Northern Outreach and New Church Development in Northern Ghana - March 2018 Update

“They are at the heart of all we do at our presbytery!”

In an unambiguous way Rev. Emmanuel Atami, chairperson of the Upper Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, described the importance of their 182 catechists, evangelists and caretakers (untrained catechists). Because the presbytery has 25 ordained pastors, 82 congregations, and 92 preaching points, the role that these dedicated volunteers play is of vital importance.

Located close to the borders with Burkina Faso, Togo and Ivory Coast, the northern part of Ghana is usually seen as the Muslim region of the country, although it is also home to a variety of traditional religions and a growing Christian community. The Presbyterian Church of Ghana lives into its call by equipping and commissioning as many people as possible to serve as leaders. All of them are dedicated individuals that go to serve in villages usually not accessible to ordained pastors. The Outreach Foundation works in partnership with two Presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in the development of new leaders for the work of community transforming evangelism.

Under the name “Apollo’s Project,” catechists visit the often remote locations and preach, teach and lend their support to the people of God gathering in those places. They do this out of a sense of call to be supportive to the congregations that are formed through the joyful evangelistic efforts of Presbyterians in their ethnically and religiously diverse communities. Most evangelists, catechists and caretakers travel on bicycles or public transportation without receiving a salary or being reimbursed for their expenses. Here are just a few of the ways in which they prioritize their commitment to inviting others to become aware of God’s grace in Jesus Christ:

•    Pastors and lay leaders created a collaborative hub to ensure that the Christian education and leadership development resources are translated into the 17 languages spoken in the area. Emmanuel speaks nine of them!

•    A youth event that The Outreach Foundation group that visited last year attended faced difficult issues “head on” such as how to be faithful in living out our faith by building relationships with people who are violent towards Christians.

•    One of the most important Christian education resources is a handbook that gives people ideas about how to share the Gospel with their friends and neighbors.

•    A workshop on “waging peace” is co-sponsored by the presbytery to help its leaders develop roadmaps for going beyond religious co-existence into the creation of cohesive communities that seek their common good.

The Upper Presbytery has experienced an increase of more than 60% since its inception in November of 2010. By being engaged in acts of service such as advocacy for the most marginalized members of society, water purification, youth education, health promotion, and agricultural stations our brothers and sisters are giving a very compelling witness to the love of Christ and inspiring us as we seek to do the same.

We are grateful for how the prayers and support of congregations and individuals in the United States make it possible for The Outreach Foundation to collaborate with Presbyterians in Northern Ghana and to help more of us here learn with them about being seriously committed to Christ’s mission as the “heart” of their church.

Juan Sarmiento    
Associate Director for Mission

Read more about Northern Outreach and New Church Development in Northern Ghana HERE.

The Outreach Foundation is seeking $100,000 in support of low-cost church construction ($80,000), scholarships for evangelist training ($10,000), and motorbikes for the evangelists to reach their congregations or start new churches ($10,000).