Ghana is quickly becoming the global heart of Christianity

16 PHOTOS
Christianity in Ghana
See Gallery
Christianity in Ghana
A woman prays in front of a poster of the leader of Power Breakers International Ministries Accra, Ghana December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
A man showers praise onto the leader of Power Breakers International Ministries, for his good works and leadership, Accra, Ghana December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
A lottery ticket vendor displays a poster of Jesus Christ in his kiosk in Adum, Kumasi, Ghana January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
Two young men hold up a singer during a praise and worship session at Power Breakers International Ministries, Accra December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
A woman attends Sunday church service at Power Breakers International Ministries Accra, Ghana December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
People attend a Sunday church service at Power Breakers International Ministries Accra, Ghana December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
People take part in a prayer session at Power Breakers International Ministries, Accra December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
Pastor Pae Mu Ka (a nickname meaning "say it as it is") of Dominion Church delivers a sermon on a street in Kumasi, Ghana January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
A man walks towards the entrance of Power Breakers International Ministries, Accra, Ghana December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
A woman takes part in a prayer session at Power Breakers International Ministries, Accra, Ghana December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
Believers gather to see Nigerian pastor Chris Oyakhilome in Independence Square, Accra, Ghana February 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Francis Kokoroko 
Believers gather to see Nigerian pastor Chris Oyakhilome in Independence Square, Accra, Ghana February 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Francis Kokoroko 
Mr. and Mrs. Olenu regularly wake up at midnight to pray in their bedroom in Teshie-Nungua, Ghana April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
Rita holds salt and olive oil, part of her regular midnight prayer ritual in Accra, Ghana April 13, 2016. Rita prays for God's protection against evil spirits, prosperity and her love life. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
Rita prays as part of her regular midnight ritual in Accra, Ghana April 13, 2016. Rita prays for God's protection against evil spirits, prosperity and her love life. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko 
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

ACCRA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Ghana is embracing the Christian faith with a fervor that is increasingly shaping its national identity.

The country is central to a wave that puts West Africa at the heart of global Christianity, said professor Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu of Trinity Theological Seminary in Accra.

More than 70 percent of Ghana's 26 million people are Christian. The statistics understate the fervency of everyday faith. Many attend church on weeknights. All night prayer vigils are common and billboards advertising Christian meetings line the streets.

It's common to see people studying the Bible on the bus and many office workers keep open Bibles on their desks. Mega-church pastors such as Mensa Otabil are revered, according to opinion surveys.

"By the middle of the 20th century scholars ... started predicting that Africa (and Latin America) was going to be the hotbed of Christianity," said Asamoah-Gyadu, an authority on African Christianity.

"What happens in the minds of African Christians was going to shape church history for many years to come," he said.

Some 41 percent of the world's 560 million Protestants live in Africa and it could rise to 53 percent by 2050, said an article this year in the International Bulletin of Mission Research. Muslims are a minority in Ghana.

Isaac Ollennu's story is typical. The 36-year-old Accra resident works with a Chinese import company, putting him in the middle class. He says he prays throughout the day and often wakes at 3 a.m. to pray.

"My faith is everything to me," he said.

Christianity was brought to the Gold Coast by Roman Catholics and mainstream Protestants but Pentecostal faith featuring ecstatic worship and in a God of miracles has underpinned the recent rise of faith, said Asamoah-Gyadu.

"Pentecostal religion promises breakthroughs ... You tithe, you pray and you will get (what you want)," he said. Churches spread because authority flows through spiritual experience, rather than church hierarchy or formal education.

Charismatic faith came from North America and people were receptive because it chimed with traditional beliefs in which people appeal to spirits to solve problems, he said.

It also appealed to social aspirations. Wealthy pastors are seen as blessed and their entertaining, informal services cater to popular taste. Nana Kofi Acquah, a preacher, said Christian leaders also make faith compatible with Ghanaian culture.

"There's a new generation that doesn't want to apologize for being African and also wants to embrace Christianity," he said.

(Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.