Worship in African America Churches
Without any doubt, one can see that African Americans have a vibrant way of worshiping God; the way they serve or worship God compared to others, you will be tempted to think that their definition of Christianity is a different… a sui generis.
The above statement is evidently right; this article talks about the “engine” behind such mode of worship.
By default, Africans including African Americans handle the issues of life holistically; the holistic belief about life fuels the active mode of worship.
African Americans believe that a place of worship is not restricted to time or space; this is because, during slavery, they cease the opportunity to worship God once they are free from duties and this can happen anytime or place.
The African American view of Christianity
In African-American Christian see God as the defender of the weak and the oppressed; any supreme being less than that does not count. God to them has been the reason they overcame the era of slavery. Till date, the sovereign God is still intervening and saving them with His absolute and unlimited power. Although this line of thought is familiar with all Christians, the African American holds this particular belief in high esteem due to their history. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ give them hope; to them, God’s only Son came for the poor and oppressed.
What are the characteristics of Africa America worship?
Below are some of the characteristics of the Africa America worship in churches;
Confession and forgiveness: In worship, the Africa American Christians confess their sins and accept God’s mercy after they have been confronted by God, made uneasy by His judgments, and consoled by God’s grace.
Burning thirst for a personal relationship: African Americans do not want only to learn something but to feel something, God’s Spirit inclusive. They thirst for more; they aspire to know God personally instead of learning about Him through doctrines. They prefer to know God via God’s through God’s divine activities in their personal and corporate lives. Psalm 63:1
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
Celebration: one of the significant characteristics of the African-American worship is celebration. Black worship is a celebration of the in-depth knowledge God; who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do for His people. This is not to say there are no people who are facing life’s challenges, these set of people celebrate the God in faith. They dance, sing and praise God because they believe and trust Him to turn their situation around. Personally, it is one of the beauties of Africa-American worship. Psalms 67 explains the reason behind their celebration.
God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
Understanding this bible verse will make you see the reason behind black worship in churches.
Christian Worship In Nigeria Churches
Without the microscopic view of the different African worship in churches, one would easily conclude that they are all the same. This article shows the difference between worship in Nigerian churches and worship in African America churches.
Although Christianity came to Nigeria through the colonial masters, with time, Christianity has evolved so much that most Nigeria churches are introducing Christianity to the western world. While the African American saw God has the defender of the oppressed by their slave masters, Nigerians see God has the Rescuer from curses, evil covenant, enchantments of their ancestral gods. Numbers 22:23- Surely [there is] no enchantment against Jacob, neither [is there] any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
What are the characteristics of Nigerians’ worship?
Confession and forgiveness: In worship, a Nigerian Christians confess not only their sins but also the sins committed against God by their forefathers. According to Deuteronomy 5:9
‘You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
They rest in the assurance that God is willing to forgive and console them by His grace.
True worship engenders divine encounters: Nigerians believe that true worship, (more of the heart than the mind) brings divine encounters- a way of knowing the Almighty God more, instead of doctrines brought by the colonial masters. It is one of the reason, Nigerian churches are spreading rapidly to other parts of the world in bid of showing others how to enjoy God’s presence via true worship .
Celebration: just like one of the African-American Christians, celebration is one of the major characteristics of the Nigerian. It is a celebration of God; who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do for His people.
19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
Mode of worship
The worship of the Nigerian Christian and the African American Christian may look the same, but the pattern of celebration is not the same. The Nigerians sing, dance and praise God in both their respective dialects, such as Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Edo, Efik, etc. unlike the African Americans. However, due to widespread of Nigerian churches, African Americans are now embracing Nigerians’ songs in their church today.
True worship can only come when you are saved- salvation. Salvation is the most significant thing that can ever happen to man; worshipping God in dance, songs, etc. is good but worshipping God, no matter the language you use, so long it is from your heart… God will honor it.
God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
ENCOURAGE YOURSELF: It is my personal opinion from what I have seen. Worship services in places such as Nigeria are more powerful, more spirit filled. Man do I love worship, and to see or feel this great experience. Is a blessing from God. From the depths of their hearts, their souls cry out. “God hear my humble cry”