8 REAL THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT BETWEEN AFRICAN AND WHITE CHURCHES

difference between black and white church
When we first came to the United States, I was in a complete state of cultural shock. Right from the airport, things were so different. I was shocked to see people queuing up to purchase coffee. Why would anyone scramble to buy some black bitter drink? I was shocked at the amount of sugar in muffins we bought to temporally quench hunger. Did they add the dough to the sugar or they added the sugar to the dough? I was equally shocked at how polite the people in uniform where. Instead of giving clear-cut instructions, they said things like, “you may want to..”.

But nothing shocked me more than how different the church services were. The first white church I attended was a Baptist church my brother-in-law took me to.  Coming from an African orthodox to pentecostal church background, I found their way of doing things quite interesting. Since then I have attended a few other white churches. Their way of preaching, dress code and offering time are significantly different from that of African pentecostal churches.
Here are eight real things that differ in both churches!

1. Dress Code

White Church: Jeans, tees, snickers and other forms of casual clothing are worn to church. It is church, not a ball.
African Church: Heels, large hats and big scarfs (AKA canopy), sparkling clothes and suits. You are going to the God of the universe’s house so you have to up your dressing game. How would you dress if you were going to see a president? How much more your Father in heaven? Ha.

2. Energy during service

White Church: Everyone is seated, quiet and paying attention. Everything is solemn and calm. It is church, not a party.
African Church: There is shouting and making of some “Holy Ghost noise.” There is looking at your neighbour eye ball to eye ball and saying things like: “You better respect me now! Next year my level must have changed!”

3. Service length

White Church: Service begins at 11:00 am and ends at 12:13. Some songs are sung, the word is preached and people go home. The end.
African Church: Service begins at 11:00 am and ends at 9:00 pm. The spirit always moves beyond the time. Who are we to stop the move of God? There is also testimony time in which the sister starts by singing a special song to God and asking that we don’t mind her rough voice. She then proceeds to say a twenty-minute story before finally relaying what the Lord did for her. There are long announcements, exhortation before preaching, altar calls and prophecy time.

4. Music

White Church: Singing is calm and sometimes lullabylike. There might be lifting up of hands if the church is evangelical. There may be some moving of the body but no significant dancing.
African Church: Hands are lifted up, there are screams, there is kneeling down and there is shouting at God. There is also passing of commands: “If you love Jesus, put your hands on your head! Shake am! Hold am! Bend am! Shake am! Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh! Ayayayayaya!”  You have to zenge for Jesus.

5. Preachers

One preacher who shall remain nameless perambulates the altar in his suit, sweats, opens his eyeballs and shouts things while the other preacher who shall also remain nameless stands at the same spot and says things calmly.


6. Response to preaching

White Church: Messages are received silently. If a member is touched, they’ll sob, remove their hanky and wipe their tears.
African Church: We do not wait to leave church before talking about how much we appreciate the message. We agree to the message right there before the preacher by saying things like: “Tell them! Amen! Ride on! Yes Yes Yes! “Preach Sah!”

7. Offering time

White Church: One offering time

African Church: Many offering times: thanksgiving offering, tithes (without which things will be tight!), mission offering, seed sowing (to seal your miracle), project offering, special offering plus normal Sunday offering!
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8. Way of collecting offering

White Church: Offering collection is  mentioned then a bag/basket goes round or you drop in basket on your way out. You can even give online if you choose to.
African Church: Semi-sermon with quoted scriptures is preached about the importance of giving, then you dance out with joy to drop your offering. God loves a cheerful giver!

Bonus point: After service meetings

White Church: You go home after service

African Church: There is women’s meeting, ushers’ meeting and building committee meeting after service. After that you engage in “greeting ministry” or “fellowship after fellowship.” There is no hurry to leave the church.
Writing this post has made me so nostalgic. What difference did I leave out?

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24 Comments

  1. HAHAHAHAAHAH. This is so true. I still can't wear T shirt and jeans to church, and so I'm often overdressed!

    http://www.KacheeTee.com

  2. Hahahaha, Africans are born performers.Even God must bow in their extravagance!

  3. Holy Ghost crazy noise.

  4. I know right, Kachee. I and my girls are overdressed most of the time.

  5. You are right, Felix. We know how to put up a show.

  6. Lool. That 'ride on Pastor' chant is real.. Everything here is true even in a student environment. We always scream 'Rhema' too. Nice post 🙂
    Beauty Hacks You Want To Know

  7. lol!I feel like you've said it all.I wear jeans to church though and I feel weird about it sometimes but i'm a jeans girl.I just try to have a dressy top on.

    http://www.cheecheelive.com

  8. Hahaha! Precious oh! but this is so true! Kudos darling.

  9. 11 am to 9pm wandaful. Dressing up depends on how we see worship. Just as I can never wear causual to see the queen, I just cannot feel comfortable in causual in worship.

  10. Interesting to know that the same scenario plays out in a student environment. I can imagine the screams, "Rhema! Rhema!!!"

  11. Thanks for stopping by, dear!

  12. I know right. Jeans make life easy.

  13. Lol hyperbole. I agree, sis. It all depends on how we see worship.

  14. Lmho. This is real. We dance and "komole" in church mehn. The testimony part got me laughing.

    A cousin who's been away visited some months back and was wondering why we were all "dressed up" for church. I found his question amusing. But now I understand . . .

    amakamedia.com

  15. Hahaha I know right. Some of those testimonies are like stories without end.

  16. You didn't even remember to mention how we do our altar calls to give our life to Jesus of the Miracles session whe the spirit moves….Laughing

  17. Those miracle sessions are in vogue now in African churches. It's like church service is incomplete without them. Some people will "seriously vex for" the prophet if he doesn't see vision for them.
    Thanks for stopping by, Seraph!

  18. BUAHAHAHAHA, SPOT ON!!! I wouldn't even go to a Nigerian church here. They do too much sometimes.

    Berry Dakara Blog

  19. Berry, in this side of the world it's like these things are multiplied.

  20. Hahahahaha…. I laughed reading this post.

    http://www.yvonnyblog.wordpress.com

  21. Laughter is good medicine.

  22. Hahahaha auntie Pre, the jeans part is still hard for me oh. The way church service di take stay at times, I just di wonder if them combine two Sundays into one.

    There's a short exhortation before everything from announcements to praise and worship. Then by the end of the service the pastor will apologize saying the service stayed longer because it was a 'special' Sunday and then I begin di wonder whether na which sunday no special because all di ever stay pass. I usually ask why the Holy Spirit always exceeds time? Can't the Holy Spirit just permit us go home early just this one Sunday?

    Make African churches dem chop ya!

  23. Hahahaha at it was a "special" Sunday. Every Sunday is special ya.

    Make we really chop! Thanks for stopping by, dear!

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