‘Multicultural Kingdom’ Interview with Dr Harvey Kwiyani and Unreached

Andy McCullough and Gavin Bissessar interview Dr Harvey Kwiyani for the Unreached blog, talking about “Multicultural Kingdom,” the Unreached Conference (25-26th June), mission, George Floyd, diversity and African Christianity.

Dr Harvey Kwiyani will be the key-note speaker at Unreached online conference, 25th & 26th June. He will be speaking on:

  • What does it mean to be a global-movement today?
  • How do we stay faithful and relevant movements of people following the spirit in the world, when Christianity is changing?

A: “Why did you write Multicultural Kingdom, what was on your heart?”

  • I started asking the question, why are African churches in Europe not connecting with European Christians?
  • I found the same issue within Europe, the UK and also in the US, we are worshipping in segregated communities.
  • God has given a revelation of himself to people around the world, that can only become full if we get all those images together and create a mosaic of what God is like.

A: “Can you open up the Malawian proverb, ‘a guest comes with a sharp pen-knife’ that you touch on in one of the chapters?”

  • When faced with a problem in a community, you almost need an outsider’s perspective to come in and look at the situation from another angle.
  • Back in the day, a pen-knife was the multi-functional tool you’d walk around with. Not to cause harm, but to solve issues.

G: “How can Newfrontiers learn from some of the lessons that you’ve brought forward in ‘Multicultural Kingdom’?”

  • The challenge with western church movements is to get to a place where they can relate to the rest of the world as equals.
  • Not one culture has it all, not one people has it all. He has given gifts and scattered them around the world, they are supposed to draw us together.
  • We need to shift ourselves away from the format of ‘the West does all the teaching’.

G: “What advice would you give to those from the UK for those who do want to go to the nations? In light of colonial baggage etc.”

  • You’re not going out there to solve people’s problems, but to work with them as they solve out their own problems.
  • The time for White Saviour mentality is gone.
  • You don’t have all the answers, you don’t even know the questions that are being asked in the place you’re going. Be happy to learn from the people that are already there.

G: “What advice would you give to our African brothers and sisters who have come over and are now living in the UK?”

  • Mission and colonialism should not work together. The question is how do we begin to engage in mission that is completely divorced from colonialism?
  • African’s within the UK, their Christianity comes with a second culture. The invitation for them is to sit down and learn, learn the culture here. How do we reach out to the Westerners?
  • The mission field of Europe is too big just for Europeans, it needs resources from the rest of the world. We have to work together to reach Europeans.

G: “What has been your take on the George Floyd situation, and your take from a UK church perspective?”

  • As British people, we tend to look at America and say – ‘we don’t have their problems.’
  • But both cultures have those issues, it’s not too different.
  • In the US, 92% of congregations are made of people who are one race.
  • The next question is how do we as communities break down the walls that separate us? Economical issues, particularly during this time of Coronavirus.
  • The challenge for us is that this problem has been there for the past 600 years. What I hope is that we are now beginning to undo the damage that has gone on for the past 600 years.
  • God is God of all people, and God does not colonise. God does not need colonialism to stray God’s Kingdom. If colonialism was really important for God’s people, Christ wouldn’t have been born in Palestine, he would have been born at the centre of the Empire in Rome.
  • His whole ministry was spread around an area of 85 miles, he didn’t even need a passport. He chose not to colonise, but to use humility as a way forward.

A: “Leadership is contextual. In a communalistic culture like Malawi, what kind of leadership should Christian leadership look like?”

  • For most African cultures, communalism is everything. Everything hangs around the community.
  • The power and authority of leadership is based in relationships, it’s not based in the individual leader but the leader and the community. Without the relationship there is no authority.
  • Christ empties himself of power, so that he can become a slave and then we can become citizens. (Philippians 2)

G: “Can you talk us through your Masters course on African Christianity? Why would someone study African Christianity?”

  • African history and particularly Christian history aren’t well known, however African Christianity is now beginning to become the most visible Christianity in the world.
  • 26-27% of Christians in the world live in Africa, with it being expected that by 2050 45% of Christians will live in Africa. Which means African Christianity has to be ready to speak and do their share of leadership among Christianity.
  • Andrew Walls says, if you want to know anything about Christianity today – you have to learn about Africa.