The unknown church planter
By Larry Neville
I was with our good friend and co-worker Eric Daafour. He is the senior leader of Praise Chapel Fellowship in Ghana, Africa.
Eric shared his story about how he came to know the Lord. I became so conscience of the fact that the God of creation is truly leading and guiding our lives. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
When Eric was a young single man in Accra, Ghana and he was attending a large traditional church because of a girl he liked. The challenge was that he had to walk a long way and then take a bus, so it took him a few hours to get there each Sunday morning.
One Sunday as he was walking he heard a man preaching in a building near where he was. He looked at his watch and it was almost 11 am so he decided, I can’t make it to the church I have been attending so I will go in here. When he got in the building, there were four people. The preacher his wife and children and Eric. When the preacher finished he came and talked with Eric. Eric asked him, “Is this a church?” The brother explained that he came from America to pioneer a new church. So, for convenience sake, Eric found himself coming back to this little church with four people. His girlfriend asked him what happened and if he was going to go there and he said yes, he decided to join that small group. That ended their friendship.
For over a year only a very few showed up at this church, usually only the four.
They did outreaches and invited people, but no one stuck. After a year or so, that pastor decided to return home and my brother was contacted to see if Praise Chapel had someone who could move to Africa to continue this pioneer work. Remember, with the pastor gone it’s now going to be only Eric and a couple of more people. Mike responded, and Praise Chapel sent Frank and Victoria Donkor there. When they arrived, Eric was the only one in the church.
Later, Eric was in in front of the building inviting people as they walked by. He invited a young woman and she said no. A few more Sundays she was walking by and as he invited people he invited her again, finally she said that she would come. Well, that lady became his wife and have five children.
This story struck me about the significance of disciple making and church planting.
In the natural you would say, “failure” to the young pioneer couple. Today over 30 years later, I says, “what a success.” Eric pastors a great church, disciples hundreds of people and oversees a church planting movement in Africa.
Over the years I have personally pioneered a couple of churches that are not around today. They closed. I have also sent out workers and had them return home feeling like a failure. As the years go by I continue to be astonished at the fruit that eventually comes from those sacrifices, and labors of church planting and discipleship. What seemed like a mistake, a waste of time, money and the church planters personal sacrifice never, yes “NEVER!” is a mistake or wasted. God has the ability to take what we deem a failure and make it an “Eric” miracle.
To that unknown church planter and your family, I say, “thank you.”
Pastor, do you have a story like this? Will you share it? Let’s hear some of these amazing stories of God’s USD taking our futile labors and sacrifices and turning them into a miracle catch.