Preacher Feature

lordsdaypreacher1I have some very faithful friends who have continued to collect data and information for research projects I launched but was unable to complete.  One of the questions we began exploring last summer is “What are people looking for in a sermon?”  We asked this of three separate audiences:  long-time members of the same congregation, people who are looking for a church with which to connect, and those who are not actively seeking a congregation, but might in the future.  The results are kind of fun.  One question this survey answers unequivocally: preaching is extremely important to all three groups, but for fundamentally different reasons.

While our sample isn’t statistically significant, it is fairly representative.  If you’re not interested in the make-up of our sample, skip on to the next paragraph.  A total of 838 lay people (406 in the south-central jurisdiction; 432 in the north-central jurisdiction) were interviewed.  Approximately 56% of the sample is White/Anglo, 14% is African American, 13% is Hispanic/Latino, 9% is Pacific Rim/Asian American, 6% is mixed background, 2% are other.  We did not have a substantial Native American segment in the sample.  617 of the respondents are regular church goers, 146 are looking for a church, and 75 are open to the idea of church, but are not presently seeking a congregation.  68% of the sample is female, 32% male.  31% are age 30 or under, 28% are between the ages of 31 and 55, and 41% are 56 or older.  All regular church goers are United Methodist.

Regular church goers name music (81%) and preaching (79%) as “very important” aspects of the worship experience.  What these people look for in a “good sermon” is as follows:

  • helpful instruction on living the Christian life (66%)
  • encouragement (63%)
  • inspiration to live a life pleasing to God (54%)
  • personal stories from the preacher’s life/experience (48%)
  • challenge to grow in the Christian faith (47%)
  • deeper knowledge of what the Bible means (42%)
  • entertaining stories and illustrations of the Christian faith (41%)
  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for my life (40%)
  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for the world (33%)
  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for the local church/community of faith (27%)

These ten characteristics differ greatly for those seeking a new church home.  For one thing, preaching is named as a critical factor for 92% of those responding.  Music is still important, but only to 60%.

  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for my life (74%)
  • helpful instruction on living the Christian life (70%)
  • deeper knowledge of what the Bible means (65%)
  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for the world (60%)
  • challenge to grow in the Christian faith (58%)
  • inspiration to live a life pleasing to God (51%)
  • encouragement (40%)
  • entertaining stories and illustrations of the Christian faith (33%)
  • personal stories from the preacher’s life/experience (21%)
  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for the local church/community of faith (17%)

Then, there’s an interesting difference for those who may one day seek a church home.  First of all 95% say the preaching is a make-or-break factor in whether they would join a church or not.  Only one-third (32%) say the music would matter that much.  Their top ten look like this:

  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for my life (80%)
  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for the world (77%)
  • deeper knowledge of what the Bible means (70%)
  • inspiration to live a life pleasing to God (45%)
  • helpful instruction on living the Christian life (41%)
  • challenge to grow in the Christian faith (38%)
  • encouragement (27%)
  • clarity and understanding about God’s will for the local church/community of faith (20%)
  • personal stories from the preacher’s life/experience (10%)
  • entertaining stories and illustrations of the Christian faith (8%)

Now, a few observations about what simply wasn’t that important to anyone.

Style — no one enjoys poor preaching, but when the content is good, the style simply isn’t that important.  Respondents expressed appreciation for a wide variety of preaching styles, but agree that sometimes the style and delivery actually get in the way of the message, rather than enhance it.

Length — once again, if the content is good, it really doesn’t matter how long (or how short) the sermon is.  If there is any bias in the sample, White/Anglos prefer the shortest sermons, as do long time church attenders.

Gender — long time church goers have a slight preference for men over women preachers, as do African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos, however there is virtually no preference by church shoppers and those not currently seeking a congregation.

Something many people in all three groups mentioned was the importance of “Biblical” preaching, though what people mean by “Biblical” is a bit fuzzy.  Often, people feel that preaching is “Biblical” when it affirms and supports personal beliefs.  Those looking for a church and those speculating on what they would prefer were most adamant that the sermon should reflect and explain the morning’s scripture readings.  Long time church goers were most comfortable with topical sermons that bear a tenuous connection to the scripture readings.

