Africa, Oh, Africa

Leadership is Broken Because Leaders are Unbokren

No continent on earth suffers as Africa suffers. Not just Africans, but Africa itself. Like Africans, Africa possesses untold resources. And like Africans, Africa is mutilated, ravaged, and raped.  Corruption contaminates the continent from the Sahara to South Africa. Neo-colonization reigns supreme as outside forces establish economic control the way older nations established political supremacy a hundred-fifty years ago. Africans experience a terrible sense of loss, an awful awareness of injustice, and an utter absence of hope that drives them to take frightful risks to find opportunities they never would have otherwise.

Most Africans don’t talk to non-Africans about the corruption of their governments or the injustice of the outsiders who come and strip them of their treasure. They know the reason why Africa is poor…is because their leaders want it to be poor. After all, that’s how they get rich. It has always been that way, an inside-outside arrangement in which corrupt leaders and collaborating colonizers work together to take what they want and strip Africa naked.

Few men I know communicate the pathos of Africa more clearly than Morgan Lombe, pastor of the Rose of Sharon Church in Kabwe, Zambia, and Director of Rose of Sharon Ministries serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At one point Morgan had a visa to easy street, a legal way to enter the US, but he chose to stay in Zambia and serve his own people rather than serve himself.  Once, when we were discussing Africa’s greatest problems in a small group, all in the group agreed poverty was the number one issue, and Morgan spoke eloquently of the sense of loss Zambians feel when they see their natural resources taken over by foreigners and massive wealth that belongs to them pocketed by greedy opportunists. One of the greatest struggles African Christians have is to forgive those who do this to them.

Recently Morgan wrote a commentary on why Africans risk their lives to leave the continent they love. Here is part of what he wrote. "Africans are not running away from Africa, but from a lack of development, poor governance, and war. Africa does not need sympathy but fair treatment in international trade. Africa does not need foreign saviors, but to look to her own people for solutions to her problems. Africa is not a beggar, but rightfully demanding compensation for her plundered human and mineral resources. May God bless Africa and Africa’s friends."

Africa is overwhelming for me with more problems than hope, more struggles than solutions, and almost more sin than grace. Leadership is the key to Africa, and broken leaders are the only hope the continent has. How can we support the many strong spiritual leaders who know what it is to be broken, such as Morgan Lombe, make the difference they long to make in their countries and on their continent?

From "Africa, Oh, Africa" on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.

One Comment