme was “Church Leadership and Governance.” Speakers included:
Organizing the event was Representatives of Churches of Christ, or ROCC, a group of leaders among the Ghanaian congregations who share a common goal — “to evangelize North America and beyond,” according to a report prepared by Kingsley and fellow church members Sampson Kumi and Safo Dankwa.
Here’s an excerpt from the report, in which the Ghanaian Christians explain the purpose of the lectureship. They begin by quoting instructions about the selection of church elders in Titus 1:6-9:
In many ways, churches tend to grow or remain stagnant based on the quality of their leaders. Strong, godly leadership is important, as is good governance, clear decision-making processes and appropriate accountability.
When it comes to the subjects of leadership and governance, the New Testament presents a fairly fluid and emerging model for local churches. That’s why there are so many different views on what church leadership should look like today and the extent of authority they posses. There is some confusion and uncertainty among churches today — especially among Ghanaian congregations in the diaspora — on leadership authority. For some, the congregation is the group vested with authority on church matters. Others see the call to the ministry of the minister and/or elders (business committee) and the endowment of spiritual.gif?Action=thumbnail&Width=460&algorithm=proportionalts as license for authoritative action.
This lectureship sought to highlight the specific, divinely determined role, requirements and expectations on leaders within the church in this present day and age. A changing and relevant priesthood demands that we constantly re-examine our operations of leadership and stewardship of the church. The caliber and functions of leadership must be based on biblically sound and spiritually accurate principles.
A new breed of leaders in all spheres of church responsibility must be raised to give oversight to God’s kingdom — his Body — and to provide accelerated momentum to the rate at which his eternal purposes are efficiently and effectively accomplished on earth.
Here is a video I shot during my visit to the Maryland congregation:
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