Regarding taboo topics for preachers?  There are none.  The general rule is “if it’s in the Bible or affects the life of a Christian disciple,” it’s okay.  We offered people a checklist of topics for people to choose what they didn’t want to hear about in sermons, along with what they thought were appropriate sermon topics.  Contrary to popular myth, more people want to hear sermons about money and giving than do not.  Only about 1-in-20 feel money-talk is inappropriate from the pulpit (obviously a vocal 5%, but only 5% nonetheless…).  Only 1-in-12 (8%) feel politics is taboo — but with one extremely important caution: virtually no one approves of a preacher using the pulpit to spout personal political beliefs and opinions as “truth.”  Listeners want preachers to lift up critical political issues and offer scriptural perspectives that can help them make up their own minds.  Bully pulpits are unacceptable.  Only 1-in-10 (10%) think preachers should avoid controversial social and ethical issues, and a mere 1-in-7 (14%) oppose sex-talk from the pulpit.  4-out-of-5 people coming to church desire help applying biblical and theological lenses to the large life issues they face.  This 80% majority feel the preacher is not doing her or his job by avoiding such important topics.

And a word of advice for all preachers: don’t dumb it down.  Simplistic, formulaic, easy answers won’t fly in a complex world.  Slogans, platitudes, and bumper-sticker theology are big turn-offs.  71% of respondents found “What Would Jesus Do?” to be “silly,” “insulting,” “cheap,” “ridiculous,” “embarrassing,” or some other less-than-enticing variation on the theme.  Most listeners want credible, substantive, and practical guidance from their preachers.

The charisma and reputation of the preacher was most attractive to church shoppers, very important to long time church goers, and of virtually no interest to those not actively seeking a church.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to modern mainline preachers is an almost 50-50 split between those who want sermons to be challenging, intellectually stimulating, and provocative and those who want sermons to calm, pacify and comfort.  51% of listeners don’t want to have to work hard when listening to a sermon.  They prefer stories with morals rather than admonition, invitation, or a call to action.  However, 49% (predominantly from those not affiliated with a congregation) want preaching that not only educates but also requires a response.  There is a deep sense that preaching should motivate (but not manipulate) people to act.  There is also a strong preference for sermons focusing on what God wants us to do, instead of what God doesn’t want us to do.  In other words, less focus on the past, our sins, and our failures, and more focus on the future, our gifts, and a vision God’s will for all creation.

Long time church goers prefer sermons that comfort, inspire, and encourage.  They are least concerned with God’s will for them personally, for the congregation as a whole, or for the world.  Because they have an ongoing  relationship with the pastor, they enjoy the preacher’s personal anecdotes and entertaining stories.  Less than half seek a deeper understanding of the Bible or instruction in growing in the Christian faith.

This shifts dramatically for those actively seeking a church — which may reflect the basic motivations that bring them in the first place.  They are much more interested in God’s will for their personal lives, and they are seeking guidance for how to better understand and live their faith.  Encouragement, stories, preacher’s personal anecdotes, and God’s will for the larger congregation are of much less importance.

Those unaffiliated with a congregation hold a clear and narrow view of what preaching should do: reveal God’s will for their lives, for the world, and help them understand the Bible.  This group views preaching as a fundamentally practical act — it should reveal how to live the Christian life in accordance with God’s will.  Stories, encouragement, and entertainment don’t matter to this group very much at all.

Interestingly, none of the groups indicate great interest in God’s will for the congregation as a community of faith.  This probably reflects a cultural bias toward individuality.  Older Hispanic/Latino church goers were most interested in a corporate sense of God’s will.  Older African Americans were second.

86% of all respondents say that “if the sermon isn’t good” it significantly affects the overall worship experience negatively.  88% report that “when the sermon is good,” they experience the whole worship service more positively.

