World Convention is currently building a global reference for the countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ Congregations. Of the 193 United Nations States, the Stone-Campbell Movement exists in 165. This listing includes other nations and territories, numbering 194 countries where there is at least one representation of our churches.
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Located on the southern edge of Africa’s Sahara Desert, Burkina Faso is a landlocked country surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). About 13 million people live in an area of about 274,000 sq km (106,000 sq miles); the population consists of more than fifty indigenous tribes. The largest of these tribes (about 50%) are the Mossi people who have been the dominant tribal group since about the twelfth century. Their power is centered near Ouagadougou, the capital city. The French asserted colonial control of Burkina Faso between 1895 and 1897 and tried to carve up the territory and assign it to neighboring countries. Independence from France was gained in 1960 but signaled the beginning of forty years of coups, executions and tribal struggles. Today Burkina Faso, which means “Country of Honest Men,” is a republic with a single legislative body known as the Assembly of People’s Deputies.
Agriculture accounts for nearly 90% of the economy of Burkina Faso; sorghum and millet are grown for food; peanuts, cotton and sesame seeds are among the cash crops. With the continued desertification of the Sahel – the fringe of the Sahara Desert running from Senegal to Chad – large areas of Burkina Faso are adversely affected. The southwest has several waterways draining toward Ghana, including the Red, White, and Black Volta Rivers but these areas cannot be developed due to the presence of tsetse and simulium flies and the diseases they carry. With few natural resources and severe drought in recent years Burkina Faso must rely heavily upon foreign aid and money sent home by émigrés.
About half of the population is of the Muslim faith while about forty percent of the population adheres to traditional, indigenous beliefs. Due to the years of French influence about 8% of the people are Roman Catholic while Protestant traditions account for the remaining 2%.
The Stone-Campbell Movement was first noted in Burkina Faso in 1986 when Sam Goama Michel returned home from working on a plantation in Ghana where he came into contact with the a cappella Churches of Christ and was converted to Christianity. Upon returning home he soon began to teach others. In 1988 a native of Ghana by the name of Daniel Danso went to Burkina Faso to work for the government and began a second congregation, sponsored by the Navrongo congregation in Ghana. Both congregations met in homes and had a combined membership of about fifteen.
In 1992 two students from Ghana’s National Bible Institute went to Burkina Faso to strengthen the churches and evangelize in the border region. Another Ghanaian, Jacob Asulewuje was reported to have done some evangelism in 1994 and early in 2000 there were reports of additional plans from Ghana to evangelize.
The Dagara mission team arrived in 2002 to initiate a new and more concerted phase of Church of Christ missions in Burkina Faso, focusing specifically on the Dagara, an animistic tribe of approximately 300,000 people located in the southwestern portion of the country. The team consisted originally of three families who had met at Abilene Christian University in Texas: Aaron and Andrea Burk, Archie and Mandy Chankin, and Andy and Melissa Johnson, all of whom arrived in the fall of 2002 and set about the task of learning the Dagara language. After gaining some fluency, they began evangelizing the villages surrounding Dano, the town in which they live. The first two churches were planted in 2004, almost concurrent with the arrival of Chad and Amy Carter, a fourth family on the team.
The Dagara mission team concentrates on planting reproducing village churches, equipping the new churches to share with their neighbors what they have learned. With God’s blessings, the evangelistic movement is now headed by Dagara believers, resulting in numerous church plants and even churches with which no missionary has ever visited. The Dagara movement now counts almost 40 village churches and over 3,000 baptized believers. Several of those congregations have appointed elders, built houses of worship and written their own hymns.
International Churches of Christ have the Eglise du Christ de Ouagadougou.
CMF from Christian Churches/Churches of Christ have a team in Burkina Faso in 2013 working toward planting a church.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, July 7, 2016
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see: