(LWP editors asked Grace Samson about her hopes for the Church in 2020. Below are her answers.)
Q. What are your hopes for the global Church ten years from now?
A. My hope is that the church will exist beyond the structures of the church building…that it will exist in all spheres of society. I hope we will not be stuck on numbers or attendance, but on the level of impact church members have as they engage in their various spheres of influence. My dream is that “church” will be an everyday commitment, not simply Sunday services once a week.
There are various forms and expressions of the church and I don’t believe one is superior to another. We need to be open to smaller gatherings in both unconventional and traditional worship places. The key is allowing ourselves to stretch the idea of whatever we have accepted “church” to be.
Q. What are your hopes for the Church in Africa ten years from now?
A. Africa as a continent is blessed with the gift of humility and hospitality. My hope is that we will put this combination to strategic use as we engage with the different spheres of society. For example, it is natural for governments to call on churches in times of political turbulence or disaster. These are ways the Church in Africa can use its opportunities in humility to influence society.
The Church in Africa is beginning to wake up to the fact that we need to influence various aspects of society if true transformation is to take place. We are seeing more Christians becoming active in engaging their spheres of influence. Should this continue, the Church in Africa will make a significant contribution and witness in the areas of salvation and discipleship in the various categories of life.
Q. In order to make these hopes a reality, what do the Body of Christ and church leaders need to start doing today?
A. We need to strip out all the layers that we have added to what church is; we need to re-discover what a “simple church” is. We need to be extremely sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to testing every doctrine and practice against the standard of God's word. We need to learn from each other. We must not be critical or defensive to other expressions of church life that is different from ours; instead, we need to ask genuine questions and make tangible observations in prayer and fellowship.