This may not tell us anything new, but it gives some further insight into the centrality of “the preaching moment” in the service of worship.  People do care, they want to hear a “good word,” and different people come seeking different things.  The vast majority of people seek guidance and counsel in how to live a life that is personally meaningful as well as pleasing to God — and they look to the preacher to provide it.

10 replies

  1. Hi, Dan! Outstanding post. I am beginning Ph.D. Studies in homiletics at the University of Toronto this fall. Preaching in United Methodism is a strong research interest of mine. This is some of the very first statistical information on preaching in the UMC that I have seen in a LONG time. I have been pretty frustrated over the past few years at the dearth of focus on preaching at every level – from the AC out to the whole denomination. There are few (none?) continuing ed events that preachers can attend that work specifically with THEIR preaching. I find it quizzical that everyone agrees on how important preaching is without putting any emphasis on it post-seminary. Leadership? You can find tons of good information and events on the topic. Preaching? Very little. I may want to talk to you later to satisfy my curiosity on some related issues. Anyhow, thanks a million for this!

  2. Having a sociology degree, stats and surveys are always interesting to me. However, the caution here, and something i continue to struggle in how best to apply, is that not everyone wants to hear preaching they NEED. So while there is an even split in regards to preferring a message with a call to action versus moral stories, if we are not changing lives by our sharing of the Gospel, then what’s the point? A cute story with a tidy moral is just that, cute… if we just leave it at cute, and never push it into application, then haven’t we failed as preacher and pastor?

    • You are spot on. I find it a little discouraging, but not all that surprising, that those outside the church seem to want to hear what they NEED more than those inside the church. Insiders want the nice stories, the personal anecdotes, and seem least interested in God’s will rather than their own.

      The real challenge for preachers is how to bridge the gap between what people want and what they need. How do we proclaim the good news in ways that tap the deep motivations of the hearers so that they are both fed personally and sent to be witnesses of God’s love and Christ’s grace to others? These are the truly critical questions.

  3. I am a UMC pastor that had a charge with 3 churches. Your numbers are VERY interesting… On any given Sunday, the first church wanted more charisma and action, the second wanted meaningful and thought-provoking, and the third expected well prepared but not necessarily exhuberant messages.

    Generally the older members were happy to hear about what was waiting for them as faithful servants and the middle aged needed encouragement to keep on keeping on. The young adults and older youth needed the most instruction in biblical truth and applying it to their daily lives.

    ALL churches wanted biblical teaching that they could understand. Not “dumbed-down”, but certainly not over their heads. Preaching on subjects of controversy were fine as long as the teaching was bible based and not based on some university study or a thesis…

    Thanks for your post – I look forward to more!

  4. Thanks for the post, Dan. I’m teaching preaching at a school for Licensed Local Pastors right now, and will share some of these statistics. Particularly like “what wasn’t important” and “don’t dumb it down” thoughts.

    • Glad to be of help. Best of luck with the licensing school. I have had some phenomenal experiences teaching at Pastor’s School.

  5. HELLO
    I want to get an writen paper on any outstanding preacher in the United methodist Church in the World: his historical background, his life, his call, his work and achievements etc.


    This paper will give us a biographical account of Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne, who is a Methodist Minister in North Katanga Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. It will cover his family history, life and ministry, including a sum and substance of his thoughts and teachings; and look at the impact of his career as a pastor on North Katanga.

    By attempting to outline the historical background of this man of God, the focus is not to praise a man, but God who deals with the realities of human life, with its strengths and weaknesses. And the purpose is the proclamation of the word of God through the life of this character who is one of the most effective ministers in the North Katanga Annual Conference.
    I want to learn so much from the strengths and virtues of this person. There is no attempt to cover up his struggles, weaknesses and failures. Like the great heroes of the Bible had their human flaws, we are very aware that they are flesh and blood as we are. So, the character I am proud to present faces temptations common to all men and women; frequently as I know him his response is little different from that of the average Christian.
    In all of the narrative of his history, there is only one truly perfect man- the man Christ Jesus! Even the great heroes of faith are manifestly human. This certainly helps us identify with them.
    Let us now learn as much as possible from the life and ministry of Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne.

