A Nigerian-based church is locating just seven miles from my wife, Jody’s, hometown. The tiny town of Floyd, Texas, between Farmersville and Greenville, will soon have Africa’s largest and most ambitious evangelical church–The Redeemed Christian Church of God–in its midst.
Along with plans for a 10,000-seat sanctuary, lake and conference center, there are plans for a Christian Disneyland complex on the 500 acres costing between 1 and 2 million American dollars.
All this coming out of Nigeria, Southern Baptist’s second foreign mission field, seems hard to believe. Josephine Anna Scaggs of Oklahoma went to Nigeria in 1939. She spent a lifetime teaching and ministering there. She was honored by the government late in life and even wrote a rousing book on missionary work in Nigeria, titled The Backside of Nowhere.
Well, the “backside of nowhere” is coming to Texas. The group organized in 1952 and now claims to have churches in 90 countries. They are not new to Texas, just new to me. The paper says they have 292 churches in the United States.
According to Scott Farwell, staff writer for the Dallas Morning News, the African Christians “see the United States as their mission field.” I always felt that a missionary’s primary job was to work himself out of a job: To introduce Christ to a community, and then the locals would take over.
Apparently the Nigerians have taken up the white Anglo-Saxons’ missionary burden and are taking it around the world. I feel something like my dad did when I told him I was leaving a good East Texas church to begin a new one in Arizona. He said, “Why go to Arizona when East Texas still has so many sinners?”
We might ask the Nigerians the same question. Why leave a still-not-converted Nigeria for the “backside of North Texas,” which is not exactly short of churches, but full of sinners. The Nigerians say their purpose is “to make heaven and take as many people as possible with them.” For more on them see their Web site: http://www.rccgna.org.
Over the years a number of missionaries have come through Brownwood on their way to church work in Nigeria. It will be interesting to see if Nigeria comes to Brownwood after they convert North Texas.
Britt Towery never visited any part of Africa, but enjoys reading about it. The great Chinese writer who died during the beginning of the tragic Cultural Revolution, Lao She, is not a Nigerian, but his life and work is worth a read. Get Towery’s book: Lao She: China’s Master Storyteller.