Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rapid Church Growth In Ghana

Some of the strongest, most recent growth of the Church in Africa has occurred in Ghana. Currently there are seven stakes in Ghana. The first stakes were organized on April 21st, 1991 in Accra and Cape Coast by Elder Packer and Elder Faust. In 1997 the third and fourth stakes were created in Takoradi and Accra respectively. The Kumasi Ghana stake was the fifth stake, organized in 1998. The last two stakes to be created in Ghana were in Tema (on the outskirts of Accra where the MTC is for West Africa) in 2006 and Accra in 2007. There are also five member districts in Ghana (which I provided with the year they were created). They are in Asamankese (1987), Assin Foso (1987), Swedru (1989), Koforidua (1995), and Nkawkaw (2007).

A second mission for Ghana was created in Cape Coast in 2007. Missionaries reported that one of the purposes of the new mission was to facilitate inland member districts with becoming stakes. The temple in Accra was dedicated in the beginning of 2004. Since the dedication of the temple we have seen a marked increase in baptisms and new congregations organized. At the end of 2003 there were 23,738 members and 74 congregations. At the end of 2008 membership rose to 38,224 organized into 99 congregations. For the five year period before the temple was dedicated membership increased only by about 8,000 and congregations increased by 17.

This year the Church has created many new congregations in Ghana. In an article about a stake conference held in Kumasi, allAfrica.com stated the following:

The Kumasi Stake President of the Church, Mr. Richard Samche, noted that currently, the Church had about 3,000 congregations, with about seven units in the Kumasi metropolis, and said plans were being made to extend its branches to other towns outside the capital to make it more accessible to people who wish to join the Church.

A member of the Church visited Accra for a month stated the following about a recently held stake conference there on her blog:

Today was my last day going to church here. It was stake conference and
they changed the boundaries and got new bishops for new branches being
formed.

Granted branches have branch presidents and not bishops, but this quote further indicates the rapid growth currently occurring in Ghana, especially around Accra. This year there have been at least 20 new congregations created in Ghana. Many groups or dependent branches are also functioning. I have not found any information about how close any of the districts in the country are to becoming stakes, but a couple of the stakes are close to splitting. The Ghana Cape Coast Mission reported that they are receiving dozens more missionaries in the coming months, resulting in many new proselyting areas opening. I have not heard if baptisms are higher this year than usual.

Even with new branches and more missionaries entering the country there remain large areas of the country in which the Church is not established. These areas include the Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East, and Upper West provinces as well as the northern half of the Western province and the entire Volta province outside of the city Ho. These areas' population total a little over seven million of the 23.5 million people in Ghana.

5 comments:

Tod Robbins said...

The saints in Ghana seem extremely committed to the cause of Zion, and really are a humble people by everything I have ever read about them.

Thanks.

joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joshua said...

I made an error in the first post and had to delete it.

What you said about volta region is true.
I lives in Akatsi in the volta Region and sometimes had to travel to Ho. It is quite disturbing.
I pray something is done about it.

Matt said...

The only two areas in the southern Ghana that have a very limited Church presence are to the west of Takoradi and to the east of Tema. I imagine that the Church will open up cities like Akatsi, Aflao and Anloga to the south of Ho and Hohoe to the north of Ho in the near future. The Church in Ghana has grown very rapidly recently and it can be difficult for mission presidents to coordinate the opening of new cities to missionary work that are not near cities with an existing Church presence. It is exciting to hear that you, Joshua, are a pioneer of the Church in this area of Ghana.

What I suggest you do is write a letter to the mission president of the Ghana Accra Mission requesting missionaries, share the Gospel with those around you and pray to the Lord for His help in bring the Church to this area of Ghana. Remember also that the Church grows when and where according to the Lord's will.

Thanks for the comment and I am glad to hear that Church members do live in this area of Ghana.

rfelsted said...

I just checked the year-end '09 total of wards and branches for Ghana and the total has gone from 99 to 120 in 12 months. That is a huge increase accounting for almost 10% of Church-wide growth in congregations for the year.