    Who is Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne, then?
    Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne is a son of the late Ilunga Mpiana Bakulu Polydore, a native of Tshivweta (1929-2005) and Ntambo Mwamba Angeline (1947- present), who originated from Kashiwa Ka Dilundu. Tshivweta and Kashiwa Ka Dilundu are located in Kaniama Territory of Katanga Province in Congo, DR, formerly called Zaire and the Belgian Congo.
    He was born on Thursday, February 7th, 1964 at Kayeye. He was named ‘’Dieudonne Mbayu Ilunga Watete ’’ by his parents as a way to acknowledge God’s security and goodness. Before him, six children passed away after few days of birth; and when he was born they said: ‘’Now God has given us!’’ The word ‘’Dieudonne’’ is a French word and it means ‘’God’s gift.’’ After his birth, his father became polygamist in order to have more children. He went successively to marry about six to eight wives as he became a chief. Together with his wives they have had thirty-seven children. But his mother brought forth three children after Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne’s birth, two boys: Sylvain Kazwanga, Gevenard Mwamba, and one girl, Kamwashi charlotte. His father was a Baptized Methodist Christian since 1947 and the mother when she got married in 1961.

    Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne is married in August 29, 1989 to Christine Kabamba, a native of Tshibata in Kaniama, who is a homemaker and works as a baker. Together they have four daughters, Neree Kabulo, Mamie Ntambo, Rose Mutombo, Kabamba de Mama; and four sons, Japhet Kabamba, Sylvain Numbi, Hans Ilunga, and Pierre Ntambo. Presently, they live in Kamina, Kinkunki Avenue, 1501. He and his wife Christine of over twenty years have eight children.
    He is an avid soccer watcher as well as a gospel music listener and lover of Christ and the church. He has written one pamphlet entitled “The Heroes of the Cross of Jesus Christ”, and two sermons and his Curriculum Vitae are available on the Web site of the “United Methodist Church of North Katanga.’’
    About his education, after getting a State Diploma A2 in Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1984, he served as an Agriculturalist and affiliated member of Agricultural Production Farm Cooperative of Bikapakapa with his father; and as a Representative of the Association of farmers and Planters of Kaniama at Kamina, before receiving his call into the Ministry.

    How did he become a pastor in the United Methodist Church?
    Kaniama United Methodist Church was Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne home church as a youth and he has been in the United Methodist Church for all his life. ‘’He received his baptism in infant and became a Professing member through Confirmation and the profession of faith in 1982.’’ As he was growing spiritually, he went through different training sessions in his local church. He got involved in different related social activities. He worked as youth secretary, an evangelist and he joined the intercessory prayer group and the choir. He started attending UMC Conference sessions as a delegate; and this developed his Christian faith and his call into ministry.
    When he felt a call, he had to go through some steps. Firstly, he became an inquiring candidate by telling his pastor who was Reverend Ngoy Wa Kwango. His pastor told the District Superintendent by the name Mwamba Kongolo. The District Superintendent appointed him a mentor during his candidacy process who was none else than his pastor in charge. He became an approved, declared candidate. When he completed that, he secondly sought the approval of local church from his Staff Parish Committee. After he got the approval of his local church, his mentor carried him to the district committee on ministry and they approved him as a candidate. Thirdly, he went to the local pastors route and got a ‘’license to preach.’’ In addition, he went to the conference committee on candidacy and went through further testing (written tests and psychological tests). Finally, he went to seminary ‘’Methodist School of Theology in Lkasi, Congo, DR, from 1986-1990. It took about four full years of study to complete his degree. After his second academic year of study he was ordained as Itinerant Deacon by His Excellency Bishop Katembo Kainda at Likasi in January 22, 1989.

