The Sleeping Giant: Conference Inspires Church of God in Africa

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Global Strategy

By John Johnson

During the opening remarks at the East Africa Church of God Leaders Conference held at Kima International School of Theology (KIST), April 4–5, 2023, Rt. Rev. James Obunde, the archbishop of the Church of God, East Africa (Kenya), referred to an old saying describing Africa as a “sleeping giant.” What if the sleeping giant were awakened?

Africa is a continent of vast natural beauty and resources, to which many nations outside of Africa have sought to lay claim. Africans have been impoverished and subjugated. Wars have been fought and, in fact, continue to be fought. However, “the greatest resource of the church in Africa is her manpower,” stated the archbishop. “We have more than enough personnel to disciple the nations on this continent and even beyond, even the West.” He concluded by saying, “The church in Africa must arise and shine together if we are to accomplish our mandate, fulfill our calling.”

Church leaders from Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda were welcomed by the Church of God in Kenya and Kima International School of Theology, for two days of meetings during Holy Week. Many thanks to the Kenyan Church of God for providing transportation and meals, and to KIST for providing lodging, hosting the meetings, and preparing and serving the meals. Times of fellowship around the table were rich and wonderful. Important conversations took place and friendships were rekindled or made anew.

But if the sleeping giant is to be awakened, leaders must be equipped. KIST was reintroduced to those gathered as a unique and critical institution for the discipling of Africa. Pictured above are the KIST principal, Rev. Patrick Mulayo, and general secretary of the Church of God, East Africa (Kenya), Rev. Jared Akondo. A time of prayer was held after each presentation. Of those present, six were KIST alumni, and one was a former chaplain and instructor.

Existing and developing relationships among national leaders is vital to awakening the sleeping giant and propelling the church forward in East Africa. It was a privilege to be part of this gathering and to meet more of the East African leaders.

There was great joy throughout the gathering that extended even to the various departure times. Some traveled over land two days and had to overnight on the way. Even those who flew in had to deal with complicated travel arrangements and long layovers. Nonetheless, everyone agreed it was worth the effort to get there.

While the venue, food, temperatures, numbers attending, schedule, length of the gathering, languages spoken, worship style, and subjects varied greatly from the West Africa gathering in February, this gathering met and exceeded our hopes and dreams. The hymn above (one of many sung throughout the gathering) was one of the closing songs.

At the conclusion of the meeting, those gathered resolved to come alongside the Church of God in Rwanda. It was decided to have the next East Africa gathering in Rwanda in June 2024 and to encourage the general assemblies of each country represented to gather funds to build a permanent headquarters church building for the Church of God in Rwanda.

Should you like to assist in these all-important regional gatherings (the next regional gathering is scheduled to take place in Malawi in August 2023), please click on the following link: All Africa Assembly, Project 42.30320.

Should you like to join the East African churches in helping establish a permanent national headquarters church in Rwanda, please click on the following link Rwanda Church Development, Project 42.30490.

John and Gwen Johnson serve as regional coordinators through Global Strategy for Africa. Learn more about the Church of God around the world, including the ministry of John and Gwen Johnson, at

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