African church leader assails church in America


By Mark Ellis

Dag Heward-Mills
Dag Heward-Mills

British-born Dag Heward-Mills is the son of a Ghanaian lawyer and Swiss mother, but grew up in coastal Ghana where he gave his life to Christ as a teen.

While still in medical school, he answered a call into ministry and began holding meetings in vacant classrooms at the medical school, which became the genesis of the first Lighthouse Chapel. The movement he launched has grown precipitously to over 1200 churches in 60 countries under his oversight.

He offers a stinging critique of the church in the West, particularly the U.S. “The church in America is rich but powerless,” he says. “The power of the church in America has been taken away because no one is prepared to suffer for the gospel.”

Heward-Mills believes that deviating from the message of the cross has weakened the church. “When you set aside the cross you insult God, you insult the blood of Jesus,” he states. “When you preach about the cross, you bring in the power.”

The quest for the comfort and prosperity inherent in the American dream is at odds with sacrifice, in his view. “The message of John 3:16 has changed into something about getting a bigger car, a big house, and being comfortable,” he observes. “That’s not the real reason Jesus died.”

“If you preach salvation and the suffering of the cross, you’re the odd man out,” he notes.

Heward-Mills also laments a decline in missionary activity in Africa. “In the past, there were missionaries from all over the world preaching the gospel in Africa. Now it’s uncommon to find them; they are becoming more rare.”

“Americans have taken the gospel around the world, but it’s different now,” he notes. A strong testimony has often been replaced by humanitarian relief missions. “It’s valid to help the poor, but it’s not the gospel.”

In the void left by a less-than-powerful witness, Islamists – who are prepared to die for their faith – have leaped in. “We have laid aside the power of the cross,” he says. The American church is “like a eunuch that is big but powerless and can’t reproduce. They can only serve queens.”

“Most of the countries in West Africa are becoming Muslim because Christians are failing to go.”

In Heward-Mills’ outreach to Muslims in northern Ghana, he uses a respectful approach. “We work with Muslims and make friends with them and they don’t cause us trouble. We preach Christ and Him crucified, but we don’t criticize Islam.”


In his new book, “Loyalty & Disloyalty” (Carpenter’s Son Publishing) Heward-Mills identifies a qualification for church leaders and their flocks that is vital, but often overlooked: loyalty.


  1. I think that this guy would be surprised what americans are willing to die and suffer for. The reason we have a freedom like no other country in the world is because we were willing to fight for that. Islam’s mission statement is convert or die. So sounds to me like there is still a lot to learn from Americans.

  2. Bro. Dag,
    Thank you for speaking the plain and simple truth about the very terrible condition of most of what Americans call ‘christianity’.
    Please know that there a remenant of truly converted CHRISTians here in the USA that are hungry and trying to follow and serve the Living Jesus Christ, with so many of our brothers and sisters are in Africa and Asia!!!
    It is difficult, as there are very few Pastors to lead and teach us that have not overcome the ‘watered down’ and false teachings that are so common in American seminaries and ‘bible schools’.
    Oh that more of the truly born again followers of Jesus Christ here in the US, Canada and other ‘first world countries’ would be willing to spend time in earnest prayer and supplication unto JEHOVAH for His help and guidance!!!
    Bro. Nick – 2 Chron 7:14

  3. Bro Dag,
    Amen! Please remember the millions of Christians living in Muslim dominated countries who are greatly persecuted for their faith (Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Pakistan, and many more.). You are fortunate that the Muslim community in which you work have thus far not caused you trouble. It is not the norm that being friendly has brought peaceful co-existence. Heb. 13:3

  4. Please share this with the world in order that they might be moved to serve Christ and share His message with the world…Love in Christ, Victoria


    Take bold steps
    Leave imprints
    Where you’ve been
    Loud voice
    Give praise
    Almighty God
    Proclaiming Jesus
    Let your life
    Shining example
    His love
    Leave no one guessing
    No surprise
    Be a mighty witness

    By Victoria Evelyn Lainhart ©2011

  5. I praise God for your message Brother Dag the Church needs an awakening spiritual slap to realize that our sole purpose is to lead the lost to Salvation for Christ’s glory…and to live a life glorifying to God that will allow the whole world to see Jesus through us in humbleness I pray that Christ’s Church will Arise and go into all the world preaching the Gospel to every nation…It will glorify Christ, and bless your soul …I know, I went to Brazil as a Humble servant of Christ and shared His love that He might be glorified through those who excepted by Grace through Faith…Jesus into their hearts…The Joy of the Lord is my strength and to Him all glory and Praise! Victoria

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