    What is his ministry in North Katanga Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church?
    Soon after earning a Diploma from Theological Training, he served six years as a senior pastor of two circuits, Kisula and Ilunga Mwila in Malemba Nkulu district. He was fully ordained as an elder of the United Methodist Church in July 22, 1992 by His Excellency Bishop Ngoy Kimba Mwenze Wa Kadilo.
    Also, he served in the same capacity two years at Kaniama parish, two years as district Superintendent 1998-2000, Nyunzu District. From 05 January up to July 2000, he was appointed as Spiritual Trainer and Preacher of Katuba Parish at Kamina (Provisional Appointment because of the war of aggression on the eastern part of the DRC that interrupted his mission at Nyunzu). In 2000-2004, he was a District Superintendent of Lwena. In 2004-2006, he served as an Associated Pastor, Kamina-Ville Parish. And for two years as an Accountant of Methodist schools while serving as an Associated Pastor of Kamina-Ville Parish.
    Besides, wherever he went for pastoral work, he did the work of an evangelist. Because of this, he went for evangelical Training at Kinshasa (2001, 2002, 2004) during workshops organized by the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) on ‘’The Development and Growth of the Church in the DRC and Africa.’’
    Furthermore, he served for eight years as the United Methodist Church Counselor of youth ministries; and three years in the same capacity among the Methodist men. He also worked as a counselor for women organization. He is currently a statistician of North Katanga Annual Conference, a secretary of Board of Ordained Ministers, a secretary of the UMC Committee of Aviation, a member of the Nominations committee.
    A Condensation of his Thoughts and Teachings:-
    Reverend Mbayu ILunga Watete Dieudonne believes in Jesus and his catchword is: ‘’The best thing is that Jesus is with us.’’
    The Lord Jesus makes himself known to the Apostle John in these words:
    ‘’I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty; I am he that lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.’’ (Revelation 1:8, 18).
    The Lord Jesus is present today. Who he is today, he has been, and he will be tomorrow. He is God, he does not change. ‘’Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’’ (Heb.13:8). His glory is before time, within time and in all eternity (John 17:1, 5). He is not only the Lord of a few years ago, a thousand or yesterday, but he is a God present among us today. He is not only a God who performed miracles yesterday and will perform others one day in the future. No, ”He is here today.” This is the truth that Jesus wanted to articulate to the apostle John. So we must experience Jesus in our daily lives.

    ‘’The church must proclaim that man or woman and human community are called to pass constantly from less human conditions to more human conditions. This is the mission of the Church in the world.’’
    God has assigned to church an essential mission which is ‘’Evangelization and Humanization.’’
    • Evangelization has to do with the salvation of souls for evil and death, healing of the sick, and deliverance of the captives. All have sinned but salvation came through faith in Jesus Christ who is the emblem of salvation and our only real hope.
    • Humanization as the act of making more human that is to bring people to a better lifestyle which God intended them to. Reverend Dieudonne Ilunga Kabulo spends his years of life aspiring to make a difference in the lives of persons who face poverty, discrimination, and oppression. His ministry has always involved work with the poor, with farm workers, even as he encourages congregations to work ecumenically and to be active in community organizing. He always discourages begging as it promotes poverty in the church. To him, Prayer without working is hypocrisy, and working without prayer is unfaithfulness.
    Now, what is the impact of his career pastor on North Katanga Annual Conference?
    1. Under Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne’s leadership, the congregations he has served have more than doubled worship attendance, increased intentional prayers and direct service of outreach and witness, and have adapted their leadership structures to reflect changing needs and vision.
    2. His preaching ministry has carried him into the pulpits of churches of the Central Congo Annual Conference, and of churches of the Southern Congo Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; to Conventions, and to many churches across the Congo, DR. He preached the gospel in season and out of season. He held spiritual Revivals, seminaries Training, and evangelical Campaigns. Also, he preached at the official days of the Congo, in public enterprises of the State, and non-governmental associations NGOs SCARK and NGOD Kanyundu Oka.
    3. The congregations he has led created a local ministry addressing spiritual and social needs and concerns.
    4. He has led various initiatives in such matters as: community development, primary health care, adult literacy, and spiritual development.
    5. He valued women. They had access to all levels of leadership beside their fellow men. He also trained young adults and participated in the life and growth of the church.
    6. He is active as mentor for those preparing for the pastorate and continues spiritual direction.

