Liberia: Alliance World Fellowship Talks ‘Stomach Issues’ of evangelism, Other Christian Matters
MONROVIA — The Alliance World Fellowship (AWF) is an umbrella body of Christian organizations (Churches) under the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA)—an evangelical group founded by Albert Benjamin Simpson, a Canadian-American Theologian, Evangelist, and Author.
Born on the 15th of December, 1843, Albert Benjamin Simpson migrated to America for globalization of his evangelical vision, especially Church planting. He died on the 29th of October, 1919.
AWF held a two-day Training Workshop that ran from 8th to the 9th of June, 2021 at the Church of the Believers (COB), Inc., Liberia’s first representative at AWF from 1994. COB, a CMA, serves as a mother of two different Christian denominations—Evangelical Protestant Church (Guinea’s branch) and Good Harvest Ministries (based in Liberia)—each attached to AWF. The Guinea’s Mission relocated to Liberia in 2014.
COB’s Senior Pastor, and also the current president of AWF-Liberia, Dr. Rev. Roosevelt Zarwulogbo Liberty, Sr., told this writer at the Workshop that his Ministry’s motherly role to these two different Churches is based on AWF’s policy of affiliation.
The policy, Rev. Liberty added, says any AWF member that wants to operate in a foreign Country should work under the AWF member already existing in the host Country.
“However, the Church of the Believers does not dictate to the teaching style of any of the affiliating Churches, except on enforcement of AWF’s evangelical doctrines that should be adhered to by all mother-or child-Church,” Dr. Liberty noted.
Only one person, a male, was the Facilitator at the Workshop.
Welcome Remark and Opening of the Training was done by Rev. Phillip Zoryu, Vice President—COB/AWF-Liberia.
COB’s Adult Choir took up the “Praise & Worship” segment first with a song, in English, telling God, “You Didn’t have to do it, but you did”
One of COB’s Christian Mothers, Mot. Theresa Bammie, a Missionary, did the Opening Prayer.
“Listen well and you will learn something good from here,” Pastor Arthur M. Reeves, Secretary General of COB/AWF-Liberia, admonished participants of the Training Workshop.
On ”Introducing the Facilitator”, Rev. Liberty said he is a citizen of Burkina Faso and sent by the Headquarter of AWF in the United States of America.
“Our special guest, Dr. Robert Sanou, has a doctoral degree in Law, and is currently on two doctoral degrees in different areas,” the Spiritual Head of COB provided additional information.
During his deliberations, the Francophone Nation’s citizen delivered fluently and eloquently in English.
On Day One, he spoke on three topics: “Introduction to Church and Community Development”, “What Kind of Organization for Development Office in the Church of Liberia”, and “Different Steps of Implementation of A Development Office”. The second presentation was on a model of the Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire Missions of AWF, for the Liberian Alliance Mission to emulate.
“Liberia is the first Country Western Missionaries to Africa first visited, so Liberia is a blessing to Africa,” the Facilitator began the main part of why he was at the Workshop.
Basing his first presentation or topic on Luke Chapter 4, verses 18 and 19, the Facilitator said evangelism is all about rescuing people from spiritual and physical bondage.
He said the spiritual part is preaching or prayer, while the physical part is about providing the physical needs of those we preach to as a strategy to draw them into the Church.
“Remember, Jesus fed the multitude of persons who had gathered to listen to his sermon or preaching. If he had only preached, many of the people would have gone away due to hunger,” the Burkinabe evangelist said to the assembly of Liberians.
During the course of his presentation, Dr. Sanou demonstrated prioritization of the spiritual needs by many Christian organizations, and lifted his right leg off the floor. “You cannot walk well if you are standing on only one leg.”
He defines “community” and said the Church and group of non-members of the Church, making up the “outside community”, are inter-dependent.
“The Church should provide the physical needs of the community. Begin with needs assessment, which would guide you on what the community needs and how to provide the needs,” he advised.
At the end of his third theme or topic, the Facilitator organized the participants into three groups for group discussion/presentation about a particular “needs” of the Church and methods of solving each need.
All groups picked agriculture and education; one group added “health” to its list.
“Agriculture can solve any problem, because it is universally considered as the backbone of any Nation. With agriculture, or farming, you can get money to meet the other needs—education and health” said Mr. Roosevelt Zarwulogbo Liberty, Jr., son of COB’s Senior Pastor, presenting for Group 3.
Day Two’s topics were: “Basic Principles of Community Development in A Christian Perspectives” and “The Good Governance of An NGO”
Dr. Sanou started with explaining is ordeal from the Government of Liberia, through the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) on is Coronavirus Testing by NPHIL. He said the fifty United States Dollars, testing fee, he paid wasn’t mentioned on the receipt issued to him by the NPHIL official assigned to him.
“I hope this will be resolved in time so that my planned departure, after the Workshop, will be possible,” he announced to body of participants.
Speaking on the first topic, the Facilitator advised members of AWF-Liberia Mission to sit with members of the community and ask them to speak about their needs, but cautioned identifying “real needs” and “less important needs”
On the second topic, he mentioned several attributes of the leader, including deeper knowledge of the organization, visionary, humility, and delegation of power to other members on the project.
“A leader should accept criticism. You were praised yesterday on doing the right thing. You should accept corrective comments today on your mistakes,” the Facilitator said when deliberating on “humility”.
At the end of each presentation, the Facilitator allowed questions and comments from participants.
Many of the contributions were on the following issues: financial constraints impeding implementation of the Church’s community-help program, human resource shortage on start of community project, and division in the Church based on actions of some officials in the Church.
English-French-Kpelle translation of discussions was done by Pastor Isaac Rogers Gnekoyamou and Assistant Pastor James Guilavogui of the Protestant Evangelical Church (PEC) of Liberia (formerly Guinea’s Mission)
The PEC did three musical selections—one in Guinean Kpelle (also a tribe in Liberia); two in French. One of the ones done in French is a popular English song titled “What the Lord Has Done For Me….I can’t tell it all”
At the end of the Workshop, the President of AWF-Liberia, Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Zarwulogbo Liberty, Sr. praised his Doctoral colleague for the splendid facilitations during the two days, and expressed the AWF-Liberia Mission’s wish for his return for another Workshop in the near future. The Liberian clergyman is a Writer, Author, Proprietor of the Christian High (located on 16th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia), and the Director/Lead Lecturer of the Liberty Theological Seminary (in the same building used for the High School)
In an exclusive interview with this writer at the end of the Workshop, Dr. Sanou said he’s AWF’s Teacher for eight Countries where the Alliance members (CMA) are.
“I’m the Executive Director of an NGO named ECHO, the acronyms of Education, Concern, Hunger, and Organization,” he said.