Vibrant Hope: The Amazing Potential of the Church in Chad
Written by Heidi Thulin, Photography by Joshua Thulin, Video by Megan White
On a bright and dusty morning in Ndjamena, Chad, an array of surprisingly clean motorcycles line the dirt road in front of an Église Évangélique du Tchad’s (EET) church. Joyful voices permeate the air, accompanied by drums, guitars, and a keyboard playing on a loop.
The first fifty years of Chad’s independence was filled with civil war and infighting. For the past decade, God has given this country peace, but those who live and work there, like Justin, know it’s a fragile peace. The Church, however, is resilient. Through civil war, ethnic clashes, and Muslim-Christian conflicts, the Church has remained and will continue to remain.
Africa Inland Mission has partnered with the EET, the largest Protestant denomination in the country. We walk alongside the Church to help cast vision for missions and to mobilize the people to reach the unreached of their nation. We work alongside this church, because we believe that the Church is the hope of the world.
Among Chad’s twelve to thirteen million citizens, there are two hundred different people groups, all speaking their own unique language, with French and Chadian Arabic linking everyone together. In the southern part of Chad, where Christianity is largely established, churches are generally grouped according to tribe or language. French-speaking services are held in the cities and attended by the more educated and wealthy people of the community.
Singing is the longest portion of the three- to four-hour worship service and is often done in French from a hymnal called “Chants de Victoire.” The songs have been greatly “Chadianized.” They’ve made them their own. Different people groups incorporate their own rhythms and style to the music, making the songs unrecognizable from their original form.
Their music is at its best when the different tribal communities are singing their own songs. The different communities ask if they can share a song, and then they gather at the front in a circle to sing and dance. They bust out the drums and other traditional instruments, and the joy level goes up a notch when they are singing in their heart language.
After the hours of singing and dancing, the pastor preaches to and prays for the congregation, but the church service is not complete until everyone has greeted each other. The people file out of the building and create a line, shaking hands with those who exited before them and then preparing to shake hands with everyone who is still following. Eventually, the long line snakes around the church building, creating a visible, joyous, and colorful fellowship of believers.
The country of Chad is ready for missionaries, and the Église Évangélique du Tchad church is eager for our partnership. Learn more about ministry opportunities in this unique and vibrant country.