    As I conclude this paper, ordained in 1992 Reverend Mbayu Ilunga Watete Dieudonne serves for nineteen years as a Methodist minister and has served in numerous circuits including Kamina- Ville Parish. During these years his ministries are parish work, evangelism, school training, and service of outreach and witness. He also does extensive retreat and spiritual direction work. He cared for a sheep and taught God’s closeness to his people. His biography has therefore a lively history of practice.

    This work is an attempt to construct the story of the United Methodist Church of North Katanga Annual Conference. The outlines of this story lead first all of all to give an overview on the North Katanga Annual Conference: location and church planting around this area; and next we shall see the expansion of missionary work in the North Katanga and Tanzania; and then we shall explore the teaching and impact of the church in North Katanga. Finally we shall end with a conclusion from all what is to be covered.

    In a few ways, ‘’North Katanga is the United Methodist Church’s Episcopal area in the Katanga Province of Congo. DR, formerly called Zaire and the Belgian Congo. It is one of the three Episcopal areas in the country (Central Congo Annual Conference, Southern Congo Annual Conference, and North Katanga Annual Conference), and extends all the way into part of Tanzania covering tens of hundreds of kilometers.’’
    North Katanga as part of the Katanga Province includes two secular districts: the Haut-Lomami and the Tanganyika. All those political areas have been reached by the north Katanga United Methodist Church. The church has even reached some political areas of the South Katanga Province with two ecclesiastical districts, Lubudi and Mitwaba without forgetting the expansion to Tanzania.

    At its beginning, the Northern part of the Katanga that became the North Katanga Annual Conference was part of the Congo Annual Conference in the early 1990s under Bishop Eben Samuel Johnson (1916) Bishop of Africa.
    In North Katanga, the Methodist Church was started by Kalwashi and John McKendree Springer who is actually known as the founder of the Methodist Church in the North Katanga area. ‘’Kalwashi came from Angola where he was slave. It was in Angola where all the slaves became free and believed in Jesus Christ. Kalwashi was sent in the Democratic Republic of Congo by his friends to start the evangelism. When John M. Springer who was among a group of missionaries that was assigned to the Belgian Congo heard some information about the work done by Kalwashi, he started to look for him. After arriving in Kinkondja township, John M. Springer met a business man named Muzoma. It was Muzoma who told Springer that Kalwashi was in Mwanza. When John M. Springer reached Mwanza, he met Kalwashi there. Then, they went together to Kabongo where they created the first Methodist Mission.’’ The first evangelism began in 1917 by John M. Springer before he became the Bishop in 1936 and Kalwashi (a native of Kabalo).
    Concerning church planting, in about 1917, John M. Springer was planting Methodist churches around Kabongo mission station. He founded also industrial Institutions. For example Kabongo hospital was started by the Methodists in the 1920s. In 1922, the Methodist work began at Kanene by Mr. Everett. In 1924, the Fox Bible Training School of Kalulua was transferred to Kanene and became the Congo Institute in 1927. In 1940, the Congo Institute in Kanene was transferred to Mulungwishi and became ‘’Springer Institute.’’
    Kabongo mission and Kanene mission were abandoned respectively in 1933 and 1940. In 1944, Bishop John M. Springer was replaced by Bishop Newell Snow Booth (1944-1964) who was respectively a Bishop of Africa South of the Equator, and then Bishop of Congo and Europe. During his leadership the church grew up, particularly in the Southern Katanga Province. Between 1940s and 1962, there was a little activity in the North Katanga due to an agreement between Christian denominations to evangelize in different parts on the country. Kabongo mission was taken by Congo Evangelistic Mission (C.E.M). From 1940 to 1962 only Kanene mission remained active in evangelism in North Katanga.
    The Methodist Church officially arrived in North Katanga in 1962. It was started by three pastors: Ilunga K. David, Andres Mundele, Joel Bulaya and many laypersons. This was the second and most decisive evangelization of the North Katanga resumed during the 1960s. The most important event that promoted the Methodists to resume evangelization was the war of liberation of the Katanga Province that occurred from 1960 to 1963. This war actually forced the Baluba pastors to leave the Southern Katanga: Elizabethville (or Lubumbashi), Jadotville (or Likasi), Kolwezi and many other townships in the South. They returned to their motherland with the purpose to re-establish the Methodist Church. The first mission station was planted at Albertville (or Kalemie) town in 1962.
    To sum up this section, I would like to say that during the first evangelization of the North Katanga, Kabongo was the first mission station to be implanted in the North Katanga in 1917. The second mission station was Kanene mission in 1924. During the second evangelization of the North Katanga, the first mission station was planted at Albertville (Kalemie) in 1962. Thus, the United Methodist Church in the North Katanga is the work of the above natives.

