Penetrating Africa’s Islamic Rim From the
Coats are worn for warmth in certain parts of Africa. Some coats are reversible and the inner side can be turned out to serve as a raincoat. By doing so, the purpose of the coat is reversed from providing warmth to protecting from the rain.
The church outside Africa has been wearing the “missionary coat” as it seeks to establish the kingdom of God along Africa’s Islamic Rim, and with some success. Now it is apparent that the time has come to reverse the role and let the burgeoning church of Africa put on the “missionary coat” in order to penetrate their continent’s Islamic Rim from the inside out.
Africa’s Islamic Rim is formed by 18 coastal countries, beginning with Sierra Leone on the west, continuing in unbroken sequence across the north and reaching all the way down to Mozambique on the east. The shores of these countries are the homeland of more than 80 people groups with a total population of more than 100 million.
Peoples groups along this rim are exclusively Islamic, except for four small African traditional religion groups—one in Sierra Leone, two in Guinea-Bissau and one in Kenya—and one Christian group in Tanzania, the Kwere.
The glaring spiritual need of Africa’s Islamic Rim, viewed in light of Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations,” is staggering. These beautiful people made in the image of God are lost in their sins and need to be introduced to the Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Every believer is responsible for the salvation of people living on Africa’s Islamic Rim. Each must do his or her part in providing an adequate witness of the gospel. However, the reality of the situation is that the segment of the body of Christ that is ideally located, culturally relevant and dynamically empowered by the Holy Spirit to puncture the Islamic Rim is the African church.
The womb of the African church is heavy with child, the birth pangs of cross-cultural missions south of the Sahara is evident and the birth of a missions thrust deep into the Islamic Rim is at hand. The Holy Spirit is serving as the midwife to bring about a safe delivery, for it is “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).