From Africa to Jerusalem

Tentmaking is a tool that God has given us to reach the whole world in these end-times, says the organizer of this week’s tentmaking course in Nigeria. Photo: Istockphoto

Many African Christians are ready to suffer for Christ and his Kingdom when they bring the Gospel through North Africa and back to Jerusalem.

The Chinese “Back to Jerusalem”-movement is well-known for its commitment to lead people to Jesus and plant churches along the former Silk Road between China and the Middle East. Their African sister-movement may turn out to be just as fruitful as thousands of Christians focus on the unreached, Muslim majority areas in the north.

Nigeria has taken a lead role in the effort to make God´s kingdom known in the North African nations.

We are persecuted in our homeland. Thus we are prepared to take the Gospel to the difficult places, said Timothy Olonade, the former leader of Nigerian Evangelical Mission Association (NEMA), when the association launched its «Vision 5015»-strategy in 2005. The program aims to recruit, train and send 15,000 missionaries from Nigeria to the Muslim nations in North Africa and beyond by year 2020.

Tentmaking strategy

NEMA´s around 140 member churches have already more than 7,000 active missionaries. A few years ago, the association decided to make tentmaking the main strategy in their future operations.

Those who want to go are challenged to work, start businesses or study in the nations they aim to reach, says Samuel Olatunbi. He heads Nigeria Evangelical Mission Institute (NEMI), which is the training branch of NEMA.

Nigeria is a power house in African missions, and NEMA has played a vital part in developing the Nigerian mission force. Today missionaries from NEMA´s network churches and organizations operate in 96 nations around the globe.


Olatunbi takes no pride in representing one of the main contributors in African missions. On the contrary he wants to help Nigeria´s neighboring nations to develop their missions work.

The need for workers is far greater than what Nigeria can provide. Therefore it is important that we bring others on board. We want to develop God´s work together with Christian brothers and sisters in our neighboring nations and in other parts of the world, says Olatunbe.

The past 12 years Tent International and Tentmakers International Africa (TIA) has done annual courses and conferences to empower African tentmakers. Under the leadership of Tiowa Diarra, TIA has grown to become a movement with representatives in most African nations. Diarra underlines how tentmaking is a viable missions model that enables all churches to take part in the work of fulfilling the great commission.

God-given tool

Victor Agbonkpolor is a medical doctor and the organizer of the GO Equipped tentmaking course that takes place in Benin City this week.

Many people misunderstand what tentmaking is, and in mission circles it can often be presented as another form of traditional missions where people must raise support before they go. We will be able to send a lot more people as soon as we get a right understanding of the concept. I believe Nigeria can take a leading role in this and encourage all our neighboring countries to send tentmakers. Tentmaking is a tool that God has given us to reach the whole world in these end-times, says Victor Agbonkpolor.