    Now after this short description of the story of the United Methodist Church of North Katanga Annual Conference, let’s see the expansion of missionary work in the North Katanga and Tanzania.
    ‘’Since 1968, the North Katanga Provisional Annual Conference was created with a total of four districts, namely Kalemie, Manono, Malemba, and Kabongo; those districts were considered as part of the South Congo Annual Conference.’’ ‘’It was during Bishop John Wesley Shungu’s mandate (1964-1972) who is known as the first Congolese Bishop of the Congo Episcopal area in the Democratic Republic of Congo that the North Katanga became an Provisional Annual Conference.’’ ‘’In 1970, the North Katanga became a Definitive Annual Conference including six districts: Kalemie, Manono, Malemba, Kabongo, Kamina, and Bukama.’’ ‘’In 1972 Bishop Onema Fama was elected to replace Bishop Shungu. Four years later, Bishop Onema Fama was elected Bishop for life for the Central Congo Episcopal area and a new Bishop Ngoy Kimba M. WA Kadilo was elected for the Shaba (or Katanga) Episcopal area (1976) which was composed of two Annual Conferences: the Southern Zaire (or Southern Congo) and the North Shaba (or North Katanga. In 1980, a third Bishop was elected in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bishop Katembo Kainda was elected to supervise the Southern Congo Episcopal area and Bishop Ngoy was assigned the North Katanga Episcopal area.’’ Bishop Ngoy Kimba M. WA Kadilo was the first Bishop from the North Katanga to be elected.
    In 1989, during the leadership of Bishop Ngoy in cooperation with missionaries and through the partnership with some western Annual Conferences, they assured the growth of North Katanga.
    The growth was significant that it led to the creation of a second Annual Conference Tanganyika and Tanzania in the early 1990s. Hence North Katanga Episcopal area was composed of two Annual Conferences: The North Katanga Annual Conference, and The Tanganyika- Tanzania Annual Conference. The church mission was extended to Tanzania. Six Congolese pastors were appointed to supervise the mission in Tanzania. Here they are: Rev. Muyombi Kapanda Makozo (1989), Rev. Kasweka Tshifunga and his wife Rev. Numbi Ilunga (1990), Rev. Mutwale Ntambo WA Mushidi (1992), Rev. Kazadi Umba (1992), and Rev. Umba Ilunga Kalangwa (1992).

    Elected in 1976, Bishop Ngoy died in December 11, 1994 at Nyembo Umpungu. He was followed by our current Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda in 1996. In 2006, the number of districts has been 19 districts of North Katanga Annual Conference and 17 districts of Tanganyika- Tanzania Annual Conference. In 2008, the Tanganyika- Tanzania Annual Conference was divided into two Conferences: the Tanganyika Annual Conference and the Tanzania Provisional Annual Conference. The North Katanga is now divided into three Conferences: the North Katanga Annual Conference, the Tanganyika Annual Conference and the Tanzania Provisional Annual Conference, with a total of 36 districts.
    Statistics of North Katanga Annuelle Conference in 2008/09 :

    Conference Professing
    Members Baptised
    Members Baptised
    Members Other
    Participants Total members
    And participants Ordained
    North Katanga
    535.723 964.906 964.906 858.103 1.392.826 939.

