North Africa

My prayer for the young protesters in the North African nations is that their determination for change be driven by a desire to restore justice, mercy, love and morality to their nations. My other prayer is that these young reformers would seek to install leaders who will ensure religious freedom and of association. It is my prayer that the new leaders will put in place legislation that allows people to freely practice whatever religion they desire and allows for diverse viewpoints to be expressed without fear. As new leaders consider how to guide their ‘born again’ nations, may they never forget that they were once under oppressive governments that did not allow them the freedom of association.

Africa needs competent and inspirational leadership that cares about ordinary people. Care for the vulnerable is demonstrated by those who are actively serving the needs of those in their community. The protests with the greatest lasting value are led by people who do not only speak out in the streets but take action in their communities through sacrificial service with the most vulnerable in society. Leadership that cares about vulnerable people is identified through the hard work of serving those in our community. Because the situation in North Africa happened so suddenly, there is a real chance that those who will avail themselves to lead will be those who most vehemently resisted the oppressive regimes and not necessarily those who have the most compelling vision for the country. African is full of examples of removing the ‘devil’ it knew and replacing it with the ‘devil’ it didn’t know. May God help Africa identify leaders who have earned the right to lead by first serving those whom they will ask to follow.

Sub-Saharan Africa, which is largely Christian, should not have any problem finding political leaders with a track record of sacrificial service. Unfortunately, the average African notices mostly secular Non Governmental Organizations sponsoring services to the community such as micro loans, psychosocial counselling, youth employment, family planning, women rights, environment care and children rights. Save the occasional HIV and AIDS program or Community School, the average African will be hard pressed to find a local church sponsoring any social service to the community at large. In a world where the leaders we elevate are those who are skilled in public protest or who have money to bribe us how do we choose a leader filled with Christ-like compassion?

The book of Acts gives us help in this matter of choosing Christ-like leaders. For example, Cornelius is introduced as, “a devout man who feared the God of Israel… He gave generously to charity and was a man who regularly prayed to God.” We also hear about Dorcas who “was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.” African Christians South of Sahara do not need to go the way of North Africa to remove bad leaders. Like Dorcas, let us go into communities where the danger of protest and destruction is looming and offer to help. In this way Christians demonstrate why they should be awarded the mantle of leadership at a time when our nations are being threatened with destruction. How is your church serving your community? Service to the community is an opportunity to elevate your agenda that Jesus is Lord.

Lawrence Temfwe