It’s not that Africa needs a different kind of Christianity. But common challenges for ministry in much of Africa simply don’t arise in books published in the West. That’s why Conrad Mbewe wrote God’s Design for the Church: A Guide for African Pastors and Ministry Leaders, published by TGC and 9Marks with Crossway. The need for such a resource is tremendous: while about 9 million Christians lived in Africa at the beginning of the 20th century, that number reached 380 million by the year 2000. And it’s still growing.

Conrad Mbewe has served as pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia, since 1987. He’s a senior lecturer at African Christian University, founding Council member of TGC Africa, and past keynote speaker for The Gospel Coalition National Conference. In this book you’ll get biblical and theological guidance that transcends time, continent, and culture. You’ll see much appreciation for the strengths of African churches. And you’ll also get Conrad’s clear-eyed analysis of common weaknesses. For example, here are his comments on African preaching:

The popular sermons today are motivational speeches. They are based on worldly principles that promise people earthly benefits if they say the right words or do the right things. These draw the crowds, but the people are not interested in growth in holiness. They want entertainment and earthly treasures. There is also a very high turnover of congregants. Many become disillusioned because the principles they are being taught are not working for them and so they leave quietly. Many more come in and take their place, hoping that the magic formulas will work for them.

I don’t think you’d write something much different about the United States.

Conrad joins me on Gospelbound to discuss witchcraft, tribalism, the relationship between evangelism and mercy ministry, among other topics.

Editors’ note: 

Today’s episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by the Christian Standard Bible, a translation that presents the truth of God’s Word with accuracy and clarity for today’s readers, equipping them for lifelong discipleship. With hundreds of Bible designs to choose from, everyone can find a CSB Bible that they enjoy. Learn more at CSBible.com.