    The North Katanga Annual Conference is structured according to the United Methodist Book of Discipline which is the fundamental book outlining the law, doctrine, administration, organization work and procedures for the United Methodist Church. The North Katanga Annual Conference structure includes bishop, clergy: elders and Deacons, lay leaders and Laity, a wide range of conference and a supreme court, agencies: councils, boards, and commissions.

    Now let’s explore the teaching and impact of the church in North Katanga. The North Katanga Annual Conference seeks to create disciples for Christ through outreach, evangelism, and through seeking holiness through the process of sanctification with a focus on triune worship; it seeks to bring honor to God by following the model of Jesus Christ which is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. Given that ‘’the United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which traces its roots back to the evangelical, holiness, revival movement of John and Charles Wesley within the Anglican Church. As such, the church’s Theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan.’’ ‘’ It contains both liturgical and evangelical elements.’’ So, the United Methodist Church of North Katanga bases its teaching on ‘’Salvation by faith.’’ This implies three things which are foundational to Christian faith:
    1. That people are all, by nature, “dead in sin,” and, consequently, “children of wrath.”
    2. That they are “justified by faith alone.”
    3. That faith produces inward and outward holiness.
    In North Katanga, Evangelism is the principal work. The church strives indeed to help people and make them disciples of Jesus. Also, it serves not only to extend God’s Kingdom by preaching but also in various services to the Communities around the church for helping them and church members with self sustainance. In harmony with John Wesley who noticed four evil which were affecting people: ‘’Poverty, war, ignorance, and diseases’’ , the United Methodist Church of North Katanga is primarily interested in meeting people practical needs. Regarding the impact of the United Methodist church of North Katanga, the Methodists have grown some specific actions that mark United Methodists as Christians engaged in ministry to the world:
    • They established institutions for higher learning.
    • They started hospitals and dispensaries for medical care, and shelters for children and the elderly.
    • They adopted a social creed and social principles to guide them as they relate to God’s world and God’s people.
    • And they participated with other religious groups in ecumenical efforts to be in mission.
    In the North Katanga United Methodist church, every member is to be in servant ministry with and to others. All of God’s people- children, youth and adults-are called to be ministers. In other ways, all united Methodists are involved in the ministry of all Christians. Most of these people are laity, baptized Christians of all ages who minister in formal or informal ways within the church and beyond it. Through their gifts vary widely, they are all called to and engaged in the one ministry of Jesus Christ.
    So, in summary, the above lines were about the history of the United Methodist Church in North Katanga. They have covered the origins, mission and influences in the history of the United Methodist Church in this region. In more or less than seventy-year time, the church of North Katanga area grew first at lower speed, and later at a very high speed to the extend of reaching even areas beyond its geographical borders. Through its various ministries, the church encourages Christians to give themselves to Christ, to ground their lives in the living God, and to carry out the mission of the church by everyone who is called to discipleship.
    Banza Nyembo, Bony. La Contribution Methodiste Au Relevement Du Territoire (zone) de Kamina 1960-1980, ISP Lubumbashi, 1985, 29-30.

    Harkness G., The Methodist Church in Social Thought and Action, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1964), p.

    Mwanabute Nday Bondo. The Church and Its Mission: A Case Study of the North Katanga Annual Conference of the UMC, 2008, 34

    Official Journal of the South Congo Annual Conference, 1968).

    “Understanding American Evangelicals”. Ethics and Public Policy Center. Retrieved 2007-08-02

    Web site of the North Katanga Conference of the United Methodist Church
    ‘’Wesleyanism.’’ Longhenry. Retrieved 2009-05-26.

    Africa University P.O.Box 1320 Mutare, Zimbabwe
    Friday, October 30, 2009

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