Although they’re a long way from their home countries, two African pastors are joining together to lead a small Christian Reformed congregation of African immigrants in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The two pastors of African Community Fellowship—Bernard Ayoola of Nigeria and John Mundi of Kenya—are ministry associates who are doing the job as volunteers. Although the church owns its building and is able to cover its expenses, it cannot yet afford to pay a pastor.
Like its pastors, the congregation is largely made up of African immigrants who hail from a variety of countries including Kenya, Uganda, Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, and Malawi. But despite its immigrant focus, the new pastors hope the church will grow in its diversity.
“The fact that it is an African church does not mean that we do not want others to come,” Ayoola said. “We are saying that we have a unique way we worship here, a unique people here, [and] unique needs. We also want other people to come in, especially those who don’t go to church.”
Mundi agreed, saying outreach will be a focus of the church.
“One of the strategies is to engage in evangelism, because there is no way the church will grow unless we aggressively engage in that,” Mundi said.
In addition to their pastoral duties, both Ayoola and Mundi are full-time students. Ayoola is finishing his Th.M. at Calvin Theological Seminary, and Mundi is in the Ph.D. program at Western Theological Seminary.
The church was founded in 2000 by Rev. Mwaya Wa Kitavi. Kitavi, who left to become the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Director for Christian Reformed World Missions, said of Ayoola and Mundi, “They are capable leaders. The church is in good hands.”