Our vision is to partner with the wider body of Christ in radically transforming the nations with the power of the gospel. Our particular emphasis in Africa is on reconciliation, social justice, societal renewal and servant leadership.
TRANSFORMATION OF AFRICA
The transformation of Africa is something that many people talk about and long for – but what does it mean and how do we get there? More often than not, the concept of transformation is associated with social, political and economic reform, and while these are all desirable, they do not get to the heart of the issue. The biblical perspective of Africa (and all of humanity) is that our deepest, most fundamental problem is our rebellion, idolatry and subsequent separation from God (Genesis 3; Romans 1:18-2:16) which in turn adds further corruption to every societal sphere (social, political, economic etc). To combat the rot caused by our rebellion, the Bible teaches that God gives new hearts to those who believe, through which they can live lives that bring positive change to every sphere of existence (Habakkuk 2:14; 2Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 8:8-12). This means that through faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, we can experience an inner personal transformation that in turn transforms the world. At City Hill, we desire to take this gospel of personal and societal transformation to city after city in Africa, because the gospel really is the only hope for this continent and the world!
In Ephesians 2, Paul gives us an important insight into the manner in which God accomplished our salvation in Christ. He tells us that God destroyed every dividing barrier (read here racial, class, tribal etc) and united Jew and Gentile (people who would never associate closely with each other) in Christ to form ‘one new man,’ and then united that ‘new man’ or new humanity to himself. This is why when the book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of the future by describing what the new heavens and new earth will be like, we see a glorious picture of ‘every nation, tribe, people and language’ worshipping before the throne of God (Rev 7:9). Our desire is for City Hill to be a community that reflects something of this reality, not just in church meetings but in our daily lives as well. We believe that this will be like a signpost pointing to that glorious future and a powerful demonstration of the reconciling power of the gospel. This is particularly significant in Africa, a continent with a history of strife, and still afflicted with all kinds of division.
God is just and society at large is not. This fact is brazenly on display in Africa where despite well-intended interventions, and a wealth of human and natural resources; the poor are getting poorer and injustice, in its many forms, is on the increase. As we read the Bible, we get a clear understanding of what God is like – the things he loves and the things he hates. We learn that he fights for the orphan, the widow and the marginalised through the work of his church (Deut 24:21; Isaiah 1:17; Jas 1:27). For us therefore, social justice is expressing the justice and righteousness of God in Africa just as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-15). This means having the right attitude towards the vulnerable accompanied by the right actions on their behalf (Zechariah 7:10). It also means addressing the very causes of institutional injustice through the many gifts and talents God has given us. At City Hill we believe that, in keeping with God’s gracious and generous treatment of us, biblical social justice goes beyond detached charitable acts to meaningful relational investment, through which seeds of the gospel can be planted. We also believe that our community is an instrument that God will use to heal and restore society as we address the causes and effects of injustice. To this end we are committed to empowering our people.
Millions of people in Africa profess to be Christians, yet we don’t see a corresponding invasion of biblical thought, attitude and action in African society. At City Hill, we believe that genuine Christ-followership means rejecting a compartmentalised view of life where faith in Christ is relegated to the ‘religion box,’ and has no real bearing on any other part of our lives or any other sphere of society. The Bible teaches us that true Christianity is not simply a set of beliefs that lead to individual salvation, but is also a distinct way of understanding and engaging with the world. As such, our desire is to equip our members to effectively apply the gospel to every area of life and to every sphere of society – family, work, business, politics, science, media, the arts, and so on. By so doing, the church will become an effective agent of gospel-transformation in society. The gospel is the only hope for Africa – but it must be massaged patiently and diligently into everything!
In Matthew 20 Jesus contrasts two divergent leadership paradigms. The first is the one which is perhaps most intuitive to mankind – to ‘lord it over’ those you lead; to make them serve you, to prioritize your own interests above theirs. The second paradigm is radically different, even scandalous – “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Sadly, even a casual observation reveals that Africa is plagued in every sphere of society (including the church!), with the first kind of leadership – and the results speak for themselves; famine, war, genocide, corruption, poor health care and education – the list is endless. We believe it is time for African leaders to embrace Christ-like servant leadership, that seeks to serve the diversity of cultures that call Africa home – and this must begin in the church! Our desire is for a church community that demonstrates this kind of leadership in every sphere of life.