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Dr Geoffrey Walker, Roehampton University, UK.  The dominant global phenomenon in 20 th & 21 st century Christianity.  120 million followers  12,000+

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Geoffrey Walker, Roehampton University, UK.  The dominant global phenomenon in 20 th & 21 st century Christianity.  120 million followers  12,000+"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Geoffrey Walker, Roehampton University, UK

2  The dominant global phenomenon in 20 th & 21 st century Christianity.  120 million followers  12,000+ denominations  Roots are complex and various but include the 1906 Azusa Street Revival in LA, the 1905-1906 Welsh Religious Revival and the Sunderland Revival of 1907.

3  European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism (GloPent) [University of Birmingham] …  … part of the NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe ) – funded research programme on ‘The re-emergence of Religion as a Social Force in Europe’

4  Key focus of research – the growing impact of African (especially transnational Nigerian) migrant churches within the European religious landscape.

5  Data sets from 2 sources: 1. 57 semi-structured interviews from 2007 to date with Nigerian Pentecostal ministers and church leaders studying as ministerial theology students at Roehampton University. The majority from SE London.

6 2. Data sets from semi-structured interviews at two London Nigerian Pentecostal Bible Colleges: Christ the Redeemer College (Redeemed Christian Church of God) London College of Theology (Independent/ Life Centre Bible Church)

7  Two waves of African & Caribbean immigration which have generated black majority churches: 1. 1950s > : Pentecostalism a means for assisting migrant Christians to cope with ethnic and status deprivation caused by racial discrimination and unfamiliar indigenous religious culture and expressions.

8  Emphasis on …  Righteousness and holiness of living  Strict personal ethics  Separation from the world and materialism  Strongly Adventist

9 2. Second wave 1980s > : Pentecostal churches planted specifically to meet the needs of migrant populations. Main wave planted by denominations or individuals from Nigeria with a conscious missionary agenda: … to (re)-convert the UK … to exercise ‘mission in reverse’

10 1. Nigeria is African’s most populous nation. 2. Post 1970 emergence of vibrant and fast growing locally derived Pentecostal Churches. Focus on:  Holiness Movement,  Prosperity Gospel,  Deliverance Ministry 4. Deeper Life Bible Church – 6000+ church plants 5. Living Faith Church – 50,400 seat Faith Tabernacle in Lagos - largest church building in the world 6. Church-planting across Africa.

11 UK Border Agency data show the following: 1. 2007/2008 : 193,155 legal immigrants came to the UK from Nigeria 2. 2008/2009 : 200,220 legal immigrants came to the UK from Nigeria 58% of African immigrants in 2008/2009 came from Nigeria – second only to India in the volume of immigration.

12 LONDON: 80+ Nigerian initiated denominations.  part of trans-national networks & self- established independent churches with no formal outside links.  Rapid growth at a time when mainstream UK and many first wave black churches are in decline.

13 4 of the UK’s 10 largest mega-churches are led by Nigerians :  Deeper Life Bible Church, London Pastor W.F.Kumuyi (founded in Lagos 1973: now planted in 62 countries – 28 UK church plants)  3000+ weekly attendance in London  Weekly slot on UK Premier Radio

14  The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Josiah Akindayomi (founded in Lagos in 1952 – planted in the UK in 1985: 390 UK congregations 30,000 members). Now led by Pastor EA Adeboye The fastest growing Pentecostal denomination in the UK

15  MISSION STATEMENT: 1. To make heaven. 2. To take as many people with us. 3. To have a member of RCCG in every family of all nations. 4. To accomplish No. 1 above, holiness will be our lifestyle. 5. To accomplish No. 2 and 3 above, we will plant churches within five minutes walking distance in every city and town of developing countries and within five minutes driving distance in every city and town of developed countries. We will pursue these objectives until every Nation in the world is reached for the Lord Jesus Christ.

16  New Wine Church Greenwich (London) founded in 2001 by Nigerian Tayo Adeyemi 3,000+ weekly worshippers.  Success orientated  Spiritual empowerment  Nigerian communities in diaspora: university professional commerce & business  TV and radio stations

17 Kingsway International Christian Church Centre (KICC) London Europe’s largest single congregation - 12,000 Founded in London in 1992. Led by Nigerian born Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo KICC > Home

18 1. Nigerian Pentecostal experience, belief and practice motivates Christian action and creates identity construction in the UK for Nigerian immigrant communities. 2. It does this by reinforcing indigenous Nigerian religious and cultural norms:  Holiness  Prosperity  Deliverance  Gender stereotypes reinforced (male biblical hermeneutic)  Female empowerment of (disempowered) men.

19 3.The significance of Nigerian Pentecostal churches within the religious and spiritual context of 21 st century UK Christianity.  An urban (southern) phenomenon.  Significant growth through recruitment of international students and expatriate workers – middle to upper-class Nigerians in diaspora.  Many Nigerian Pentecostal churches in the UK are reaching other Africans living in diaspora.  Little evidence that Nigerian Pentecostalism attracts those (especially Afro-Caribbeans – active or lapsed) from other Pentecostal traditions

20 4. Little evidence of impact amongst:  non-religious Africans  traditional (white) UK population  First wave (mostly Caribbean) black majority church Christians  Overall UK demographics of religious affiliation continue to decline.

21 5. Indications that amongst early second wave plants the agenda has begun to move from ‘winning back the UK’ to witnessing through social action. Trinity Chapel, London (RCCG): Developing Leaders, Influencing Society  partnership initiatives with a number of secular (National Lottery funded) community programmes (prison visiting, literacy programmes, ecumenical social projects)

22 6. Does Nigerian Pentecostalism translate into local global environments in the West?  Generational stress – the result of broadening educational opportunities and cultural dissonance especially within the workplace.  Theological dissonance creates a sense of a religio- cultural ghetto that operates within a self-defining and legitimating hermeneutic

23 Interim conclusions: 1. Second Wave Nigerian Pentecostalism has reversed/ slowed-down the demographic decline in UK church attendance. 2. The suggestion that Nigerian Pentecostalism’s societal impact has raised the significance of ‘the Church’ as a religious plausibility structure for any but its own adherents is hard to maintain. 3. The early charismatic phase of planting is in decline as church plants themselves slow down.

24 Interim conclusions: 4. Evidence of disaffection amongst the young and the routinization of religious practices (especially challenges to holiness [lifestyle], the prosperity gospel and credulity towards deliverance ministry) and the accompanying shift of focus towards a gospel of social-witnessing is indicative of a gradual adaptation to western cultural norms. 5. In the long run Nigerian Pentecostal churches may go the way of longer established denominations.


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