The political and economic situation remains precarious. A family dynasty ruling for over 50 years and an unequal electoral system both favour the central-northern Gur peoples over the southern Guinean peoples. Pray that God breaks down the resentment and bitterness between them. Poverty leaves orphans and unwanted children (over 300,000) vulnerable to human traffickers, and makes prostitution common. Pray for an end to these evils, and for effective ways to fight poverty.
The Church in Togo stagnated between 1960 and 1990. Long-established groups - Catholic, Evangelical Presbyterian Church and Methodist - grew slowly and remained confined to particular ethnicities. From 1980, newer evangelical groups began to grow - AoG, Baptist and Missouri Synod Lutheran. Many new denominations from outside Togo commenced work in the 1990s, and all denominations grew rapidly. The influx of many Pentecostal groups from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso augments the growth sparked by Western mission agencies. False shepherds and unbalanced prosperity teachings are also increasing as the true Church grows. Pray that strong, indigenous congregations and denominations with solid teaching, biblical worldviews and visionary leadership be established.
Leadership development is a great need for the young and quickly growing body of Christ in Togo. The AoG has trained pastors for only half its congregations. Training facilities in Togo are now increasing in number. Baptist (WABAST) and AoG (WAAST) graduate theological schools serve students from all West Africa, and most denominations have colleges or institutes. TEE and lay-training programmes are also increasing. Pray for training and education programmes for full-time ministers and lay people to be effective; pray that they may be formative in raising up leaders for churches in Togo.
The strongly entrenched powers of darkness have scarcely been challenged through intercessory prayer and confrontation with the power of the gospel. The two major forces to be tackled:
- The idolatry and strong secret societies of the Ewe, Fon and other tribes that intensely oppose the gospel. The majority of the population, including many Christians, still participate in animistic and voodoo rituals; some of these are outright evil. Believers cannot grow in their faith without a clean break from the works of darkness.
- The growing strength of Islam. Muslims dominate commerce and education. Islamization is in full swing as generous subsidies from oil-rich Muslim countries fuel the building of many mosques, schools and charity projects. Throughout Togo, the stream of conversions to Islam is steady, yet few Christian workers focus on Muslim evangelism among the 13 Muslim peoples or within the high concentrations of Muslims in urban areas.
The less-evangelized peoples of Togo. Togo and Benin have long had the highest percentage of unevangelized traditionalists in Africa. The major challenges:
- The 13 majority-Muslim peoples - the Kotokoli (SIM, Baptists, hundreds of believers), Anufo (YWAM, ABWE, a few believers), Akaselem (AoG, handful of believers), Ditammari, Bariba, Bago, Dagomba, Bissa, Akpe as well as the more dispersed Arabs, Hausa, Yoruba, Kambole and Fulbe (Baptists).
- The northern traditional animistic peoples - the Moba, Bassari, Nawdm (AoG, Baptists, Deeper Life), Gurma, Lama, Gangam, Karaboro, Mossi (AoG), Logba and Waama. Pray for these pioneering efforts to see breakthroughs for the gospel.
- The southern traditional animistic peoples - the Watchi, Adja, Akebu, Adele, Anyanga and Kpessi.
Evangelical mission agencies are shockingly few for an open, responsive, needy country with so many unreached. The opportunities are many - church planting, evangelism, discipling, leadership training, education, aid/development, holistic ministry and many more. The largest missions are GGWO, ABWE, CAPRO, CC, CMF. Pray for more workers in this rare harvest opportunity.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.