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Snapshot: What It’s Like to Worship in Nigeria

Ferry to Bambuka

What would worship look like if it was more about giving than getting? Less about “being fed,” and more about offering praise?

It might look like worship in Nigeria and other places in Africa, where praises are not the only thing lifted through dance and song, but tithes and offerings as well, as dancing and singing Christ followers come forward to place their gifts in a basket.

My own need to be given more freedom to praise became clear when I visited Nigeria. Our Wesleyan Methodist family is a big one there, with the Methodist Church Nigeria, United Methodists, AME’s, CME’s, AMEZ’s, and Nazarenes all praising God and living out their faith through word, deed, and sign.

Part of the crowd of over 10,000 Wesleyan Methodist women
Part of the crowd of over 10,000 Wesleyan Methodist women

I was blessed to speak to the annual gathering of United Methodist Women in Bambuka. What an eye opener to discover that women walk for days to share in this event – dancing and singing with their sisters in Christ, giving above and beyond their tithes and offerings to fund new projects, growing in their faith through preaching and teaching. It is a dynamic and exciting week!

Dancing and worshiping in Bambuka

I’ve always thought of myself as a good dancer. I realized in Bambuka that I’m not. I’ve always known I was only a mediocre singer. I realized in Bambuka that doesn’t matter.

None of it matters.

I sang and I danced and I praised.

Kim & Asma'u - wife of Bishop John Wesley Yohanna
Kim & Asma’u – wife of Bishop John Wesley Yohanna

There is something spiritually deepening about recognizing who is at the center of faith – and it’s not me, or my needs, or my preferences. There is something spiritually liberating about unfettered praise. It reorients us. It opens us up in ways that focusing on our own needs can never do. And the wider you open yourself in praise, the wider the space you give God to meet your needs.


Wesleyan Methodist women worship in Bambuka
Kim & Rev Christie - Nigeria 2014
Kim and her interpreter Reverend Christie